Friday, September 7, 2001 Updated: September 18, 3:19 PM ET
The masters of the Web Gems
By Dave Campbell Special to ESPN.com
Gold Glove teams are picked each year in each league by managers and coaches in their respective leagues. Because of the unbalanced schedule this season, any given coach will see some teams 19 times -- which can give him a pretty good read on how a guy plays defense. But he'll see the majority of his league only six times, which could make the Gold Glove voting tricky this year.
The Cardinals' Fernando Vina is as good as anyone when it comes to turning the double play.
If I were voting, I wouldn't consider only the guys who make the spectacular plays seen on Baseball Tonight and SportsCenter. I'd look more at the guys who position themselves well, have good range, good hands and an accurate arm. Sometimes an outfielder can make a great diving play, but he often runs a bad route to get there.
Justly or not, the concentration in the second half of the year is mostly on the contending teams. This year, the Expos, Rangers, Brewers and Pirates won't be seen nearly as often as the teams in contention, and unfortunately, deserving players from those teams are sometimes left off the list.
Before I give my list each year, I try to talk to as many infield coaches and managers whose opinions on defensive play I respect as I can -- so this isn't just a one-man vote. With that in mind, here is my Gold Glove team for 2001:
American League Mike Mussina, P, New York Yankees: Fields his position well and holds runners extremely well. Ivan Rodriguez, C, Texas Rangers No explanation needed. Doug Mientkiewicz, 1B, Minnesota Twins: Mientkiewicz's athleticism barely edges the steady duo of John Olerud of the Mariners and Tino Martinez of the Yankees. Roberto Alomar, 2B, Cleveland Indians: Robby gets to the ball faster than Cinderella's sisters. Emphatic Honorable Mention to Bret Boone of the Mariners. David Bell, 3B, Seattle Mariners: Quietly consistent Bell gets the nod over the more erratic -- and more talented -- Troy Glaus of the Angels. Alex Rodriguez, SS, Texas Rangers: A-Rod's arm strength gives him a slight edge over the brilliant Omar Vizquel. Torii Hunter, OF, Minnesota Twins: A walkin'-talkin' human highlight film. Mike Cameron, OF, Seattle Mariners: The M's lost nothing defensively when Cameron replaced Ken Griffey, Jr. Ichiro Suzuki, OF, Seattle Mariners: He has an electric arm, great range, overall gracefullness, and never seems to make a mistake. Gets the nod over the great arm of the Blue Jays' Raul Mondesi and the Red Sox Trot Nixon.
National League Greg Maddux, P, Atlanta Braves: Nobody consistently fields his position better. Brad Ausmus, C, Houston Astros: Ausmus has helped the evolving Astros pitching staff get back to their winning ways in the NL Central. Honorable Mentions to the Reds' Jason LaRue, the Marlins' Charles Johnson and the Diamondbacks' Damian Miller. Mark Grace, 1B Arizona Diamondbacks: Grace gets the nod over perennial Gold-Glover J.T. Snow of the Giants and the defensively underrated Jeff Bagwell of the Astros. Fernando Vina, 2B, St. Louis Cardinals: Nobody in the major leagues turns the double play quicker. Scott Rolen, 3B, Philadelphia Phillies: Cat-like first step and reflexes. Orlando Cabrera, SS, Montreal Expos: The unheralded Cabrera gets the slight edge over Rey Ordonez of the Mets and future Gold-Glover Jimmy Rollins of the Phillies. Andruw Jones, OF, Atlanta Braves: Jones looked a bit ragged in August, but he still manages to amaze. Jim Edmonds, OF, St. Louis Cardinals: While his injured shoulder held Edmonds back slightly, he still brings everything to the park everyday. Larry Walker, OF, Colorado Rockies: Plays right field like he invented it. Reminiscent of Al Kaline and Dwight Evans. Honorable mention to Shawn Green of the Dodgers. Dave Campbell, who played eight seasons in the major leagues, works as an analyst for Baseball Tonight and ESPN Radio.