In 1960, Brooks Robinson won the first of what would be 16 Gold Gloves. He did that at 23. Manny Machado could win his first tonight at 21.
Can Manny win 16 before his career is over? Who would be foolish enough to put anything past the kid?
A win by Machado would be impressive in many ways. First of all, he would be doing this at such a young age and at a position he didn't begin playing regularly until after he got to the major leagues.
Also, the other finalists at third base - Adrian Beltre and Evan Longoria - have combined to win the last six Gold Gloves at third. Machado would be beating out two former winners who have a lot of hardware.
But Manny deserves to win. He made routine plays, he made tough plays and he sure made great plays. He did that often.
Manny showed this year that third base could be a range position. It's always been considered a read and react position, the hot corner where your quick hands help much more than your quick feet or range. But Manny showed great range, too, at third this year and that enabled J.J. Hardy to play more up the middle at times, giving the Orioles massive range on the left side of their infield.
Maybe Manny is redefining how third can be played.
Have I mentioned his arm? Not yet, but we saw that on display often this year. Manny has a cannon over there at third.
Machado is one of six O's finalists tonight, along with Hardy, Matt Wieters, Chris Davis, Adam Jones and Nick Markakis. So how many Gold Gloves will they get? I've predicted three all along, with Machado, Hardy and Wieters winning. If the O's get four, that would match a club record, last done in 1975.
How do you rank the O's from most to least likely to win tonight?
I'll go with this order:
By the way, before his career is over, will Manny win Gold Gloves at third base and shortstop?