Even as the MLB postseason comes to a close, you can still count on some off-the-field drama with the MLB Award selections! If you pay close attention to the postseason baseball awards you'll know that the ones that garner quite a bit of attention are the Rookie of the Year, Cy Young, MVP and Manager of the Year awards.
However, the one that possibly creates the most mystique and aura is the Rawlings Gold Glove award. There is just something special about seeing a smooth shortstop dive in the hole with his Pro Preferred to nab a runner with his throw to first. Or to see a center fielder bang into the wall, make the grab and hold onto the ball with his Heart of the Hide.
Obviously, it's exciting to see who ends up winning the award each season, but it's also cool to know a little bit of the history behind the award too. If you keep reading we'll treat you to discovering who came up with the idea for the Gold Gloves, those who have won a Gold Glove many times and who won it this past season!
When Was The Rawlings Gold Glove Award Invented?
In 1957, the first Rawlings Gold Glove Awards were awarded to the nine players deemed to be the best defenders in Major League Baseball.
However, a year earlier in 1956, a Rawlings sales manager noticed a discrepancy regarding player awards. That sales manager was Elmer Blasco and he saw that there was an award in place to honor the best hitters, but there was nothing to distinguish the best defenders. More so, he also took notice of the market share that Rawlings had among professional fielders. He observed that over half of the players in the MLB used a Rawlings-brand glove while on defense.
The lack of a defensive award was a problem as defense was a huge part of the game and it was going unnoticed to some degree. However, the vacancy of a defensive award created a huge marketing opportunity for the brand that was already being worn by a majority of the league. Mr. Blasco pitched the idea of a special award for defenders to Rawlings executives. It must have been approved quickly as the following season saw the Rawlings Gold Gloves awarded for the first time!
The first Rawlings Gold Glove awards were a far cry from the modern trophy shown above. And Rawlings got resourceful in how they crafted the original awards. They worked with the Brown Shoe Company in their hometown of St. Louis, Missouri to get a hold of some gold-tanned leather (this material was typically used for ladies' dress slippers). Rawlings then crafted gloves from that gold leather and affixed the gloves to the top of a wood base.
Over sixty years later, it is safe to say that the Gold Glove Award was a genius idea by Elmer Blasco! Sadly, we lost Elmer in 2008, but his legacy lives on with these awards.
Every season, Rawlings continues to put forth effort and be shrewd in their marketing efforts. To this day, these awards bear the name "Rawlings" on them and it is no wonder that when fielders look for a quality glove to purchase, they commonly fix their eyes on a Rawlings.
It is interesting to note that MLB players wearing Rawlings gloves have been the most frequent winners of this illustrious award in the past two seasons (see graph below). 24 of the last 40 winners have worn Rawlings when taking the field as defenders. In 2022, thirteen of the Gold Glove winners wore Rawlings gloves. In 2023, competing brands bridged the gap a little bit as Rawlings-wearing players took home 11 of the awards.
However, it's not because the voters for the award are biased towards Rawlings (the award is voted on by MLB managers and coaches [75% of vote] plus SABR Defensive Index [25% of vote] is used too), it is just that when skilled defenders decide on their favorite brand of glove to wear, it is difficult not to choose the brand that is most commonly associated with the best defenders in the game.
Who Has Won The Most Gold Glove Awards?
Greg Maddux has won 18 Gold Gloves awards which is the most in MLB History. It is pretty crazy that a pitcher has been selected for the award the most times as pitchers typically are not well known for their defense.
Tied for second place with 16 Gold Glove Awards are pitcher Jim Kaat and legendary third baseman Brooks Robinson.
Brooks Robinson was nicknamed "The Human Vacuum Cleaner" during his career that spanned parts of 24 seasons for the Baltimore Orioles. Watch his highlight below from the 1970 World Series and you'll understand how he earned his nickname and also why he won 16 Gold Gloves...
And we'd be remiss if we did not mention Ozzie Smith (aka the Wizard of Oz). A winner of 13 Gold Gloves himself, he actually played 15 seasons of his career in St. Louis, MO (the hometown of Rawlings)! Ozzie was electric with the glove as he had lightning quick reflexes at shortstop that allowed him to dive, dip and dazzle at the toughest position on a ball diamond.
The 2023 Gold Glove Winners
The finalists for the 2023 Rawlings Gold Glove Awards were announced on October 18th, 2023. And the winners were selected over a special ESPN broadcast on November 5th. Check below to see the 2023 winners at every position within both the National League and American League...
|American League||National League|
|Pitcher||Jose Berrios||Zack Wheeler|
|Catcher||Jonah Heim||Gabriel Moreno|
|First Base||Nathaniel Lowe||Christian Walker|
|Second Base||Andres Gimenez||Nico Hoerner|
|Short Stop||Anthony Volpe||Dansby Swanson|
|Third Base||Matt Chapman||Ke'Bryan Hayes|
|Left Field||Steven Kwan||Ian Happ|
|Center Field||Kevin Kiermaier||Brenton Doyle|
|Right Field||Adolis Garcia||Fernando Tatis, Jr.|
|Utility||Mauricio Dubon||Ha-Seong Kim|
Rawlings Gold Glove Season brought excitement for certain! If you have any ballglove related questions come up, please reach out to our in house Experts at JustGloves. They can be reached through phone at 866-321-4568. Through email via email@example.com. Or you can reach them by using our chat feature right here. Remember...JustGloves is here for you from Click To Catch!