Wright joins Gold Glove class
Third baseman a first-time winner; center fielder Beltran repeats
NEW YORK -- Weeks before he became the third Mets player to produce a 30-30 season, David Wright considered the significance of that round-number achievement. He knew it came with cachet and embraced what it suggested.
"I'd like to be known," he said, "as a player who does everything above average. And I think going 30-30 would be an indication that I do at least two things well."
And now there is an indication, not to mention tangible evidence, that Wright excels in another facet of the game: defense. The Mets' third baseman has won a Gold Glove.
Rawlings announced the members of its 51st Gold Glove teams Tuesday, and included on the National League team were Wright and Mets center fielder Carlos Beltran.
Wright won the award after his third full season, and Beltran was a repeat winner. He had won a Gold Glove for the first time in 2006. Tommie Agee (1970) is the only other Gold Glove outfielder in Mets history.
"I really take pride in my defense and I try to keep improving and improving each season." Beltran said. "It's nice to be recognized for your hard work."
Wright became the second Mets third baseman to win a Gold Glove; Robin Ventura won in 1999, the same year shortstop teammate Rey Ordonez won his third. This year and 1999 are the only years the Mets have had more than one winner. The club now has won 17, six by first baseman Keith Hernandez (1983-1988). Beltran and Ordonez are the only other Mets to win more than one.
"I have worked hard at trying to become a complete player," Wright said Tuesday.
"I want to especially thank our [third-base] coach, Sandy Alomar, who put in so much extra time this season, hitting me ground ball after ground ball. A Glove Glove really means a lot."
In voting by the coaches and managers in the National League, Wright was elected over the Cardinals' Scott Rolen, who had won the National League Gold Glove for third basemen in seven of the previous nine years, including last season, and Ryan Zimmerman of the Nationals, Wright's long-time friend who generally is regarded as a superior defender.
National League Third Basemen, 2007
But Zimmerman, who played more innings (1,431 2/3) at third base than any NL player, committed 23 errors, the second-highest total for a league third baseman last season. Wright played the second most innings, 1,418 1/3, and committed 21 errors, 11 on throws. The two ranked sixth and seventh respectively in the league in percentage -- .955 and .954 -- among players with at least 1,000 innings at third base last season.
Wright, who turns 25 next month, becomes the ninth player in history to win a Gold Glove in the same season he hit at least 30 home runs and stole at least 30 bases, and the second infielder and the first third baseman to do so.
The others are Willie Mays (1957, center field), Bobby Bonds (1973, center field), Dale Murphy (1983, center field), Eric Davis (1987, center field), Barry Bonds (1990, '92, '96 and '97, left field), Barry Larkin (1996, shortstop), Larry Walker (1997, right field), Raul Mondesi (1999, right field).
|2007 Gold Glove winners|
|C||Ivan Rodriguez, DET|
|1B||Kevin Youkilis, BOS|
|2B||Placido Polanco, DET|
|3B||Adrian Beltre, SEA|
|SS||Orlando Cabrera, LAA|
|OF||Ichiro Suzuki, SEA|
|OF||Torii Hunter, MIN|
|OF||Grady Sizemore, CLE|
|P||Johan Santana, MIN|
|C||Russell Martin, LAD|
|1B||Derrek Lee, CHC|
|2B||Orlando Hudson, ARI|
|3B||David Wright, NYM|
|SS||Jimmy Rollins, PHI|
|OF||Carlos Beltran, NYM|
|OF||Andruw Jones, ATL|
|OF||Jeff Francoeur, ATL|
|OF||Aaron Rowand, PHI|
|P||Greg Maddux, SD|
Also on the NL team were Padres pitcher Greg Maddux and center fielder Andruw Jones, late of the Braves, one of four outfielders elected. Maddux won the award for the 17th time, the 17th time in 18 years. He now has surpassed Jim Kaat, who won 16 Gold Glove as a pitcher, 14 in the American League.
Jones, a free agent who the Braves will not pursue, now has won a Gold Glove 10 times. Willie Mays and Roberto Clemente are the only outfielders who have won more. Each won 12 in successive years, as did Jones. Mays' first came in 1957, the first year Gold Gloves were presented and after his fifth full season. He undoubtedly would have won others had the award been created earlier.
Only three Gold Gloves were presented that year. The following year bought awards for both leagues.
Maddux, Jones, Beltran and Diamondbacks second baseman Orlando Hudson are the lone repeat winners in the National League this season. The Phillies (shortstop Jimmy Rollins and center fielder Aaron Rowand) and Braves (Jones and right fielder Jeff Francoeur) also won awards. Derrek Lee was the Gold Glove first baseman for the third time in five years, and Russell Martin became the first Dodgers catcher to win a Gold Glove sine 1966, when Johnny Roseboro won. Martin's new manager, Joe Torre, preceded Roseboro in 1965.
Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. Anthony DiComo contributed to this story. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.