MLB.com Columnist

Bill Ladson

Souza earns GIBBY for catch to protect no-hitter

Outfielder dove to grab ball for final out of Zimmermann's dazzling game

Souza earns GIBBY for catch to protect no-hitter

WASHINGTON -- Outfielder Steven Souza Jr. played in only 21 Major League games, but he certainly had an impact on the Nationals this year. In the final game of the regular season, he made a spectacular catch for the final out to save Jordan Zimmermann's no-hitter, a game the Nationals won, 1-0, over the Marlins. The history-saving grab earned Souza an MLB.com Greatness in Baseball Yearly (GIBBY) Award for Play of the Year.

Winners of the 13th annual GIBBY Awards were announced during a live show on MLB Network and MLB.com on Saturday night.

Souza entered the game in the top of the ninth inning as a defensive replacement for left fielder Ryan Zimmerman. With two outs, Marlins outfielder Christian Yelich came to the plate. First-base coach Tony Tarasco was moving Souza toward the left-field line, and Yelich hit the ball to left-center field on a 2-1 pitch.

"I knew it was going to be extremely close, because I knew I was going to have to lay out, and I was hoping I could get enough angle where I could make a good play," Souza said in September. "Once I got closer, I was like, 'Oh my gosh, this thing is going to be pretty close,' so I took off."

Center fielder Michael Taylor knew he himself didn't have a chance to catch the ball. But there was Souza, who dove and snared it like a wide receiver protecting history.

Souza on game-ending catch

"The catch, I get asked about it almost every time I see someone in a baseball environment," Souza said in November. "It was just an awesome moment for our team, mostly for Jordan. It capped off such an amazing year. It's one thing I will never forget. Nats fans will never forget, too. It's great to cap off Jordan's amazing year."

Major League Baseball's A-listers won 2014 GIBBY trophies based on votes by broadcasters, reporters, front-office personnel, MLB alumni, fans at MLB.com and the Society for American Baseball Research.

This year's GIBBY Awards feature winners in 25 categories. Individual honors went to the Most Valuable Major Leaguer, in addition to the year's best starting pitcher, everyday player, closer, setup man, rookie, breakout everyday player, breakout pitcher, bounceback player, defensive player, manager, executive and postseason MVP.

GIBBY trophies also were awarded for the year's top regular-season play, outfield throw, storyline, hitting performance, pitching performance, oddity, walk-off, Cut4 Topic, regular-season moment, postseason storyline, postseason walk-off and postseason play.

In the past several seasons, fans have cast millions of votes across the GIBBY categories, none of which are restricted to individual league affiliation. That's how you know the GIBBYs consider the best of the best.

All 30 clubs were represented among the award candidates, which is a testament to the competitive balance around the game.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He can also be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.