The Morning Report
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Two Hall of Famers, San Diego Padres, with soon-to-be 40 Gold Gloves between them. Yes, 40.
Ozzie Smith, nicknamed “the Wizard” for his defensive prowess at shortstop, was named Wednesday to the all-time Rawlings Gold Glove team. The sporting goods company, which sponsors the awards given each year to those thought to be the best fielding players in baseball, held an online poll to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the award, and the results were announced Wednesday.
While the actual Gold Gloves are awarded to nine men in each league, the celebrated squad has just one lineup’s worth, and shakes out this way: Wes Parker at first base, Joe Morgan at second, Smith at short, Brooks Robinson at third and Johnny Bench behind the plate. The outfield includes two center fielders, Willie Mays and Ken Griffey, Jr., and right fielder Roberto Clemente.
Ozzie played the first four of his 19 seasons in San Diego from 1978 to 1981, making his first All-Star team in 1981, and winning the first two of his 13 Gold Gloves in 1980 and 1981. We can debate the 1981 Smith for Garry Templeton trade for generations, and we probably will, but Templeton was quite the stick at the time, and acquitted himself well in a Padre uniform for almost a decade. Ozzie was a .230 hitter. Who knew?
When Maddux wins his first Gold Glove as a Padre in November, it’ll be his 17th lifetime, setting him apart from fellow hurler Jim Kaat and Brooks Robinson as the best of the best. I used to think guys like Kaat and Maddux won their Gold Gloves by osmosis, that the voters just handed them the awards without considering the competition, but no more.
Having Maddux here, and getting to see him for 25 starts, it’s impossible to miss the superiority of his defensive skills. He’s always in perfect position after making the pitch; I mean, always. He always knows the correct play, and he always makes it. He makes the easy plays, the tough plays, and the incredible plays. He hasn’t lost a thing with the glove. Not a thing.
There’s no question in my mind he’ll get the record-setting selection this year. None whatsoever.
— HOWARD COLE