The Rawlings Gold Glove Award has a long and rich history. It's a great honor just to win one of these over a Major League career, but there are some players in baseball history who are in the top echelon when it comes to sparkling defense. Here's a look at the player who won the most Gold Glove Awards at each position, along with the active leader at that position:
Pitcher: Greg Maddux (18)
Maddux was so dominant on the mound that it’s sometimes easy to forget that the man won the most Gold Glove Awards of any player at any position in baseball history. The Hall of Fame right-hander’s first Gold Glove Award came in 1990, and that began a run of 13 straight years in which he was the National League’s Gold Glove Award winner for pitchers. If it wasn’t enough that Maddux won four straight NL Cy Young Awards from 1992-95, you almost had no chance as an NL pitcher even when it came to a Gold Glove trophy if Maddux was still pitching.
Active: Zack Greinke (6)
Catcher: Ivan Rodriguez (13)
From Day 1, you could see Rodriguez was going to be special on the baseball field, particularly behind the plate. “Pudge” made his Major League debut for the Rangers on June 20, 1991, against the White Sox and another Hall of Fame “Pudge” -- Carlton Fisk. Rodriguez threw out two runners in his first career game, nailing Joey Cora in the fifth inning and Warren Newson in the eighth. Rodriguez only played in 88 games that rookie season, but won his first Gold Glove Award the following year. That began a streak of 10 consecutive Gold Glove Awards with the Rangers. His 10th, which came in 2001, tied Johnny Bench for most all-time by a catcher. He broke Bench’s record while with the Tigers in 2004, and finished with 13 in his illustrious career.
Active: Yadier Molina (9)
First base: Keith Hernandez (11)
He was a five-time All-Star, a two-time World Series champion and won the 1979 NL Co-Most Valuable Player Award. But Hernandez is perhaps most known for his smooth glove at first base, winning all 11 of his Gold Glove Awards in succession from 1978-88. With his excellence both at the plate and in the field, Hernandez garnered MVP votes in eight of his 17 seasons, including a runner-up finish in 1984 and a fourth-place finish in ’86.
Active: Paul Goldschmidt, Eric Hosmer and Anthony Rizzo (4)
Second base: Roberto Alomar (10)
Alomar won 10 Gold Glove Awards in 11 seasons from 1991-2001 while playing for the Blue Jays, Orioles and Indians. The Hall of Famer was a magician at second base, and it was a particular treat to watch him while he partnered with another legendary defensive infielder -- Omar Vizquel -- up the middle for Cleveland. Alomar was also a 12-time All-Star, a two-time World Series champion, and was named the MVP or the 1992 American League Championship Series for the Blue Jays and MVP of the 1998 All-Star Game.
Active: DJ LeMahieu (3)
Third base: Brooks Robinson (16)
Robinson remains revered as the best defensive third baseman of all-time, and with good reason. His 16 Gold Glove Awards at the position are the most of any position player in baseball history. If you were an AL third baseman from 1960-75, and your name wasn’t Brooks Robinson, you did not win the Gold Glove Award for the hot corner. Robinson may have shined brightest during the 1970 World Series against the Reds, when he made great play after great play and was named MVP. The most iconic is the play he made on a ground ball down the third-base line by Cincinnati’s Lee May in Game 1 at Riverfront Stadium -- Robinson snared it on the backhand as his momentum took him well into foul ground and still threw May out. Robinson was an 18-time All-Star, a two-time World Series champion and the 1964 AL MVP.
Active: Nolan Arenado (10)
Shortstop: Ozzie Smith (13)
The Wizard. Those two words, for a baseball fan, conjure up images of impossible defensive plays being made, spectacularly athletic double plays, and the customary backflip while heading out to his position at shortstop for the Cardinals. Smith was a human highlight reel at short for 19 years, winning the NL Gold Glove Award for the position every year from 1980-92. Known primarily for his defense, the Hall of Famer and 15-time All-Star also hit one of the most memorable -- and shocking -- home runs in baseball history, launching one over the right-field wall at Busch Stadium to win Game 5 of the 1985 NLCS against the Dodgers. Jack Buck’s legendary call of the moment lives on: “Go crazy, folks! Go crazy!”
Active: Brandon Crawford and Andrelton Simmons (4)
Left field: Barry Bonds (8)
Bonds is the all-time home run king, so he’s another player for whom defensive greatness is often overshadowed by offensive accomplishments. He won all eight of his Gold Glove Awards from 1990-98, combining his deft ability to run the perfect route to a fly ball with his uncanny skill in positioning a hitter just right to become the premiere defensive left fielder in the game. Those attributes helped him overcome, for the most part, the only part of his all-around game that was lacking -- his arm strength. The accolades are seemingly endless for Bonds -- he won a record seven MVP Awards, hit 762 home runs, including a record 73 in 2001, is the only member of the 400-home run and 400-steal club, and a 14-time All-Star.
Active: Starling Marte and Tyler O'Neill (2)
Center field: Willie Mays (12)
The “Say Hey Kid” is regarded as one of the greatest all-around players in baseball history. He hit, hit for power, could fly around the bases, and made incredible plays in center field. Those plays earned him a dozen Gold Glove Awards over his 22-year Hall of Fame career, all in succession from 1957-68. Ironically, all were won after Mays made one of the most famous catches in MLB history -- “The Catch” against the Indians’ Vic Wertz in Game 1 of the 1954 World Series. It was an over-the-shoulder grab in deep center at the Polo Grounds, followed by a whirlwind throw that prevented a run from scoring. The fact that Mays owns the most Gold Glove Awards in center field often gets overshadowed by the fact that he was also the 1951 NL Rookie of the Year, a two-time NL MVP and an All-Star in 20 of his 22 MLB seasons.
Active: Kevin Kiermaier (3)
Right field: Roberto Clemente (12)
“Excellence” is an understatement when it comes to describing Clemente in every facet. And outfield defense was no exception -- from 1961-72, he won the NL Gold Glove Award for right field every year. That run may very well have continued had he not tragically died in a plane crash while traveling to deliver aid to Nicaraguans after a devastating earthquake in December 1972. Clemente’s glove was, of course, only one element to his beautiful game -- he also had exactly 3,000 hits, won the 1966 NL MVP Award, was a two-time World Series champion and an All-Star in 12 of his 18 MLB seasons.
Active: Mookie Betts (6)