Why Gold Gloves Are A Joke


by Tommy Gimler

If I’m the CEO of Rawlings, I’m finally pulling my company’s name off of the Gold Glove Awards after 55 years. Well, unless I want the American public to think my product is a fraud.

The Rawlings Gold Glove Award is supposedly given to the best fielder at each position in each league, as determined by managers and coaches. Greg Maddux’s 18 GGA’s are the most in MLB history (and deservedly so), followed by Brooks Robinson and Jim Kaat, both of whom finished their careers with 16 each. Meanwhile, Alfonso Soriano, Nelson Cruz, and Rickie Weeks have a combined zero.

But while many great fielders deservedly win the award every year, the Gold Glove “honor” has pretty much become irrelevant in the last twenty years. There was Rafael Palmeiro winning the award at first base in 1999 even though he played just 28 games at the position. Barry Bonds won a Gold Glove in 1992 even though his arm was so weak he couldn’t throw out Sid Bream at home plate. Not Rickey Henderson or Tim Raines but Sid fucking Bream.

Jose Cruz, Jr. won a GGA in 2003 in right field even though Juan Encarnacion played 155 games there without making an error. Derek Jeter won a GGA in 2004 even though three other shortstops had a better fielding percentage and fewer errors. Seriously, you can find at least one or two schmucks in each league every year that shouldn’t have been there.

But other than the Palmeiro controversy of 1999, there has never been a more blatant disregard for the obvious than Mike Trout, arguably the best defensive player in the game today, not receiving the honor for his play in center field this year. Instead the award went to Adam Jones, one of three Baltimore Orioles to win a GGA at their position.

Instead of inserting a couple of fart or fat girl jokes as usual, I’ll just let the numbers do the talking:

Mike Trout – CF near the City of Angels

Games: 110

Total Chances: 268

Putouts: 264

Assists: 2

Errors: 2

Fielding %: .993

Defensive Runs Saved By a CF (AL): 23

Runs Saved By Range By a CF (AL): 12.9

Runs Saved By Arm By a CF (AL): -2.5

UZR (measures total defense): 13.9 (best among AL CF)

Adam Jones – CF in the City of Syphilis

Games: 162

Total Chances: 454

Putouts: 439

Assists: 7

Errors: 8

Fielding %: .982

Defensive Runs Saved By a CF (AL): -16

Runs Saved By Range By a CF (AL): -7.7

Runs Saved By Arm By a CF (AL): 1.7

UZR (measures total defense): -6.7 (2nd worst among AL CF)

The numbers don’t lie. Even my grandma would tell you that Mike Trout deserved to win the award over Adam Jones, and she’s been dead for seven years. The Orioles’ CF had more errors, a lower fielding percentage, and a much worse UZR. Granted, Jones did play more games than Trout, but going back to Palmeiro’s award in 1999, the amount of games you play at your position obviously doesn’t figure into winning the award. Jones also led all American League center fielders with 439 putouts, but if you take into consideration his range was determined to be the second worst at the position, all that number means is that he was able to camp out underneath a ton of lazy fly balls hit to center field.

Ugh, nothing major here, I guess. It’s just another example of an award that is totally worthless, like the bronze medal in the Special Olympics. As always, Mike Trout, you may not be the AL MVP, and I guess you’re not a Gold Glove winner, but with game-saving plays like this, you can plow my sister:

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