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Their work with the glove is golden

August 23, 2007|Alex Kimball and Kevin Baxter

Former Dodger Wes Parker scooped up a surprise Wednesday when he was voted the best defensive first baseman in baseball since the inception of the Gold Glove award in 1957.

Parker was selected as the first baseman on the all-time Rawlings Gold Glove team in fan balloting, beating out Don Mattingly, Keith Hernandez and J.T. Snow.

"I'm thrilled to be recognized as one of those who worked hard at what is an under-appreciated skill," said Parker, who won six consecutive Gold Glove awards during his nine-year career with the Dodgers. "I'm particularly pleased to be the lone representative of the Dodgers and the only awardee who is not and will not be in the Hall of Fame. This is my Hall of Fame."

Actually, the pitcher on the team, Greg Maddux, a 16-time Gold Glove winner, pitched for the Dodgers last season. But he spent most of his career with the Chicago Cubs and Atlanta Braves.

Jerry Reuss, a former major leaguer pitcher and current Dodgers broadcaster, said of Parker: "I didn't see all of Wes' career, but what I did see of it, the smoothest hands. Great feet. There was no ground ball, no line drive that he couldn't field.

"He was smooth, that's the best way to put it. He played first base the way anybody who's ever played the bag wishes they could have."

A panel of experts cut a list of more than 250 Gold Glove winners to a ballot of 50 players -- 18 outfielders, six players at each infield position, five catchers and three pitchers -- and nearly 1 million votes were cast. Third baseman Brooks Robinson had the most votes (61%) of any player; Parker received 53% of the votes at first base.

-- Alex Kimball and Kevin Baxter

VOTING RESULTS

* First base: Wes Parker (53%),

Don Mattingly, Keith Hernandez,

J.T. Snow, Vic Power, Bill White.

* Second base: Joe Morgan (27%), Roberto Alomar, Ryne Sandberg, Bill Mazeroski, Frank White,

Bobby Richardson.

* Third base: Brooks Robinson (61%), Mike Schmidt, Scott Rolen, Eric Chavez, Buddy Bell, Ken Boyer.

* Shortstop: Ozzie Smith (56%), Derek Jeter, Omar Vizquel, Dave Concepcion, Luis Aparicio, Mark Belanger.

VOTING RESULTS

* Pitcher: Greg Maddux (50%), Bob Gibson, Jim Kaat.

* Catcher: Johnny Bench (59%), Ivan Rodriguez, Bob Boone, Bill Freehan, Jim Sundberg.

* Outfield: Willie Mays (23%), Roberto Clemente (21%), Ken Griffey Jr. (9%), Jim Edmonds, Andruw Jones, Carl Yastrzemski, Ichiro Suzuki, Al Kaline, Torii Hunter, Kirby Puckett, Paul Blair, Dave Winfield, Curt Flood, Andre Dawson, Dwight Evans, Garry Maddox, Larry Walker, Devon White.

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