11/05/08 5:25 PM EST
Rollins, Victorino snare Gold Gloves
Shortstop wins second award; outfielder first-time recipient
By Ken Mandel / MLB.com
For efforts like that, which came with two outs and two on, Victorino earned his first of what could many Rawlings Gold Glove Awards. He and teammate Jimmy Rollins, who won his second straight and second overall, were named Wednesday among National League winners."Of course, you want to do well offensively, but I always take pride in my defense," Victorino told ESPNews. "There's times you're struggling at the plate, [but] there's never a time that you should struggle on defense. There's no time that you feel, 'Oh, my first step is not there, or my legs aren't feeling good.' At the plate, you fail more than you succeed in this game. When you go on defense, it's about helping your team win." The switch-hitting Victorino was in center field for 134 of his 138 starts this season, after shifting from right to replace Aaron Rowand. He committed just two errors in 323 total chances in center field and had a .994 fielding percentage, third best after Pittsburgh's Nate McLouth and Milwaukee's Mike Cameron. Victorino is the fourth Phillies outfielder to win the award, joining Rowand (2007), Bobby Abreu (2005) and Garry Maddox(1975-82). This season is the 10th time in franchise history the Phils have had multiple Gold Glove winners. The winners were selected by managers and coaches from each NL team. Managers and coaches couldn't vote for their own players.
The rest of the NL winners were Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina, Padres first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips, Mets third baseman David Wright and outfielder Carlos Beltran, McLouth and Dodgers pitcher Greg Maddux.
One of the standard methods of constructing a winning baseball team is to secure adept defenders up the middle, typically at catcher, second base, shortstop and center field.The World Series champions have two of those spots covered in Rollins and Victorino. Despite missing 25 games with a sprained left ankle, Rollins paced NL shortstops in a league that contains sterling defenders Jose Reyes (Mets), J.J. Hardy (Brewers) and Miguel Tejada (Astros). This is his second successive and second overall Gold Glove. Rollins led the NL with a .988 fielding percentage and a career-low seven errors in 593 total chances. Rollins is the first Phillies shortstop to win the award in consecutive seasons and first player to do so since Scott Rolen in 2000-01. "It's an honor anytime you are recognized as one of the best defensive players in the league," Rollins said in a statement. "It's something I work very hard at and I understand the importance of playing on both sides of the ball. I would like to thank all the managers and coaches for believing I'm one of the best." The 2008 season marked the 52nd year of the Gold Glove Award. The first were awarded in 1957 to one player at each position from both leagues, then expanded the next year to include a lineup of nine players, one from each league. "It's an honor," Victorino said. "Growing up as a kid, you heard about guys winning Gold Gloves and being known as the best defensive player at their positions. To be awarded that is definitely a reward."
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.