BOSTON -- Already considered the gold standard in catching, Yadier Molina became a six-time National League Gold Glove Award winner on Tuesday, when Rawlings announced the league winners during a special presentation on ESPN2. Staff ace Adam Wainwright also took home the defensive award for the second time in his career.
Molina was the favorite to take home the NL catching honors again this season, one in which he caught 43.5 percent of attempted basestealers and led all catchers with 12 defensive runs saved. The other two finalists for the NL catcher Gold Glove Award were Pittsburgh's Russell Martin and Los Angeles' A.J. Ellis.
Shortly after learning his finalist competition on Friday, Ellis was already congratulating Molina. From his Twitter account (@AJEllis17), he posted: "Wow ... what an honor @RawlingsSports Hey @russellmartin55 I think we know where the Gold Gloves headed, arm wrestle you for the Silver!!!"
Molina, now in a tie for fourth all-time among catchers, still has a long way to go before he reaches Ivan Rodriguez's record of 13 Gold Gloves as a backstop. But he equaled Rodriguez in one regard.
When Wainwright notched his Gold Glove, besting the Dodgers' Zack Greinke and the D-backs' Patrick Corbin, Molina and Wainwright became just the second battery in history to win the award twice, and the first to do so with the same team (2009 and '13). Rodriguez and left-hander Kenny Rogers won Gold Glove Awards with the Rangers in 2000, and the Tigers in '06.
"It's a tremendous honor," Wainwright said last week after he was named among the finalists. "Any type of award like that that you can win is just a resume chip. You can always look back and say you did it. The guys who are listed on that list with me ... it's a very talented list. I'm glad to be a part of it."
Molina becomes the fifth player in franchise history to win at least six straight Gold Glove Awards. The rest of that exclusive company includes Jim Edmonds (2000-05), Ozzie Smith (1982-92), Bob Gibson (1965-73) and Curt Flood (1963-69).
"Every once in a while you come across that caliber of person, that regardless of statistics, regardless of the trophies and the things that they've been able to win, they just have a desire that's beyond most," manager Mike Matheny, a four-time Gold Glove Award-winning catcher, said of Molina's personal drive. "And this guy has the ability to go out there and do some things that nobody has ever done. And I think he realizes that and it's pretty unique."
He is in elite catching company, too. Molina's six Gold Glove Awards ties him with Jim Sundberg for fourth-most all-time by a big league catcher. Only Rodriguez, Johnny Bench (10) and Bob Boone (seven) have more.
"I think you will notice that every catcher has one or two holes -- they may not have a good arm throwing, they may not get down to the ball blocking so good, another guy doesn't catch the ball well because he's slow with his mitt," Molina's brother and Cardinals assistant hitting coach, Bengie Molina, said recently. "There are holes in catchers, just like there is with a hitter. But what I see from him is that he doesn't have any holes. That's what makes him the best."
This honor comes one day after Molina was named a six-time recipient of the Fielding Bible's top catcher award. The Fielding Bible Award prioritizes defensive statistics, something that this year's Gold Glove Award voting included as well. While managers and coaches still voted on the award, approximately 25 percent of the vote total was based on a Defensive Index created by the Society for American Baseball Research. This metric included sabermetric data.
Molina and Wainwright have a chance to grow their hardware collections next month, too, as they are now candidates for the Rawlings Platinum Glove Award, which recognizes the best defensive player (regardless of position) in each league. The two winners are determined through a fan vote.
This will be the third year Rawlings has handed out Platinum Gloves. Molina won the NL's first two. To vote for this award, visit Rawlings.com.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB.