FALL 2012 Auction
This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on:
The Rawlings Glove Co. may have had Ozzie Smith in mind when they started their iconic Gold Glove Award in 1957 to honor the top fielders at each position in the major leagues. Well, maybe not Ozzie himself, since he was only 3 years old at the time. But maybe the idea, the notion that fielding had been a largely unheralded element of the game at the major league level. There are a number of reasons why fielding doesn’t quite get its due, not the least of which is the statistical difficulties in assessing the difference between the great and the merely good. And then Ozzie Smith came along.
In the 55-year history of the award, only one shortstop – excluding Mr. Smith – has won the award as many as four years in a row: Dave Concepcion. Several have snagged three in a row, including 2012 Hall of Fame inductee Barry Larkin. Ozzie Smith won 13 in a row, from his second year in the major leagues in 1980 to his 14th in 1992. At the most important and physically demanding defensive position on the diamond not requiring use of a mask and shin guards, Smith dominated in a fashion that was almost unthinkable.
Those who quibble about the efficacy of the Gold Glove Award lament that the voting often seems to place too much emphasis on emotion and selective memory as opposed to the cold calculation of statistics. “The Wizard” managed both departments quite handsomely. Ozzie would wind up in the top five virtually throughout his career in total chances, assists and putouts, and would hold dozens of major league and National League career records when he hung up his spikes following the 1996 campaign. The benchmark statistic from an earlier generation, fielding percentage, was often summarily dismissed by sophisticated fans because it didn’t account for range, but the advances in statistical analysis that took place over the last 30 years do nothing but add further evidence of Smith’s defensive brilliance. Ozzie recorded the top fielding percentage eight times; six times he lead in range factor and five other times wound up second.
This lot of all 13 of Ozzie’s Gold Gloves constitutes one of the most amazing opportunities to acquire the single, definitive memorabilia grouping that tells the story of arguably the greatest defensive shortstop in baseball history. With an Ozzie Smith model glove made from gold lame tanned leather and flanked by similarly imposing gold-tanned Rawlings baseball, the Gold Glove Award is arguably one of the most iconic and recognizable trophies in all of professional sports. Ozzie Smith performed something extraordinary and likely never to be seen again when he earned this elegant prize over 13 consecutive major league seasons from 1980 to 1992; ultimately, it seems perfectly appropriate that the grouping should remain intact and be sold as a single lot. Includes a signed LOA from Ozzie Smith. (Note: A second replica set of these Gold Glove awards was produced by Rawlings for Ozzie to display in his St. Louis area restaurant. The awards presented here, however, are the actual awards presented to Ozzie in their years of recognition.).
LOA from Ozzie Smith