As a result, Gordon won his second straight Rawlings Gold Glove Award as the left fielder on the American League team was honored on Tuesday night for defensive excellence. The awards were voted on by each league's managers and coaches.
"Players always want to be consistent and produce well, so to win it again is a great honor and I'm very excited about it," Gordon said. "Hopefully I can keep being consistent in the outfield and keep bringing these Gold Gloves home. It's pretty cool."
This was the second year that outfielders were selected for specific positions rather than all being lumped into the same category. The previous system resulted in center fielders dominating the winners.
2012 Gold glove winners
|POS||AL winner||NL winner|
|C||Matt Wieters, BAL||Yadier Molina, STL|
|1B||Mark Teixeira, NYY||Adam LaRoche, WAS|
|2B||Robinson Cano, NYY||Darwin Barney, CHC|
|SS||J.J. Hardy, BAL||Jimmy Rollins, PHI|
|3B||Adrian Beltre, TEX||Chase Headley, SD|
|LF||Alex Gordon, KC||Carlos Gonzalez, COL|
|CF||Adam Jones, BAL||Andrew McCutchen, PIT|
|RF||Josh Reddick, OAK||Jason Heyward, ATL|
|P||Jeremy Hellickson, TB
Jake Peavy, CWS
|Mark Buehrle, MIA|
Gordon was the only winner of four Royals who were finalists in the AL Gold Glove competition. The others were right fielder Jeff Francoeur, third baseman Mike Moustakas and first baseman Eric Hosmer.
"I think we're one of the best defensive teams in the big leagues," Gordon said. "[With] those three other guys, I'd also include [Alcides] Escobar. ... Hopefully he starts getting recognition because he's one of the best shortstops I've ever seen. And then, obviously Salvador [Perez] behind the plate. If he'd have been there all year, who knows if his name would've been in it."
This was the 20th Gold Glove won by a Royals player, and Gordon becomes just the third in franchise history to win multiple awards, joining second baseman Frank White (eight) and outfielder Amos Otis (three).
Gordon once again backed an array of diving, running and fence-bumping catches with a big haul of assists -- 17, just three shy of his Major League-leading 20 of last year. His total was just two shy of teammate Francoeur's 19, who was the Majors' leader in 2012.
His favorite play?
"I'm always a big fan of robbing home runs and I think I did it twice this year," Gordon said. "Miguel Cabrera's was pretty cool. It wasn't that hard of a catch, but in that situation when he's going after the Triple Crown and being on the road in Detroit where the fans really didn't appreciate me when I did it. And then one in Minnesota early in the year when I took a home run away. It's always fun to do and see the reaction of the baserunner, and it picks up your pitcher."
Gordon was converted to the outfield from third base while coming back from injuries at Triple-A Omaha during the 2010 season. So this was just his second full season as an outfielder.
"I felt more comfortable in the outfield as far as my routes and playing balls off the wall and stuff like that," Gordon said. "Last year was my first year out there so there were a lot of plays I wasn't used to and the more I get out there, the more comfortable I'm going to feel."
Francoeur and Gordon led an outfield that piled up 51 assists to lead the Majors for the second straight year. They also made the Royals the first team to have two different players lead the Majors in outfield assists in consecutive seasons. The last team to do it was the Boston Red Sox with Tris Speaker (35 assists) in 1909 and Harry Hooper (30), who tied Washington's Clyde Milan in 1910. The last team to have outright leaders, with no ties, in successive years was the St. Louis National League club with Dick Harley (26) in 1898 and Emmett Heidrick (34) in 1899.
"No better teammate to share it with than Jeff, a great guy. I've got a great relationship with him so that's pretty cool," Gordon said. "I think we both take a lot of pride in throwing guys out and he almost tied the Royals' record which I held last year. I was rooting for him whenever he was trying to get that 20th assist, so I know he's always pulling for me and I'm pulling for him so it's a nice combination we have the last two years."
Opposing teams have taken notice, of course, and to Gordon runners seemed less likely this year to try for an extra base.
"It was our whole outfield," Gordon said. "I think a lot of teams held up. I know the White Sox did a couple of times and Detroit started to do it. There weren't as many opportunities [to throw runners out]."
Even so, the AL champion Tigers were the Royals outfield's most frequent victims, getting nailed nine times.
The Gold Gloves are impressive trophies. So what will Gordon do with his 2012 award?
"The last one we used as a chip-and-dip tray," Gordon said, tongue firmly in his cheek, "so maybe we'll put this one on the shelf."
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.