ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOX) — Baseball’s best defensive catcher received more hardware on Tuesday night as Yadier Molina won his fifth consecutive Rawlings Gold Glove Award. Owning the longest active Gold Glove streak in the game, Molina joins historical company becoming just the fifth catcher in Major League Baseball history to win the defensive award over five consecutive seasons since first being awarded in 1957.
While joining the likes of ‘Pudge’ Rodriguez and Johnny Bench, the St. Louis Cardinals’ 4-time All-Star catcher played 136 games behind the plate during the 2012 season helping lead the Redbirds back to the National League Championship Series.
“It’s always such a great honor to win the Gold Glove award,” said Molina. “It’s something that you work hard for and it’s nice to be voted as a top player at your position.”
Ivan ‘Pudge’ Rodriguez is the last catcher in Major League Baseball to win five straight Gold Gloves as he took ten consecutive (1992-2001) with the Texas Rangers. Hall of Fame catcher Johnny Bench was the only other catcher in the National League to win at least five straight as he earned ten consecutive (1968-1977) with the Cincinnati Reds. The other catchers to win at least five straight include Jim Sundberg of the Texas Rangers (1976-1981) and Bill Freehan (1965-69) of the Detroit Tigers.
Molina, who is signed with the Cardinals through 2017 including a 2018 option, committed a career-low 3 errors. He also posted a .997 fielding percentage and threw out 48% (35/73) of baserunners over 1161.1 innings of catching.
The former fourth round pick from the 2000 amateur draft by the Redbirds has largely been considered the best behind the plate in Major League Baseball. After signing a 5-year/$75 million contract extension before the 2012 season, Molina became even more invaluable by having a career offensive season hitting .315 with 22 home runs and 76 RBI’s.
The fifth Rawlings Gold Glove Award extends Molina’s all-time lead in Cardinals franchise history for catchers. Tom Pagnozzi (1991-92, 1994) and Mike Matheny (2000, 2003-04) each won three while wearing the ‘birds on the bat’. Matheny won another with the San Francisco Giants (2005), but now the current Cardinals manager officially trails his former protegé.
No other Cardinals players were a finalist to win a Rawlings Gold Glove Award this season. St. Louis has not won multiple Gold Gloves since 2010.
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