Whitey, Torre, Yogi, Jr. to be honored at GG dinner
2015 Gold Glove Award recipients will receive their trophies Friday
By Mark Newman
NEW YORK -- Whitey Ford, Joe Torre and Ken Griffey Jr. will receive special honors, a Yogi Berra tribute will be shown, and most of Major League Baseball's 18 newly named 2015 winners will be on hand to receive their trophies when the posh Rawlings Gold Glove Award ceremony is held on Friday night at The Plaza in Manhattan.
In addition, the Rawlings Platinum Glove Award will be handed out to one overall winner in each league. Molina became the first three-time winner of this award last year, and Alex Gordon of the Royals won it in the AL. Molina will not attend Friday due to ongoing recovery from surgery last month to repair of a ligament injury to his left thumb.
Speaking of outstanding defense, voting continues through Friday at MLB.com/awards to help decide the MLB Esurance Awards, and that includes such categories as Best Defensive Player and Best Defensive Play. Awards season covers everything this time, even the Best Fan Catch.
Ford, the Yankees' 89-year-old Hall of Famer, will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Gold Glove dinner. Ford pitched in 11 World Series from 1950-64 (winning six rings) and holds the all-time record with 10 World Series wins. It should be fun to see him presented with this award by Jim Kaat, a contemporary starting pitcher who pretty much roadblocked Ford from ever winning a Gold Glove as a result of earning 16 of them himself.
The Rawlings Heart of Gold Award will be given to Torre, MLB's executive vice president of baseball operations, for his Safe at Home Foundation work. Newly named Marlins manager Don Mattingly, Torre's protege, will make that presentation.
Griffey, a likely first-ballot Hall of Fame selection when the voting totals are announced in January, will be inducted into the Gold Glove Hall of Fame. Presenting him with the award will be 13-time Gold Glove Award-winning shortstop and Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith.
"The Gold Glove Award itself is one of the more prestigious baseball awards," Mike Thompson, executive vice president and general manager of baseball at St. Louis-based Rawlings, said on Thursday. "It means a lot to the guys, because it speaks to the players' ability to play all phases of the diamond.
"Secondly, it's not just another banquet dinner. It's a five-star hotel, there is world-class entertainment, and we have typically anywhere from nine to 15 Hall of Famers on hand. It's important for them to be there. Guys who have won it before and understand the importance of it and are willing to share that with the new regime."
Thompson said he looks forward to the video tribute to Berra, who passed away on Sept. 22 at the age of 90.
"In 2011, we honored Yogi with the Lifetime Achievement Award and presented him with a Gold Glove," Thompson said, noting that the Gold Glove Awards began in 1957, late in Berra's career. "That was a touching scene when he got up to speak that year."
MLB royalty dominates this event during the Q4 season, capping a busy stretch of celebrity baseball dinners. Last week, Jorge Posada, Paul O'Neil and Alex Rodriguez were honored at the Lou Gehrig Sports Awards Benefit that raised $1.4 million for the ALS Association Greater New York Chapter, and Vin Scully was honored on Sunday with the George H.W. Bush Distinguished Alumnus Award by the National College Baseball Hall of Fame at Bel-Air Country Club in Los Angeles.
On Tuesday, the MLB Players Alumni Association staged its 16th annual Legends for Youth Dinner at Capitale in Manhattan, honoring Orioles center fielder Adam Jones, Dodgers legend Carl Erskine and former manager Bobby Valentine. Then, Torre was scheduled to hold his 13th annual Safe at Home Foundation Gala on Thursday at Cipriani in Manhattan, with David Cone as the honoree and benefiting Torre's mission of helping children affected by domestic violence.
At the Gold Glove dinner, George Lopez will be the featured entertainment, along with a special performance by "The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon" house band, The Roots. There will be another surprise superstar musical performer, and Joe Piscopo is the emcee.
Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. Read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com community blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.