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Sporcle Friday: AL Gold Glove Winners at 1B

Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

When I played baseball as a Sammamish youth, I always enjoyed playing first base because it meant you got to catch the ball a lot. Not to brag, but during the real early Little League days, I was typically one of the only kids on the team who could consistently catch the ball, meaning I spent a lot of time at the cold corner.

As one progresses through the baseball ranks and catching the ball becomes fairly elementary, first base becomes less and less important. You want the most athletic fielders playing up the middle and the slower grass pickers on the edges. This trend often continues all the way up the chain and into Major League Baseball. Let’s just say that people like Prince Fielder and Mo Vaughn were never going to be shortstops.

Still, every now and again we get a first baseman who takes pride in their defense, bucking back against traditional thinking that says they should just hit homers and look cute. Seattle’s own Evan White is a recent example. His balletic footwork and cat-like reflexes provide a unique skill set that lends itself beautifully to first base. This got the rookie his very own Gold Glove award in his first season with the Mariners, joining another Seattle first baseman from the turn of the century and a bunch of other dudes who either won the award because they played in a big market, were also good at hitting, or both.

The last 30 Gold Glove-winning first basemen in the American League also reads like a list of All-Stars, with one hilarious exception in 2001. As it stands right now, I would expect Evan White to have a slightly better career than that man, putting him on roughly the same trajectory as the 1995-96 winner.