ST. LOUIS (Aug. 22, 2007) – Rawlings today announced results of worldwide fan voting for the All-Time Rawlings Gold Glove Team, which generated nearly 1 million votes and sparked great debate during the "Summer of Glove" – the golden anniversary celebration of the Rawlings Gold Glove Award.
Fans selected pitcher Greg Maddux, catcher Johnny Bench, first baseman Wes Parker, second baseman Joe Morgan, shortstop Ozzie Smith, third baseman Brooks Robinson, and outfielders Willie Mays, Roberto Clemente, and Ken Griffey, Jr., as the best nine defensive players of the past 50 years. The players have exactly 100 Rawlings Gold Glove Awards between them.
"Imagine this team taking the field," said Rawlings President and General Manager Robert Parish. "These players are certainly among the best ever … and it's thrilling to see that the All-Time Rawlings Gold Glove team transcends generations, just like the debate this summer. Fans debating and reminiscing about the purest form of the game – defensive performance and excellence in the field – is good for baseball. Looking back over 50 years was a challenge. While the fans have spoken, this is a debate that will continue for a long time."
Baseball fans were passionate in voting, debating, and promoting the players they consider the best defensive stars since 1957 – the first year the Rawlings Gold Glove was awarded. Fans voted at www.RawlingsGoldGlove.com, at thousands of participating sporting goods retailer locations, by mobile device, and via the U.S. Postal Service.
"It truly is an honor to stand with the very best defensive players," said Hall of Famer Smith, a 13-time Rawlings Gold Glove Award winner and shortstop representative on the all-time team. "With so many great players, it's almost impossible to pick the best at each position. I'm thrilled to have been chosen as the No. 1 shortstop."
"I'm thrilled to be recognized as one of those who worked hard at what is an under appreciated skill," said Parker, who won six Rawlings Gold Glove awards during his nine-year career with the Los Angeles Dodgers. "I'm particularly pleased to be the lone representative of the Dodgers and the only awardee who is not and will not be in the Hall of Fame. This is my Hall of Fame. I also want to thank all of the fans who appreciated watching me and voted for me."
"I want to express to everyone my thanks for the honor of this award," said Hall of Famer Bench, winner of 10 consecutive Rawlings Gold Glove Awards, who was one of three Cincinnati Reds to make the All-Time Rawlings Gold Glove Team. "It to me is right at the top of all awards. It means that the fans appreciate all of the hard work and dedication to excellence on the defensive side of the game."
Rawlings tasked nearly 70 baseball pundits and purists – those who played the game, managed the game, and reported on the game – to select the initial ballot of 50 from the more than 250 players who have ever won a Rawlings Gold Glove Award®. The panel identified 18 outfielders, six fielders at each infield position (first, second and third base and shortstop), five catchers and three pitchers. (See complete ballot below or visit www.RawlingsGoldGlove.com.)
Maddux received 50 percent of the vote among pitchers; Bench, 59 percent among catchers; Parker, 53 percent among first basemen; Morgan, 27 percent among second basemen; Robinson, 61 percent among third basemen; Smith, 56 percent among shortstops; and Mays, 23 percent, Clemente, 21 percent, and Griffey Jr., 9 percent, led the outfielders.
Following is a listing of how players finished in voting order at each position:
Pitcher: Greg Maddux (16 Rawlings Gold Gloves), Bob Gibson, Jim Kaat.
Catcher: Johnny Bench (10), Ivan Rodriguez, Bob Boone, Bill Freehan, Jim Sundberg.
First Baseman: Wes Parker (6), Don Mattingly, Keith Hernandez, J.T. Snow, Vic Power, Bill White.
Second Baseman: Joe Morgan (5), Roberto Alomar, Ryne Sandberg, Bill Mazeroski, Frank White, Bobby Richardson.
Outfielders: Willie Mays (12), Roberto Clemente (12), Ken Griffey, Jr. (10), Jim Edmonds, Andruw Jones, Carl Yastrzemski, Ichiro Suzuki, Al Kaline, Torii Hunter, Kirby Puckett, Paul Blair, Dave Winfield, Curt Flood, Andre Dawson, Dwight Evans, Garry Maddox, Larry Walker, Devon White.