J.J. Hardy thought he’d hit a home run, only to be robbed when Mike Trout made one of the most sensational grabs of the season.
On Tuesday night, Hardy caught a break.
The Baltimore shortstop won a Gold Glove, putting him among a group of nine players honored for the first time for their fielding excellence.
“It means a lot to me,” said Hardy, in his eighth big league season. “It’s definitely an award I always hoped to get and never really expected to get. I’m surprised and honored at the same time.”
Pittsburgh center fielder Andrew McCutchen, San Diego third baseman Chase Headley and Oakland right fielder Josh Reddick also were first-time selections.
“I’m just happy I can pull it out for them and get the A’s name even more out there,” Reddick said. “It’s a huge honor, I’m always taking pride in both sides of my game and trying to be a complete player. You never know what one play, whether the first or the ninth inning, is going to win a ballgame. That’s what my mother and father taught me.”
Headley, who had a breakout year with the bat, said he and Padres coach Glenn Hoffman, a former major league shortstop, talked during spring training about improving his defense.
“The foundation was laid there,” Headley said. “Obviously it’s nice when you get the results when you focus on something. … Your pitcher counts on you to make routine plays each and every time. I was able to do a better job this year.”
The Orioles were the only team with three winners. Baltimore center fielder Adam Jones and catcher Matt Wieters were second-time choices, joining Hardy for the awards chosen by major league managers and coaches and presented by Rawlings.
Trout, the Angels rookie center fielder who spent the year climbing walls to take away potential homers, was not picked. Among his best catches came against Hardy at Camden Yards in June.
The San Francisco Giants, fresh off winning a World Series in which they excelled with their gloves, did not have a Gold Glover.
These were the first major awards presented during the offseason, and the MVPs, Cy Youngs and others will come in mid-November. Gold Gloves always seem to raise a ruckus, with many claiming the prizes _ actual gloves colored gold _ don’t define the most deserving fielders.
Hardy led the AL in fielding percentage, making only six errors in 158 games. Others relying on more advanced metrics and insist Seattle’s Brendan Ryan was the best shortstop _ then again, even though awards are strictly for fielding, players who don’t produce at the plate often get bypassed, and Ryan hit a weak .194. Hardy hit 22 home runs.
“I’ve always hoped but I never expected it,” Hardy said. “It’s definitely an award I’ve seen a lot of shortstops get that are really flashy and kind of catch the eye of a lot of people. I don’t look at myself that way. I kind of look at myself as just trying to be consistent and steady. I never felt like people noticed.”
Wieters, meanwhile, was chosen despite leading AL catchers with 10 errors. He was recognized for the many things he does well _ he threw out 39 percent of would-be basestealers and rarely let pitches get past him.View Entire Story
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