Solid Gold

There were certainly mixed feelings in Blue Jay Nation when J.P. Ricciardi opted to deal Orlando Hudson to the Diamondbacks prior to the 2006 season. On the one hand, Toronto was welcoming Troy Glaus, a much-needed power bat and above-average third baseman. On the other, however, Jays fans knew they were losing a special player. Aside from his contagious all-out effort each and every game, Hudson was a gold-glove second baseman who possessed excellent range.
Still, any concerns surrounding Aaron Hill taking over at second have long been put to rest. And that’s an understatement. The 26-year-old was the owner of a .983 fielding percentage (five errors in 303 total chances) entering action Wednesday night. His 198 assists led all American League second basemen, while his 42 double plays were second to only Robinson Cano of the Yankees (50). Furthermore, when Hill took the field on Wednesday night, he was the only Blue Jay to have played in each of the team’s 58 games this season.
As a result of his solid play, Hill’s name is already being tossed around as a possible gold-glove candidate this year. If he succeeds, he will become the third second sacker to win the award in Blue Jays franchise history. Ten years before Hudson won his in 2005, another Toronto second baseman capped off his Blue Jays tenure by winning a fifth straight gold glove. Indeed, Roberto Alomar was something special.
Statistically speaking, Alomar enjoyed his best defensive season in 1995, posting a league-leading .994Robertoalomar_2 fielding percentage. That translated into just four errors in 643 total chances. During that year, he also broke Jerry Adair’s American League record for consecutive errorless games by a second baseman. When his streak ended, Alomar had played 104 straight error-free contests. Meanwhile, his 484 consecutive errorless chances also set a new Major League mark.
The ’95 season capped off a remarkable five-year run in Toronto for Alomar, who played an integral role in bringing the Blue Jays their World Series titles in 1992 and 1993. For his stellar career with the club, he is scheduled to be recognized by the Blue Jays as the team’s newest member on the ‘Level of Excellence’ at Rogers Centre.
I, for one, hope he receives the standing ovation he deserves. After all, Alomar could soon be the first player in the history of baseball to don a Toronto Blue Jays cap during an induction speech at Cooperstown.

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