Manny Machado has been making acrobatic plays at third base for the Orioles ever since he was brought up to the Majors in August of 2012. In his first full year with the team, Machado amazed baseball fanatics with his acrobatic dives and bare-handed pickups to get the runner out at first.
His defensive plays and consistent batting reminds people of Baltimore Orioles great and Hall of Famer, Brooks Robinson. Brooks made it a hobby of turning his career into an ultimate highlight reel. Machado is on his way to doing just that and this past Tuesday was another step in achieving that.
The GIBBY Awards (Greatness In Baseball Yearly Awards) have been a running tradition at the end of each baseball season since 2010. These awards are given to players, managers, and executives for their outstanding performances in the past season of baseball. The winners of these awards are voted for by fans, media, front-office personnel, MLB alumni, and the Society for American Baseball Research.
Categories include the year’s best hitter, closer, defensive player, and manager to name a few. In addition to these, the GIBBY Awards also honors the MLB MVP, the year’s top performance and top play as well. It is this last category that all Orioles fans knew Machado was a shoo in to win.
The question was: Which of Machado’s plays would take home the gold?
After the votes poured in, it was obvious which play of Machado’s the GIBBY voters wanted. On July 7th against the Yankees, Machado made an incredible acrobatic off balance throw from foul territory to get the runner out at first. The play almost mimicked perfectly the Brooks Robinson play against the Reds in the 1970 World Series.
Once this play was nominated, it was just a matter of time. And after the 10 million votes were tallied, the majority agreed and voted Machado’s play as the play of the year.
Machado is just as good if not a better fielder than Robinson already in my opinion. And looking at Brooks’ stats early in his career compared to Machado’s, you could say Machado is a better hitter too. If you need convincing, here are the stats. Machado has more homeruns in his first two seasons (21) than Robinson had in his first five (10). Machado also has more RBIs (97) in his two years in the MLB compared to Robinson’s 72 in his first five seasons.
Baseball has changed a lot from the time Robinson started playing to when Machado put on an Orioles uniform. And Manny Machado still has a lot to prove to both Orioles and baseball fans alike. However, if Machado keeps up his numbers and plays lights out defense like he has these past two seasons, I see no reason why Machado cannot surpass Robinson as the greatest Orioles third baseman in history.