Jeter, Wells win first Gold Gloves

Updated: November 3, 2004, 10:27 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

Catcher Ivan Rodriguez, who helped revitalize the Detroit Tigers this season, on Tuesday earned his 11th Rawlings Gold Glove award, breaking the record for backstops held by Johnny Bench.

2004 Rawlings AL Gold Glove winners
Player, position Number of Gold Gloves Fielding Pct.
Kenny Rogers, P 3 .985
Ivan Rodriguez, C 11 .987
Darin Erstad, 1B 3 .996
Bret Boone, 2B 4 .978
Eric Chavez, 3B 4 .968
Derek Jeter, SS 1 .981
Ichiro Suzuki, OF 4 .992
Torii Hunter, OF 4 .988
Vernon Wells, OF 1 .997

It was the first Gold Glove honor in three years for Rodriguez, who won 10 straight for the Texas Rangers from 1992-2001. Anaheim's Bengie Molina ended Rodriguez's streak in 2002 and repeated last year when Rodriguez helped lead the Florida Marlins to the World Series title. The Cardinals' Mike Matheny won the NL's Gold Glove at catcher in 2003.

Rodriguez signed with the Tigers as a free agent in the offseason and helped lead them to a 72-90 record -- a 29-game improvement from the previous season, when Detroit lost an American League-record 119 games.

Rodriguez is the first Detroit player to win a Gold Glove since Gary Pettis in 1989 and the first Tigers catcher to earn the honor since Lance Parrish in 1985.

Among the other American League recipients were a pair of first-time winners -- shortstop Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees and center fielder Vernon Wells of the Toronto Blue Jays.

"I take pride in my defense, and I work hard each year to improve in the field," Jeter said in a statement issued by the Yankees. "There are a number of fantastic defensive shortstops in the American League -- too many to count -- and to be recognized with the Gold Glove makes it that much more of a special accomplishment. I also want to thank our pitching staff for having so many of our opponents hit balls in my direction."

Some baseball analysts have said Jeter has less range than Rodriguez, Nomar Garciaparra and Miguel Tejada.

"Derek Jeter is a great, inspired leader and captain," Yankees owner George Steinbrenner said in a statement. "He certainly deserves this honor."

Jeter is the first Yankees shortstop to win the Gold Glove.

Completing the outfield selections were right fielder Ichiro Suzuki of the Seattle Mariners and center fielder Torii Hunter of the Minnesota Twins, who each won for the fourth time. Ichiro has won the Gold Glove in each of his big-league seasons.

Other infield winners were Anaheim Angels first baseman Darin Erstad, Seattle Mariners second baseman Bret Boone and Oakland Athletics third baseman Eric Chavez.

Boone and Chavez also won their fourth Gold Gloves and joined Hunter and Ichiro as repeat winners. Boone has won at second base for three consecutive seasons.

Erstad claimed his first Gold Glove as a first baseman after winning two as an outfielder. He's the first player to win Gold Gloves at both positions.

The pitching award went to Texas Rangers right-hander Kenny Rogers, who turns 40 on Nov. 10. Rogers captured his third Gold Glove.

"I'm not the same guy I was in the years past," he said.

"There's a lot of things physically I could do that I can't do now," he said.

Despite his age, Rogers had 65 total chances, third in the AL behind Jake Westbrook (76) and Mark Buehrle (71).

"Shortstops and second basemen over the years have complained I go after balls that are hit right to them," Rogers said.

Rodriguez and Erstad both earned $100,000 bonuses, while Boone, Chavez, Rogers, Suzuki and Wells each earned $50,000, and Hunter $25,000.

The National League Gold Glove winners will be announced Wednesday.

Information from SportsTicker, The Associated Press and ESPN Research was used in this report.

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