Sizemore earns first Gold Glove Award

Sizemore earns first Gold Glove

CLEVELAND -- The bobbing doll the Indians handed out at one of their home games this summer depicted Grady Sizemore in a Superman cape.

And as anyone who has seen Sizemore sacrifice his body to make leaping, diving, acrobatic grabs in center field can attest, it was an apt presentation.

Sizemore has earned a reputation for making plays in the outfield that are of the superhero variety, and that representation was solidified Tuesday when he was given his first Rawlings American League Gold Glove Award.

Managers and coaches from each Major League club vote for the best defensive players in their respective leagues and are excluded from voting for players on their own teams. Sizemore joined the Mariners' Ichiro Suzuki and the Twins' Torii Hunter in landing the AL outfield honor in '07.

Sizemore is the first Indians player to win a Gold Glove since shortstop Omar Vizquel and second baseman Roberto Alomar received the honor in 2001. He is the first Cleveland outfielder to win one since center fielder Kenny Lofton did so in 1996.

The 25-year-old Sizemore made just two errors in 405 total chances this past season. His .995 fielding percentage was the fourth-best among AL outfielders, and he also notched four assists.

In four seasons with the Tribe, Sizemore has compiled a career fielding percentage of .993.

The numbers, though, do little to describe the way Sizemore mans his position. When he risked breaking his neck to make a diving catch at the wall in Chicago's U.S. Cellular Field in September of '06, with the Indians woefully out of the playoff chase, he proved his style of play is uncompromised, regardless of the standings.

2007 Gold Glove winners
 C Ivan Rodriguez, DET
1B Kevin Youkilis, BOS
2B Placido Polanco, DET
3B Adrian Beltre, SEA
SS Orlando Cabrera, LAA
OF Ichiro Suzuki, SEA
OF Torii Hunter, MIN
OF Grady Sizemore, CLE
P Johan Santana, MIN
C Russell Martin, LAD
1B Derrek Lee, CHC
2B Orlando Hudson, ARI
3B David Wright, NYM
SS Jimmy Rollins, PHI
OF Carlos Beltran, NYM
OF Andruw Jones, ATL
OF Jeff Francoeur, ATL
OF Aaron Rowand, PHI
P Greg Maddux, SD

And when the Indians found themselves in meaningful games throughout '07, Sizemore, of course, continued to scale the outfield wall and skid across the grass to chase down that little white pill.

His goal is rather simple.

"As long as it goes in the glove," he said earlier this year, "you're happy."

Sizemore has made his pitching staff quite happy the last few years, as he's saved them from many a gap double.

This year, two of the best catches he made came in a single game. On May 6 in Baltimore, he made a diving, inning-ending grab with the bases loaded in the sixth inning and with another runner aboard in the eighth. The catches were instrumental in the Indians' 9-6 win over the Orioles.

"He can go from gap to gap with the best of them," teammate Trot Nixon said after that game. "Does it surprise me that he got there and made that catch? No. That's Gold Glove Grady."

Now, Sizemore has the hardware to back up the nickname.

Sizemore bumped the Blue Jays' Vernon Wells from the Gold Glove pedestal. Wells, Hunter and Suzuki had dominated the AL outfield Gold Glove voting in each of the previous three seasons.

Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.