Ichiro wins 10th straight Gold Glove
Jeter takes fifth, Teixeira fourth; Crawford, Gutierrez win first
The winners of the first round of major hardware for the 2010 season, the Rawlings American League Gold Glove Awards, were revealed on Tuesday, highlighted by the 10th consecutive fielding award for Mariners right fielder Ichiro Suzuki.
The winners included three first-time winners: Rays left fielder Carl Crawford, Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano and Mariners center fielder Franklin Gutierrez.
Rounding out the defensive stars were five repeat winners in Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter (fifth Gold Glove) and first baseman Mark Teixeira (fourth); Twins catcher Joe Mauer (third); Rays third baseman Evan Longoria (second); and White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle (second).
Voting for the Gold Glove Awards is done by managers and coaches from all 30 teams who submitted their votes by the end of the regular season. Votes are cast for the best defensive player at each position in each league, except in the outfield, where the top three defensive players are selected regardless of position. Managers and coaches can only vote for players in their own league and can't vote for their own players.
AL GOLD GLOVE WINNERS
|C||Joe Mauer, Twins||3|
|1B||Mark Teixeira, Yankees||4|
|2B||Robinson Cano, Yankees||1|
|3B||Evan Longoria, Rays||2|
|SS||Derek Jeter, Yankees||5|
|OF||Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners||10|
|OF||Carl Crawford, Rays||1|
|OF||Franklin Gutierrez, Mariners||1|
|P||Mark Buehrle, White Sox||2|
Suzuki's 10th Gold Glove, one for each year he's been in the Major Leagues, pulled him into a four-way tie for the second-most among outfielders. Andruw Jones, Ken Griffey Jr. and Al Kaline each also won 10 each. Only Roberto Clemente and Willie Mays, who each won 12, earned more while playing the outfield.
Teixeira, who leads all active first basemen with a career fielding percentage of .99643, committed only three errors in 1,310 chances this year, a .998 fielding percentage. That represented the second-fewest errors and second-highest fielding percentage among all Major League first basemen.
"I've always been cognizant of the fact that you're not going to get a hit every time up," Teixeira said. "You want to hit 1.000, but if you don't, you can't take it out to the field. One strikeout in a game is not going to be the game, but one big error with men on base in the eighth inning might be the difference between a win and a loss."
Jeter, who in 2009 became the oldest shortstop winner since Hall of Famer Luis Aparicio in 1970, picked up yet another Gold Glove at age 36 by beating out two younger players, the A's Cliff Pennington and the White Sox's Alexei Ramirez.
"It has all come up to a very high level," Yankees infield coach Mick Kelleher said of New York's longtime captain. "Whether he's fielding ground balls right at him, a slow roller going to his right on the backhand, popups into the outfield, balls to his left, the double-play pivot. Break it all down -- whatever you want on defense -- and try to find somebody better. I haven't seen any."
Pitcher Mark Buehrle's second career Gold Glove award gained some early attention when his wife, Jamie, posted congratulations on her Facebook account on Monday night. The post was taken down shortly after, but the story on Buehrle's somewhat expected award was out.
"I think I did a good job fielding my position and holding baserunners, doing everything involved in winning the Gold Glove," Buehrle said. "Just to have coaches and players recognize you are the top fielder at your position, it's a great honor. I take pride in doing that."
Those sentiments were shared by Longoria, who on Monday became the first multiple Gold Glove winner in franchise history.
"It still is an awesome achievement and something that I'm very proud of," Longoria said. "It's one thing that every year going into Spring Training and going into the year I really focus on."
Among those making their debut appearances were players who have quickly established themselves as defensive forces at their respective positions.
Crawford, a four-time All-Star aided by his speed and quickness, had previously gone unrewarded for his defense. In 2010, Crawford boasted one of the AL's highest UZRs (ultimate zone ratings), a sabermetrics statistic that quantifies the number of runs a defender prevents or allows, at 18.5.
"You never know, I figured it was going to be a longshot again [this season]," Crawford said. "I was hoping, I really wanted to win it bad. Waiting so long, you just never know."
Cano, a career .309 hitter generally thought of for his work at the plate, turned 114 double plays and committed just three errors. The 28-year-old, who recently said it'd be a "dream come true" to win a Gold Glove, led all AL second basemen with a .996 fielding percentage.
"As a player, you always want to win a Gold Glove or an MVP or a batting title," Cano said. "You work hard and you want to be one of the best in the game. That's one of the things that make you work harder every single day."
The Mariners' Gutierrez earned his first career Gold Glove after completing 146 error-free games in the outfield.
Notably missing from the list was the Angels' Torii Hunter, who had won nine consecutive career Gold Gloves but didn't get the nod for a 10th.