Jim Kaat and Brooks Robinson have held the record for the most Rawlings Gold Glove Awards for nearly 30 years. But now they have company.
The 40-year-old right-hander, who just completed his 21st major league season, has practically monopolized the Gold Glove award among NL pitchers, winning his third straight and his 16th in the last 17 years. Only Mike Hampton, in 2003, has won the NL award over Maddux since 1990.
"I'm honored," Maddux said in a statement. "I take great pride in my fielding. This award means a lot to me."
Maddux was 15-14 with a 4.20 ERA this year, including 6-3 with a 3.30 ERA for the Dodgers. The eight-time All-Star and four-time NL Cy Young Award winner has 333 career wins.
Kaat, a left-hander with 283 career wins, last earned a Gold Glove in 1977, while Robinson, the Hall of Fame third baseman, won his 16 in succession from 1960-1975.
Maddux's award highlighted a group of NL winners that also features three other players moving up the Gold Glove charts at their respective positions and two others winning for the first time.
San Francisco Giants shortstop Omar Vizquel earned his 11th Gold Glove overall and his second in the NL. Vizquel, who won nine in the American League with the Cleveland Indians, is second all-time to Ozzie Smith (13) among major league shortstops.
"I never thought at the age of 39 I would be getting Gold Gloves," Vizquel said. "It's really weird I'm still playing at the top of my game, but my experiences and my condition has put me at the place where I am right now -- and the desire and the passion.
"I felt I had a Gold Glove kind of year. I made three errors until the last weeks of the season. It is amazing I can keep that kind of concentration. As the years go by, you learn how to put that level of concentration into play. You have to be anticipating."
Atlanta Braves center fielder Andruw Jones won his ninth Gold Glove and is now fifth among outfielders behind co-leaders Roberto Clemente and Willie Mays (12 apiece) and Ken Griffey Jr. and Al Kaline (10 each).
Two players otherwise known for their offensive exploits, St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols and New York Mets center fielder Carlos Beltran, were recognized for their defensive excellence, capturing their first Gold Glove awards.
Other NL Gold Glove winners were Houston Astros catcher Brad Ausmus, with his third overall and first since 2002; Arizona Diamondbacks second baseman Orlando Hudson, with his second overall and first in the NL; and San Diego Padres center fielder Mike Cameron, with his third overall and his first in the NL.
"You get a few more pennies to put in your Christmas stocking when you win the Gold Glove," Hudson said from Knoxville, Tenn., where he is attending the Louisiana State-Tennessee football game this weekend.
Hudson, who also won the award with Toronto last season, becomes the sixth infielder in major league history to win a Rawlings Gold Glove in each league, joining Bret Boone, J.T. Snow, Robin Ventura, Vizquel and Matt Williams. NL managers and coaches vote on the award.
"It's a very small number that's won it, and I'm glad I'm a part of that," Hudson said. "It's a small part of history."
Hudson, 28, is eligible for salary arbitration but said he would be open to a long-term deal with Arizona.
"I told my agent right now, I want to stay in Arizona," Hudson said. "I'm open to it if they're talking about it. I would love to finish my career there."
Beltran and Vizquel each earned $100,000 bonuses, while Cameron,
Pujols and Rolen got $50,000 apiece. Ausmus gets a $25,000 bonus.
To celebrate its golden anniversary of the award, Rawlings is initiating a nationwide fan vote to select the all-time Rawlings Gold Glove Golden Anniversary team -- the greatest fielder at each position.
A panel of baseball historians and experts will choose 50 players, several at each position, who will appear on the final ballot. Fans will begin voting during spring training, and the all-time team will be revealed during the 2007 All-Star break. Rawlings has launched a Web site (rawlingsgoldglove.com) with more information.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.