Each year, the game’s elite defensive players receive the Gold Glove Award. Here’s a look at past winners of the honor who played for the Chicago Cubs.
Fans argue for weeks about the candidates and eventual selections. It’s no different with this year’s field of candidates. For example, many Chicago Cubs fans are scratching their heads that Javier Baez is not on the list of shortstop candidates in the National League. From this list, we’ll put together the Cubs All-Time Gold Glove team.
This year, first baseman Anthony Rizzo and Jason Heyward are finalists at their respective positions in the NL – the team’s only representatives.
We all know Greg Maddux for his Hall of Fame pitching abilities. But he also won the Gold Glove five times as a Cub – in 1990, 1991, 1992, 2004 and 2005. In 1990, in 94 chances he made 39 putouts and 55 assists with no errors while turning six double plays. All told Maddux won a staggering 18 Gold Gloves in his career, the last at the age of 42, and has the most of any player at any position.
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I’m a little surprised the list of Cubs backstops isn’t longer. Jody Davis (1986) and Randy Hundley (1967) are the only two Cubs catchers to win the Gold Glove. Davis in his Gold Glove year nailed 48 percent of attempted base stealers.
As outstanding as that number is Hundley caught 50 percent of potentials thefts for the Cubs twice, in 1968 and 1969. Hundley is also one of a few to catch two no-hitters in one season (1972). Jody gets the nod here because his bat played a little better.
A trio of Cubs first basemen has won a Gold Glove. Mark Grace (1992, 1993, 1995, 1996), Derrek Lee (2005, 2007), and Anthony Rizzo (2016, 2018). In addition to their defensive abilities, each could rake as well.
Grace with the Cubs slashed .308/.386/.445 for a .832 OPS. Big Rizz is a shade better at .277/.376/.496 for a .872 OPS. But Lee was even better: a .298/.378/.524 slash, a .903 OPS and an OPS+ at 129. I have to give the edge to Lee here. In his first Gold Glove season, he posted a .335/.418/.662 slash – good for a 1.080 OPS.
This is a matchup of two Cub faves. Don Kessinger wasn’t even in baseball when Ernie Banks (1960) as the Cubs shortstop won his only Gold Glove. Banks was at the peak of his career in 1960, slashing .271/.350/.554 for a .904 OPS and an OPS+ of 146. He belted 41 home runs and drove 117.
By the time Don Kessinger (1969-1970) won his two, Banks was established at first base and nearing the end of his career. Kessinger didn’t have anywhere near the bat Banks possessed in his prime so Banks gets the nod on the Cubs All-Time team.
Next year marks 50 years since a Cubs shortstop won a Gold Glove. Nice time for El Mago to make that jump to the next level.
The sole Cubs winner at the hot corner is Ron Santo (five times 1964 through1968). Santo’s glove stands out among Cubs third basemen, but his bat was very solid as well. His career slash of .277/.362/.464 is on par with Aramis Ramirez .283/.341/.492 and Kris Bryant .284/.385/.516.
The All-time Cubs Gold Glove team rounds with outfielders Jason Heyward (2016, 2017), Andre Dawson (1987, 1988), and a real blast from the past, Bob Dernier (1984). We know Dawson could rake. In six years with the Cubs, he slashed .285/.327/.507 and hit 174 home runs, hitting 49 in 1987 alone. Center fielder Dernier slashed, .255/.318/.333 and Jason has posted a .279/.323/.482 slash.
Among current Cubs, it’s pretty clear the one with the inside lane to a Gold Glove is Baez. He has improved steadily since being at shortstop fulltime, posting 15 Defensive Runs Saved and a 9.5 UZR-150 in 2019. 2020 could be the year gold returns to shortstop for the Cubs.