With Rawlings’ announcement of their All-Time Gold Glove Team and Henry Schulman’s ringing endorsement of Pedro Feliz as the hands-down best defensive third baseman in the National League this year, there’s been a lot of Gold Glove talk lately, so we thought we’d try to put together a list of the Bay Area’s All-Time Gold Glove Team.
Admittedly, we’re not too familiar with the teams of the ’60s and ’70s, so please feel free to disagree and/or toss any other names into the hat. You’ll be wrong, but whatever.
Catcher: Did you know that Kirt Manwaring won a Gold Glove in 1993? Benito Santiago had a lot of flair behind the dish, but was terrible at blocking balls. Mike Matheny wasn’t even around for an entire year. Terry Steinbach was great but our pick is a personal favorite: the vastly underrated Ramon Hernandez, who anchored four consecutive 90-win seasons with the A’s (2000-2003). Food for thought: how well has the Big Three done in his absence?
First Base: Big Mac won a Golden Arch in 1990, but who knows how. Willie McCovey and his 6-4 frame must have been a nice target for his infielders. The Baby Bull has a lifetime fielding percentage of .990. The Thrill grabbed a Gold Glove in 1991, but the hands-down winner has got to be JT Snow. During the Snow Days, it was like the Giants had a left-handed shortstop playing first base. Has a first baseman in big league history ever contributed so much to the highlight reel?
Second Base: Mark Ellis (below) is having a hell of a year in the field once again, but he’s not quite to immortal territory (or is he?). Joe Morgan only played a pair of years in the Bay and didn’t win any of his five GG’s here. Robby Thompson has one. With the lack of candidates, we’ll make it a tie: Mark Ellis and a darkhorse, Tito Fuentes. He set the NL record for fielding percentage in 1973 (despite having led NL second basemen in errors the year before).
Third Base: Thanks to injuries, Eric Chavez probably won’t win his seventh consecutive Gold Glove this year, but he can have our all-time one. Honorable mentions: Matt Williams, Jim Davenport, Carney Lansford and Pete Happy.
Shortstop: With a tip of the cap to Johnnie LeMaster, Bert Campaneris, Mike Bordick (who had his best fielding years in Baltimore) and Jose Uribe, Omar Vizquel is just too too good. He’s got the highest fielding percentage in history and rivals The Wizard as the Greatest of All Time.
Outfield: Well there’s one shoe-in (right). That leaves two spots for the following: Bobby Bonds, Barry Bonds, six-time winner Dwayne Murphy, Jose Canseco (just kidding) and some of our favorites that aren’t in the same class but we just had to mention: Darren Lewis, Jermaine “Cannon” Dye, Eric “Crash” Byrnes, Marquis Grissom (though he was among the best in his younger days). In the end, we’ll go with Willie Mays in center, Dwayne Murphy in left and Bobby Bonds in right.
Pitcher: No one really rings a bell here. Kirk Rueter was pretty nifty on the bump, but Rick Reuschel won a Gold Glove in 1987 and we like the Big Daddy so he’s our pick.