"To be honest with you, I was pretty surprised that I won," Longoria said. "I always pride myself on playing defense every day. I guess I was just so disappointed in my overall year that I didn't think that I'd have a chance to win, did enough to win or was good enough to win. It's always nice to be recognized.
"The Gold Glove is one of the awards when I first started playing that I wanted to win. So to win a third one is really cool. I definitely take pride in my defense, so it was a pleasant surprise to be able to get this call and win the Gold Glove."
Longoria started 142 games at third base in 2017 and made 12 errors in 375 chances for a fielding percentage of .968. He had 267 assists and 96 putouts. He also led the American League third basemen in defensive runs saved with 11.
"There are some great third basemen in the division and in the American League, so [winning the award is] something I definitely don't take lightly, and it's an honor to be ahead of those guys," Longoria said. "It's been fun to watch the league grow and have so many quality third basemen. And it's competitive year in and year out.
"It feels good to win it, and it feels good to win it in front of some really good players. And some guys who put together good years."
Longoria allowed himself a chuckle when asked if winning the award validated all the pregame ground balls he has fielded while on his knees, a drill he has done throughout his career. And most of the balls hit his way came off the fungo of long-time coach Tom Foley, who left the coaching staff to assume other duties within the organization this season.
"It's going to be different next year without Foley," Longoria said. "I'm going to have to find somebody to hit me those ground balls. And I'm sure somebody will. But Foley was great for all those years, and a lot of my success, I attribute to him."
Other than Longoria and Hellickson, past Rays Gold Glove winners include: Carlos Pena at first base (2008), Carl Crawford at left field (2010) and Kevin Kiermaier in center field (2015 and 2016).
Kiermaier did not have a chance to win his third consecutive Gold Glove since he did not meet the minimum requirement of defensive innings played. He missed significant time during the 2017 season due to a hip injury.
Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2004. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.