The Best Lefthanded Batters and Lefthanded Pitchers in Baseball
The Gold Glove Award for fielding excellence was first awarded in 1957. That first year, there was just one award for the Major Leagues (American and National Leagues combined). Every year since, there have been separate awards for each league.
Of course there has never been a lefthanded throwing player who won the award as a second-baseman, shortstop, third-baseman, or catcher, since lefthanders are not allowed to play those positions in the major leagues. But there have been plenty of lefthanded pitchers, first-basemen, and outfielders who have won this award.
The first gold glove awarded to a pitcher in 1957 went to lefthander Bobby Shantz of the New York Yankees. He also won the American League award in 1958 through 1960, then he was traded to the National League where he won the award from 1961 though 1964, for a total of eight years in a row. His record of eight gold gloves for a pitcher was broken by lefthander Jim Kaat, who won the American League Gold Glove Award from 1962 through 1975, then won the National League Award in 1976 and 1977 for a total of 16 years in a row.
The first lefthanded first-baseman to win the Gold Glove Award was Bill White who won the National League Award seven years in a row from 1960 to 1966 (the first six years with the St. Louis Cardinals and the last year with the Philadelphia Phillies0. Then lefthander Wes Parker of the Los Angeles Dodgers won the award for the next seven years, from 1967 to 1972. Soon after, lefthander Keith Hernandez took over as the best fielding first baseman in the majors, winning the National League award eleven years in a row, from 1978 to 1988. The first six were with the Philadelphia Phillies and the next five were with the New York Mets.
It took a little bit longer for a lefthanded outfielder to be recognized as one of the best fielders in the game. There have always been three outfield winners and they were not designated as one for left-field, one for center-field, and one for right-field...it was simply the best three outfielders. Lefthander Vada Pinson of the Cincinnati Reds won the National League Gold Glove Award in 1961, but he only won the award one time. Vic Davalillo of the Cleveland Indians won the American League Gold Glove Award in 1963, and he was also just a one time winner. The first lefthanded outfielder to win multiple Gold Glove Awards was Willie Davis of the Los Angeles Dodgers who won the award in 1971, 1972 and 1973.
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