Here's a trivia question with which you can stump your friends. Who has the most Gold Glove awards all-time?
It's pitcher Greg Maddux, who won his 18th last week.
Now Maddux (or Jim Kaat, who had 16) will never come up on a list of the best fielders of all time. They only played once every four or five days, and fielding is something that pitchers rarely - if ever - work on outside of spring-training drills. But Rawlings gives out Gold Gloves for pitchers, so Maddux wins them, basically by default, because he has the reputation. He made three errors in 33 games this past season for a .961 fielding average, which wasn't even close to best in the league.
And there's the rub on the Gold Gloves: It's like homecoming queen and senior class president - a popularity contest. Many of the same players win every single year. That's no knock on Maddux or Torii Hunter, who won for the eighth consecutive year, but fielding isn't as measurable as hitting because of the concept of range in the field.
And in a weird way, as ESPN.com's Rob Neyer pointed out, the fans care more about the award than the people who vote on it.
Meyer's biggest beef is with Rangers shortstop Michael Young, who won in the AL this year by improving his fielding percentage from .972 to .984. That's nice, but the Rangers would actually like to move Young to second base or third base because his range is suspect. And now this award will make it tougher to argue to move Young to a new spot.
So Rawlings gave out a Gold Glove to a guy who doesn't have good enough range to play shortstop in the future on a losing team.
(An aside: Maddux hasn't been heard from since the award. He's a free agent, and in Hawaii, and MLB.com reported that the 355-game winner is seriously considering retirement.)