11/11/09 6:15 PM EST
Gonzalez repeats as Gold Glove winner
Padres first baseman caps career year with more hardware
By Corey Brock / MLB.com
But it's been his glove that has brought home the biggest hardware.
Gonzalez was recognized for his worth at first base on Wednesday when he captured his second consecutive Rawlings Gold Glove. The award is voted on by National League managers.
Gonzalez, 27, is the only Padres first baseman to win it and the seventh player in club history to win multiple Gold Glove Awards. The other players to do so are Dave Winfield, Ozzie Smith, Tony Gwynn, Benito Santiago, Steve Finley and Ken Caminiti.
"You're aware of him defensively," Padres manager Bud Black said. "When you feel a defender who is great, you notice it. And I think it works the other way, too. When you feel a defender who is not as great, you feel that as well.
"When a ball is hit off the bat in Adrian's direction, you feel good about that. That's the benchmark I go by. When you see a play being made [by Gonzalez] ... you always think that it's going to be made."
Gonzalez finished the season tied for fourth in the National League with a .995 fielding percentage. He made seven errors in 156 games and in 1,367 chances. Only Albert Pujols of St. Louis played in more games (157) than Gonzalez. Pujols had 13 errors.
Gonzalez and Black both agreed that Gonzalez didn't make as many plays with his arm in 2009 -- one of Gonzalez's strengths, according to Black -- as he did in 2008, though it was because there were simply fewer chances to do so.
"I really think a lot of the things this year were based off of last year ... with teams not wanting to bunt your [direction], or do things your way," said Gonzalez, who earned an additional $50,000 for winning the award.
"This year I was as happy with the way I played. I don't think I had as many chances. The opportunities weren't there. Teams were a little more reluctant to bunt my way. I think it was more off of things I was able to establish last year and the years before."
Gonzalez enjoyed another big season at the plate, hitting a career-high 40 home runs to go with 99 RBIs. He also made his second successive All-Star team. Gonzalez has hit 30 or more home runs in each of the last three seasons.
The Padres were hopeful two of Gonzalez's teammates -- second baseman David Eckstein and third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff -- would also win Gold Gloves on Wednesday.
Kouzmanoff set a single-season record for National League third basemen with a .990 fielding percentage while making three errors all season.
In September, the Padres sent a DVD to the other 15 managers in the NL with a note that supports the team's push for Kouzmanoff to win a Gold Glove Award.
Black said he was disappointed Kouzmanoff didn't win the award.
"I am. But here again, I saw it every day," Black said. "In fairness to the managers and coaches who vote, they don't get that opportunity. I can't imagine anyone playing a better third base than he played this year."
Eckstein led all NL second basemen in fielding percentage (.997) and had the fewest errors (two) among NL second basemen.
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.