Curt Schilling waited 21 years to spend one week as a free agent.
At First, Youkilis Is Golden
"It's definitely quite an accomplishment just winning a Gold Glove [after] coming up as a third baseman and trying to work so hard at becoming a third baseman and trying to improve my defense there," Youkilis said during a conference call Tuesday. "To have a great year there and win a Gold Glove means so much to me and it's definitely a boost [to his] confidence level just knowing that this award is the award you can get for fielding. For me, I'm just so proud of playing defense for all the pitchers and just the other guys across the diamond that are throwing the ball."
Youkilis is the second Sox first baseman to win the Gold Glove (George Scott won it three times between 1967 and 1971) and only the second Sox player to win a Gold Glove since 1992. Jason Varitek earned Gold Glove honors at catcher in 1995.
Not bad for a player who had just nine games at first base under his belt before the Sox acquired Mike Lowell and shifted Youkilis across the diamond before the 2006 season.
"I think [it says] a lot about him and his work ethic that he came up as a third baseman and was able to make such a smooth transition over to first base," Theo Epstein said earlier in the conference call. "Sometimes he makes it look relatively easy over there, but he works extremely hard at this. What he was able to accomplish this year definitely was extremely impressive, especially considering that he didn't come up as a first baseman."
Youkilis was charged with an error in Game Four of the AL Championship Series against the Indians, but he's handled 1,587 regular season chances since his last error July 4, 2006, a span of an AL-record 190 games. The all-time major league record for consecutive chances without an error is 1,700, set by Stuffy McInnis for the Sox and Indians during the 1921 and 1922 seasons. The all-time major league record for consecutive errorless games at first base is 193, set by Steve Garvey for the Padres between 1983 and 1985.
"I was excited to play on a daily basis, but I was also excited to try and get better each and every day and try to help the team out," Youkilis said when asked what he thought when the Sox asked him to switch to first base after the 2005 season. "I think being a first baseman, you realize how much a good first baseman helps when you're over at third base or shortstop and you make a bad throw. You have the confidence that your first baseman will pick you up."
Diehard managing editor Jerry Beach can be reached at email@example.com. To receive a free issue of Diehard, call 888-501-5752. To subscribe to Diehard or diehardmagazine.com, please CLICK HERE
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