Orioles shortstop Cal Ripken may have had a difficult year at the plate, but another solid defensive season will be rewarded today when he receives his second Rawlings Gold Glove Award at a morning news conference at Camden Yards.
Ripken, who has been the defensive cornerstone of the Orioles infield for more than a decade, waited 10 seasons to receive his first Gold Glove last year, but he did not have to wait long to repeat the honor. A source close to the team confirmed that he had been chosen again in a poll of American League managers and coaches conducted by The Sporting News.
This will be the 50th time that an Orioles player has won a Gold Glove, more than any other American League team. Ripken is the ninth Orioles player to win the award more than once.
The club had hoped to have more than one winner from a pleasantly surprising 1992 season, but neither left fielder Brady Anderson nor center fielder Mike Devereaux got enough votes to finish among the league's top three outfielders.
The Gold Glove winners from both leagues will be announced this afternoon and will be honored at a banquet tonight in New York. The Orioles will honor Ripken several hours before the official presentation.
It was a good-news, bad-news kind of year for Ripken. He set career lows in several offensive categories, but he continued to play the solid defense that has made him one of baseball's best all-around players throughout his major-league career.
He committed 12 errors in 162 games and his .984 fielding percentage ranked third in the league behind Seattle Mariners shortstop Omar Vizquel (.989) and Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Manuel Lee. Ripken led the league in that department the previous two seasons and set a league record with a .996 fielding percentage in 1990 -- a year he was passed over for Gold Glove honors.
The Gold Glove is awarded to the player that the managers and coaches determine is the best at his position in each league. Offensive statistics have been known to affect the balloting, which is one of the reasons there was hope for Anderson and Devereaux.
Anderson played impressively in left field and had an outstanding all-around season at the plate. He became the first player in American League history to have at least 20 home runs, 80 RBI and 50 stolen bases in the same season. In the field, he committed eight errors, but had 10 assists and participated in a league-leading six double plays.
Devereaux made some flashy plays in center field and is recognized as one of the league's steadiest defensive outfielders, but he also made his biggest impression at the plate, shattering his previous career highs with 24 home runs and 107 RBI.
But the competition in the outfield is very stiff. Blue Jays center fielder Devon White is expected to win his fourth consecutive Gold Glove. Mariners outfielder Ken Griffey and Minnesota Twins star Kirby Puckett figure to round out the American League outfield.