By Joe Christensen
Joe Mauer won his first Rawlings Gold Glove Award today, becoming the first Twins catcher to win the award since Earl Battey in 1962.
Mauer, 25, who also won his second American League batting crown this year with a .328 average, has long been viewed as one of the top defensive catchers in baseball. Now he has the hardware to prove it.
Each year, managers and coaches vote to pick the top defensive player in each league at each position.
Mauer posted a .997 fielding percentage, committing three errors in 139 games behind the plate, with four passed balls. He threw out 26 percent (18-for-69) of the opposing runners trying to steal.
Beyond that, he helped guide a team with one of the league’s youngest pitching staffs, to the postseason doorstep, as the Twins lost a one-game playoff with the White Sox to determine the AL Central title.
This year’s other AL Gold Glove Award winners:
P: Mike Mussina
1B: Carlos Pena, Rays
2B: Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox
3B: Adrian Beltre, Mariners
SS: Michael Young, Rangers
OF: Torii Hunter, Angels
OF: Grady Sizemore, Indians
OF: Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners
Note: Mauer’s contract includes a $25,000 bonus for winning the Gold Glove Award, just as it did for his All-Star selection. He is under contract with the Twins through 2010.