The Rawlings Gold Glove awards for 2015 were announced last night, with Manny Machado of the Baltimore Orioles getting the honor for American League third basemen. It was Machado’s second career Gold Glove award, the first coming in 2013. That was also the year (as you may remember) that he was awarded the Platinum Glove, as the best overall fielder in the AL.
Machado was the only Oriole nominated this year, however the O’s have had one winner each year since 2011. While Machado had more errors this year than at any other time in his career (21), many of those were early in the season. Two of those errors were also committed at shortstop, where Manny played a couple of games this season.
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Machado of course is frequently compared with former Oriole great and MLB hall of famer, Brooks Robinson, however bear in mind that Machado only won his second Gold Glove last night. Robinson won 16 straight. Regarding Brooks Robinson and the Gold Glove, Machado had this to say (quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, masnsports.com):
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"Any time you’re mentioned with Brooks in any conversation, it’s an honor. He’s one of the greatest third basemen of all time. He’s an Oriole, he’s been around our company quite a bit. At the end of the day, it’s just an honor to be in the same conversation as a person like that. Very respected. It’s just a great honor."
I would take issue with one aspect of what he said. Brooks Robinson isn’t one of the greatest third basemen of all time, he’s the greatest third baseman of all time. Granted that’s a matter of opinion I suppose, but it’s tough to argue with 16 consecutive Gold Gloves. (Yet people do – all the time.) Incidentally, Machado and Robinson are the only Orioles’ third basemen to win the award.
Machado of course has had multiple injury problems on both knees since 2013, and there were questions as to whether or not he would be as effective coming into this year. Early in the season when he was committing a few errors here and there, those questions were certainly in play. But not after awhile, and certainly not now.
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Winning this award is a testament to the hard work Manny put in to get back to where he was prior to the injuries. It’s also a testament to the Orioles themselves for being patient with a player who obviously has the abilities to be great. At no time did Buck Showalter consider sitting him down when he struggled, or anything along those lines. Players go through rough patches just like anyone else – you have to ride them out. And he did.
I want to take this opportunity to send a big thank you out to all of our nation’s veterans, who are justly honored on Veteran’s Day today. America owes a debt of gratitude to all who have so proudly and bravely served her, and the term “home of the free because of the brave” isn’t just a catchphrase that sounds nice. So on behalf of Birds Watcher and the Fansided Network, thank you to all who have served in our armed services – today and everyday.