Hidden-ball trick results in GIBBY Award for Rays
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Evan Longoria pulled the hidden-ball trick, and his effort, along with those by a pair of his teammates, earned the Rays a 2013 Greatness in Baseball Yearly (GIBBY) Award in the Oddity of the Year category on Tuesday at the Winter Meetings.
Rockies first baseman Todd Helton pulled the same trick in a game against the Cardinals to earn a share of the award.
The Rays are known for fielding a team that plays impressive defense. Despite that reputation and their many quality fielding plays, the play that drew the most attention to the team's defense in 2013 was -- as the award they received implies -- odd.
On Aug. 10, the Rays dusted off the hidden-ball trick in Los Angeles. After a flyout to center field, the throw to the infield went to James Loney. The first baseman discretely flipped the ball to shortstop Yunel Escobar, who tossed it to Longoria. The third basemen then slapped the tag on an unsuspecting Juan Uribe for an 8-3-6-5 double play.
MLB's A-listers won GIBBY trophies -- the ultimate honors of baseball's awards season -- and will be presented with them during the 2014 season. More than 10 million votes were cast by media, front-office personnel, MLB alumni, fans at MLB.com and the Society for American Baseball Research.
This year's GIBBY Awards featured nominees in 22 categories. Individual honors went to the MLB MVP, in addition to the year's best Starting Pitcher, Hitter, Closer, Setup Man, Rookie, Breakout Hitter, Breakout Pitcher, Comeback Player, Defensive Player, Manager, Executive and Postseason Performer.
GIBBY trophies also were awarded for the year's top Play, Storyline, Hitting Performance, Pitching Performance, Oddity, Walk-off, Cut4 Topic, Regular-Season Moment and Postseason Moment, with video available via MLB.com's Must C highlight reels.
GIBBYs categories included players from both leagues and performances not only from the regular season, but also through the end of the playoffs, making them unique in singling out the best of the best.
All 30 clubs were represented among the award candidates. In fact, every team had multiple nominees in 2013 -- a testament to the parity of talent around the game.