The Gold Glove Award was first presented in 1957 to honor the best fielders in each league at their positions.
When you think of greatest defensive first baseman since that time, the names that come to mind are a who's who of baseball greats; Keith Hernandez - 11 Gold Glove Awards, Don Mattingly - 9 Gold Gloves, George Scott - 8 Gold Gloves, Vic Power - 7 Gold Gloves, and Bill White - 7 Gold Gloves. Wes Parker and JT Snow each won six awards, and no other player has won as many. So it is an elite and distinctive list of relatively few names.
So who would have guessed that a converted third baseman would surpass, in some way, these all time greats?
That's just what happened yesterday when Kevin Youkilis put his name in the record books and made history.
The Red Sox defensive whiz set the major league record for consecutive errorless games by a first baseman during the Red Sox 5-0 victory over Oakland.
Youkilis played his 194th consecutive mistake-free game at first base to break Steve Garvey’s record for errorless games at their position. Garvey set the record with San Diego from June 1983 - April 1985. During his esteemed career, Garvey won 4 Gold Glove Awards.
Showing a true measure of class, the A’s gave first base to Youkilis in appreciation. After the game, Youkilis' teammates signed the base in the clubhouse in recognition of his accomplishment. The ball used on his final putout was sent to the Hall of Fame.
"I thank the Oakland A's for giving me the base, just as a memory to keep around and have something cool to have in the collection," Youkilis said.“It’s an achievement you never set out to do, but it’s a great honor."
Last year, after just two season at first, Youkilis was recognized for his defensive prowess by winning his first Gold Glove Award. It isn't hard to imagine that it could be the first of many.
The 29-year-old first baseman posted a .995 fielding percentage in 2006 and followed that with a perfect .1000 last year, due to his flawless fielding.
The streak, which began on July 5, 2006, has stretched through parts of three seasons.
When it will end is anybody's guess. But in the meantime Youkilis, a sort of human vacuum at first, will carry on with the hope of remaining mistake free. That's not to extend his own mark, but because every out counts and could be the difference between winning and losing.
Copyright © 2008 Sean M. Kennedy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without the author's consent.