On Tuesday, the left fielder was awarded perhaps his final accolade as a member of the Rays, his first American League Gold Glove Award. Teammate and slick-fielding third baseman Evan Longoria received a second consecutive Gold Glove, making him the first in club history to win more than once.
"It still is an awesome achievement and something that I'm very proud of," Longoria said of the repeat win. "It's one thing that every year going into Spring Training, and going into the year, I really focus on."
Though Longoria made 14 errors, he often made spectacular plays, and he charges bunts as well as or better than any third baseman. Crawford made just two errors in 315 chances this season, including 306 putouts and seven assists. He also had his fair share of web gems.
Crawford's defense has always been highly rated, but he had never been rewarded with the top prize. Crawford said his recognition this year was a combination of the league simply taking notice of his play and an even better season, performance-wise.
"You never know, I figured it was going to be a long shot again [this season]," Crawford said. "I was hoping -- I really wanted to win it bad. Waiting so long, you just never know."
Crawford's first brush with a Gold Glove Award came as a senior in high school, when he walked into former big leaguer Devon White's house and saw it up close. White won seven consecutively -- Crawford just wanted his first. Now that he's got it, Crawford said his hardware is going to be on display in the middle of his living room in Houston.
"It feels good, man -- I was so happy when my agent called me [Monday]," Crawford said. "I definitely wanted that. I just liked that, liked the way it looked."
AL GOLD GLOVE WINNERS
|C||Joe Mauer, Twins||3|
|1B||Mark Teixeira, Yankees||4|
|2B||Robinson Cano, Yankees||1|
|3B||Evan Longoria, Rays||2|
|SS||Derek Jeter, Yankees||5|
|OF||Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners||10|
|OF||Carl Crawford, Rays||1|
|OF||Franklin Gutierrez, Mariners||1|
|P||Mark Buehrle, White Sox||2|
The winners were selected by managers and coaches from each AL team, who can't vote for their own players and can only vote for players in their own league.
The 2010 season marks the 54th year of the Rawlings Gold Glove Award. The first were awarded in 1957 to one player at each position from both leagues, then expanded the next year to include a lineup of nine players, one from each league.
As for where Crawford will end up next season, he said he hasn't had that conversation yet with his representatives at Legacy Sports Group. The 29-year-old figures to command one of the largest contracts this offseason, one that is likely to be too costly for the Rays.
"[We're] just kind of waiting -- waiting around to see what's going to happen," Crawford said. "My agent hasn't told me anything yet, we're not even rushing or [anything]. We're just kind of sitting back, waiting."
Out on the golf course Tuesday before an upcoming trip to the greens in Cabo, Longoria said he isn't yet thinking about going forward without his left fielder.
"I think it's going to be one of those things, until I see where he ends up ..." Longoria said. "It's going to be sad to see. Again, wherever he goes and whatever he gets, he's deserving of that."