Most Gold Glove Awards by Position
The Gold Glove is awarded annually to the guys with the best leather work in the game of baseball. Luminaries like Greg Maddux, Brooks Robinson and Ozzie Smith.
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All major sports leagues have rewards for the players who play the best at their position during the course of a season. For Major League Baseball, they are the Silver Slugger and Gold Glove respectively. 113 Gold Gloves have been awarded collectively to the 9 players on this list of Gold Glove winners. It's highly doubtful that anyone ever catches most of these players, though you never know. At 18 Gold Glove awards on the mound, we feel confident in saying no one will ever compete with Greg Maddux.
We're confident that perhaps a million fungoes were hit to these guys over the course of their legendary careers. Looking over these lists, you can see some amazing baseball history. Legendary fielding doesn't have quite the same cachet as legendary hitting, but it's an equal part of the game and should be celebrated as such.
With one exception, no player on these Top Gold Glove lists deserves to be here less than Derek Jeter. Sure, he helped the Yankees build on their reputation as the winningest franchise in pro sports, and sure, he came up big in the playoffs, both in the field, and especially at the plate. But, no player has built as great a defensive legacy without the skills, ability, and performance to back it up than Derek Jeter. He was a good shortstep at best. Oftentimes he was the second, third, and even fourth most capable shortstop on his own team. Playing for a New York Spots Team has that effect on the voters.
One person you won't see on the list of all-time Gold Glovers is ol' Wade Boggs of Red Sox, Yankee and Tampa Bay Rays fame. Though he did win Gold Gloves at Third Base in 1994 and 1995, Wade really deserves a Golden Mug award for his legendary drinking record.
Ok, let's get to our Gold Glove winners. One thing to note is that outfielders win a Gold Glove as an OF. We did the research to determine primary positions played for each of the positions, LF, CF, and RF. That's why you see low totals for the top ranked Leftfielders. No offense to the position, but it's definitely the weakest spot defensively in the game.
Gold Glove Positions & Players
- C: Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez
- 1B: Keith Hernandez
- 2B: Roberto Alomar
- SS: Ozzie Smith
- 3B: Brooks Robinson
- LF: Barry Bonds
- CF: Willie Mays
- RF: Roberto Clemente
- P: Greg Maddux
Catcher: Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez | 13 Gold Gloves
Pudge had a cannon for an arm. You didn't dare run on him. Sure, people did, but they were almost always wrong to have. Catchers, like McCann, tried stealing just to say that they once tried. Ivan Rodriguez won 10 consecutive Gold Gloves as a member of the Texas Rangers, the team he is most known for playing for. Pudge would eventually pass Hall of Famer Johnny Bench for the most Gold Gloves all-time for the position.
Catcher Top 5 Gold Glove Winners
- Ivan Rodriguez (13)
- Johnny Bench (10)
- Yadier Molina (9) - Active Player
- Bob Boone (7)
- Jim Sundberg (6)
First Base: Keith Hernandez | 11 Gold Gloves
Keith Hernandez must have been the best friend of every 2B, 3B and SS who came through the St. Louis Cardinals and New York Mets during his 16 year career. One of the league's true defensive first baseman, Keith had decent, but not prodigious power. In his 1979 MVP year, Keith hit more like a scrappy two bagger with a .344 average, 116 runs scored, 48 doubles, and 11 triples against 11 homers - a Dustin Pedroia statline if we've ever seen one. These stats would not have been acceptable at first base from about 1995 on.
But there he was, digging everything out at his ankles. If you've ever thought of a first baseman's glove, you've thought of Keith Hernandez. If you've ever watched Seinfeld, you've thought of Keith Hernandez. If you've ever recalled the 1986 World Series, you've wondered if the Red Sox would have won if Keith Hernandez was the Sox' first baseman.
Nah, Bill Buckner was a great baseball player. The Sox still had another game that they blew.
First Base Top 5 Gold Glove Winners
- Keith Hernandez (11)
- Don Mattingly (9)
- George Scott (8)
- Vic Power (7)
- Bill White (7)
Second Base: Roberto Alomar | 10 Gold Gloves
Alomar was a slick two bagger. People forget that considering his hitting prowess and an off-field issue or two. He was earning Gold Gloves through the 90s while hitting .300+, along with a dozen or two homers, 100+ runs scored, and 30-40 stolen bases. Robbie Alomar even acquired consideration for the MVP award as a second baseman, which is extremely difficult to do. Gotta wonder what he and the next guy on the list could have pulled off for double plays had they ever played together.
Second Base Top 5 Gold Glove Winners
- Roberto Alomar (10)
- Ryne Sandberg (9)
- Bill Mazeroski (8)
- Frank White (8)
- Joe Morgan (5)
- Bobby Richardson (5)
Shortstop: Ozzie Smith | 13 Gold Gloves
Like Barry Bonds, perhaps no player on this list is known for something other than fielding like Ozzie Smith. What's he known for? Backflips. This was still at a time when baseball players looked more akin to slowpitch beer league softballers, so the show of athleticism was an entertaining sight.
But Ozzie's backflips were not how he earned the nickname, The Wizard. That was earned through nearly two decades of high voltage leather work at Shortstop as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals.
Shortstop Base Top 5 Gold Glove Winners
- Ozzie Smith (13)
- Omar Vizquel (11)
- Luis Aparicio (9)
- Mark Belanger (8)
- Dave Concepcion (5)
- Derek Jeter (5)
Third Base: Brooks Robinson | 16 Gold Gloves
Brooks Robinson is the standard bearer of hot corner glove work. Brooks won 16 GGs and it's not really close. From 1960 to 1975, he patroled the left side of the infield with poise and aplomb. He's tied with Pitcher Jim Kaat for the second most Gold Gloves behind Maddux. However, he's alone for the most among the non-pitchers. A 2x World Series champion, and, Robert Clemente award winner, Brooks was nicknamed Mr. Hoover and is widely considered the best to ever play third base. A no doubter, Brooks was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1983.
At the end of the day Ol' Brooks had nothing on this dad making a catch.
Third Base Top 5 Gold Glove Winners
- Brooks Robinson (16)
- Mike Schmidt (10)
- Nolan Arenado (9)
- Scott Rolen (8)
- Buddy Bell (6)
- Eric Chavez (6)
- Robin Ventura (6)
Left Field: Barry Bonds | 8 Gold Gloves
In a Wayne & Garth, "No Way!" kind of way, Barry Bonds is the all-time leader for Leftfielders. These accolades came from his early years. His "spry" years, if you will. This was long before he acquired the additional muscle to swat his way into the homerun records.
Left Field Top 5 Gold Glove Winners
- Barry Bonds (8)
- Alex Gordon (8)
- Carl Yastrzemski (7)
- Minnie Miñoso (3)
- Joe Rudi (3)
Center Field: Willie Mays | 12 Gold Gloves
Known for doing everything. Could hit homers, could steal bases, and could catch a fly ball. Willie Mays was a five tool player and one of the best ones ever. He's so good that Griffey can't even really feel bad about being second on the list of Gold Glove winning Centerfielders. Sure, we feel bad about Griffey's injuries and what he could have done with a little more field time (and perhaps never leaving Seattle), but that's beyond the scope here.
Willie Mays made the over-the-shoulder, running dead to center catch that will live on in infamy.
Speaking of gloves and Willie Mays, Dusty Baker, the manager of the Houston Astros invited Willie into the clubhouse once to personally give inspiration to his team.
Batting Gloves serve both form and function, helping a baseball or softball player look stylish, while protecting their hands from the various blisters, scrapes and cuts that come from taking extensive batting practice and playing in games.Read Now
Center Field Top 5 Gold Glove Winners
- Willie Mays (12)
- Ken Griffey Jr. (10)
- Andruw Jones (10)
- Torii Hunter (9)
- Paul Blair (8)
Right Field: Roberto Clemente | 12 Gold Gloves
Clemente's career, and life, were cut short in a terrible plane crash. He was doing humanitarian work in the MLB off-season. Tip of the cap there.
Clemente's on-field glove work was stellar. You don't get to 12 Gold Gloves if it's not.
Right Field Top 5 Gold Glove Winners
- Roberto Clemente (12)
- Al Kaline (10)
- Ichiro Suzuki (10)
- Andre Dawson (8)
- Dwight Evans (8)
Pitcher: Greg Maddux | 18 Gold Gloves
We often wonder if Maddux's control was so outstandingly good that he knew where the hitter was going to hit the ball, thus giving him a leg up when it came to fielding his position so well - similar to Dennis Rodman's uncanny ability to outrebound everyone. Then again, it might be a matter of consistent and ingenious practice.
Rodman used to, "... go to empty gyms and tell his friends to shoot from all sides of the court, and from different distances, so he could study how the ball would come off the rim. But beyond positioning, he would learn how other players released the ball on their shots, which would give him even more information."
Maddux probably spent hours charging off the mound in practice as well, watching how his variety of pitches came off the bat differently.
Maddux was as good a pitcher as he was a prankster. Just ask Kris Bryant.
Pitcher Top 5 Gold Glove Winners
- Greg Maddux (18)
- Jim Kaat (16)
- Bob Gibson (9)
- Bobby Shantz (8)
- Mark Langston (7)
- Mike Mussina (7)
Rawlings Gold Glove Award
Managers/Coaches and SABR Defensive Index help determine the winners.
Gold Glove Qualifications per Rawlings
- Pitchers qualify by throwing 141+ innings by Game 141
- Catchers qualify by playing 71+ games by Game 141
- IF/OF qualify by playing 713 innings by Game 141
- If IF/OF qualifies, most innings at position determine eligibility
Rawlings' Voting Rules
- 7 votes per MLB team (manager and 6 others)
- Like Little League, you can't vote for yourself - aka - your own players
- Votes are for specific position, not general like OF
Rawlings Platinum Glove Award
Wait, before we do, we should acknowledge that now there is a Platinum Glove. It is awarded to the top overall defensive player in each league through defensive metrics and a fan vote. Adrian Beltre (3B) of the Texas Rangers and Yadier Molina (C) of the St. Louis Cardinals won the inaugural Platinum Glove Awards in 2011.
Rawlings Platinum Glove Award Winners
- Nolan Arenado (5)
- Yadier Molina (4)
- Alex Gordon (3)
- Matt Champman (2)
- Carlos Correa (1)
- Manny Machado (1)
- Kevin Kiermaier (1)
- Francisco Lindor (1)
- Byron Buxton (1)
- Anthony Rizzo (1)
- Andrelton Simmons (1)
Gold Glove FAQs
What is a Gold Glove in Baseball?
A Gold Glove is an award given to the best fielding player at their position.
When did the Gold Glove award start?
The Rawlings Gold Glove Award® was created in 1957. It is given to 18 players every year, one award for each position in both the American and National league.
Who has the most Gold Glove awards?
Greg Maddux has won the most Gold Glove awards with 18. Jim Kaat and Brooks Robinson are tied for second place with 16 each. Ozzie Smith and Ivan Rodriguez are tied for third with 13 each.
Which players have won at multiple positions?
Darin Erstad (1B & OF) and Placido Polanco (2B & 3B).
Which team had 5 Gold Glove winners in the same year?
The 2021 St. Louis Cardinals has 5 players win a Gold Glove Award in 2021. They were the first team to do so.
Does being a Gold Glove fielder mean you'll turn a triple play?
No, it doesn't guarantee that you will. Due to the triple play's randomness, a Gold Glover might not always be a part of one.
References & Sources