Guillen dusts Ripken for Gold Glove award


ROSEMONT, Ill. -- The Baltimore Orioles' Cal Ripken rewrote the record book for shortstops last season, but Ozzie Guillen of the Chicago White Sox received the Gold Glove award for that position yesterday.

So what does Ripken have to do to be recognized for his defensive accomplishments?

"I don't know," he said. "I just have to go out and continue to make the plays I make. Granted, it's not too flashy and not too noticeable, but I still have to go out and play the way I play."

Ripken made a higher percentage of them than anyone else. He set a major-league record for shortstops by going 95 consecutive games without an error. He set a major-league record at his position by handling 431 consecutive errorless chances. He committed an all-time major-league-low three errors all season at shortstop. He had to think that this was the year his glove was going to emerge from the shadow of his bat.

"I really didn't get my hopes up," Ripken said. "It's a vote of thecoaches and managers, and, if I do my job right, I don't get noticed. That's just my style of play. My hopes weren't too high, but to be honest, I'd like to win one of those things."

Guillen made 17 errors last season, but he handled significantly more chances than Ripken. That might be a reflection on Guillen's superior range, but the Orioles' outfield led the major leagues in putouts, which is an indication that the pitching staff did not do a very good job of keeping the ball on the ground.

Though Ripken has proved to be one of the most dependable defensive shortstops in the game, he never has won a Gold Glove. There still is time, but he will have to change the mind set of the voters, most of whom think first of his impressive career at the plate.

"I think with all the attention that my defense got with the errorless streak and the three errors all season, people's opinions are starting to change a little bit," Ripken said. "But I don't think it has gotten me over the hump.

"For so many years, my offense has overshadowed my defense, and I'm happy that it has. I don't want my defense to overshadow my offense. But maybe it will take a few more errorless-game streaks for people to realize that I'm not just an offensive player."

Though some managers expressed surprise that Ripken was passed over, the voting apparently wasn't even close. Guillen is a flashy fielder with great range who helped his team compile the second-best record in baseball last season.

"The reason I voted for Ozzie is because he does so many things that don't show up in conventional statistics," California Angels manager Doug Rader said. "He does things that no records are kept for. That's not to minimize the efforts of Cal, but I think Ozzie is very, very special."

That sentiment apparently was shared by enough coaches and managers to make Ripken wait at least another year for his defensive excellence to be appreciated.

Texas Rangers manager Bobby Valentine delivered a strong dissenting opinion, saying that he was "embarrassed by the actions of my peers."

Orioles general manager Roland Hemond said: "I am disappointed. I have a lot of respect for Ozzie Guillen. I was involved in negotiating the trade that brought him to the White Sox. But watching Cal's performance day to day and the incredible records he achieved -- he had one ground-ball and two throwing errors all season -- it's hard to visualize anyone doing any better than that."

Guillen was one of seven of the American League recipients who were first-time Gold Glove winners. Former Orioles pitcher Mike Boddicker also won for the first time. So did Ken Griffey Jr., Mark McGwire, Kelly Gruber, Ellis Burks and Sandy Alomar. Texas Rangers outfielder Gary Pettis won his fifth, and Harold Reynolds won his third.

The National League Gold Glove squad featured 11-time winner Ozzie Smith at shortstop and eight-time winner Ryne Sandberg at second base. Barry Bonds and Greg Maddux were the only first-time winners.

Gold Glove team


American League

First base -- Mark McGwire, Oakland.

Second base -- Harold Reynolds, Seattle.

Shortstop -- Ozzie Guillen, Chicago.

Third base -- Kelly Gruber, Toronto.

Outfield -- Ken Griffey Jr., Seattle; Ellis Burks, Boston; Gary Pettis, Texas.

Catcher -- Sandy Alomar, Cleveland.

2& Pitcher -- Mike Boddicker, Boston.

National League

First base -- Andres Galarraga, Montreal.

Second base -- Ryne Sandberg, Chicago.

Shortstop -- Ozzie Smith, St. Louis.

Third base -- Tim Wallach, Montreal.

Outfield -- Barry Bonds, Pittsburgh; Tony Gwynn, San Diego; Andy Van Slyke, Pittsburgh.

Catcher -- Benito Santiago, San Diego.

Pitcher -- Greg Maddux, Chicago.

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