Three times Arizona Diamondbacks players were robbed of awards

Let's look at three different times an Arizona Diamondbacks player was robbed of an award they deserved more than the voted upon winner.

Arizona starting pitcher Randy Johnson throws duri
Arizona starting pitcher Randy Johnson throws duri / JEFF HAYNES/GettyImages
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Luis Gonzalez
1999 Gold Glove

Luis Gonzalez’s first year in Arizona was a turning-the-corner moment in the left fielder’s career. Gonzalez had been a solid hitter from 1991 to 1998 with the Houston Astros and Detroit Tigers. But while 1999 would be the best season of his career up to that point, it would be the start of one of the best five-year stretches in Diamondbacks history. But what while Gonzalez was mostly known for his hitting, his fielding prowess went unjustifiably unnoticed.

In Gonzalez’s first year patrolling left field for the Snakes, he racked up +19 total zone runs. Only two National League outfielders had more than Gonzalez did. That was Andruw Jones and Mike Cameron. So it would only make sense that Gonzalez took home one of the Gold Gloves, right?

Well, nobody was going to argue against Jones getting a Gold Glove. He had +36 TZR and is historically one of the greatest defenders of all time. The second Gold Glove went to teammate Steve Finley. Finley didn’t steal the award from Gonzalez. Sure, his +17 TZR was inferior to Gonzalez and Mike Cameron, but his glovework in center field was definitely deserving of some recognition.

The man who stole the award from Gonzo was now Hall of Fame outfielder Larry Walker. Walker had -8 TZR. This is easily a case where notoriety and hitting played a part in Gold Glove voting. Walker had taken home a Gold Glove in four prior seasons in the 1990s. The Rockies outfielder also led all NL hitters in each of the three triple-slash categories, taking home what I like to dub the Triple-Slash Crown.

It happens less frequently today, but there have definitely been times when offensive performance swayed voters' opinions on an award that should only consider defense. As we see with some winners, name recognition and pedigree influence votes much more than it should.