Back in the Milwaukee Brewers’ infancy, the Gold Glove award was one with which the team was quite familiar. From their inaugural 1970 season up to the World Series team in 1982, a Brewers player won the award nine times.
George Scott infamously won the award five years in a row as a first baseman from 1972 to 1976. Cecil Cooper collected the award twice, also as a first baseman, in 1979 and 1980, while Sixto Lezcano won it as a right fielder in 1979 and Robin Yount did so at short in 1982.
The award would be come much more elusive to the Brewers after that era. No one would win it again until Carlos Gomez secured the award in center field in 2013. Only Lorenzo Cain would win a Gold Glove after that, in 2019 as a center fielder, surprisingly the first of his impressive defensive career after being snubbed in previous seasons, including in 2018.
After being shut out in the award again in 2020, 2021 felt like a year in which a Brewer or two would bring home some Gold Glove hardware. Not only did Milwaukee have Cain on the roster again, but a number of impressive defenders were added to the team in the offseason.
Today, the 2021 Gold Glove finalists were announced, and Brewers offseason acquisitions Kolten Wong and Jackie Bradley Jr. were on the list.
For anyone who watched second baseman Kolten Wong and outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr play the field for the Brewers in 2021, it’s no surprise that either were thought of as Gold Glove worthy. Now both have a chance to give Milwaukee multiple winners of the award for just the second time in franchise history (1979).
Wong will be looking to add a Gold Glove to his mantle for the third straight season as he won the award as a second baseman for the St. Louis Cardinals in ’19 and ’20. Bradley Jr. would be looking for the second Gold Glove of his career after winning it with the Boston Red Sox in 2018.
Wong finds himself competing against Ozzie Albies of the Atlanta Braves and Tommy Edman of the Cardinals. Wong likely finds himself as the frontrunner, though, as his two errors were the lowest of the trio (Albies 8, Edman 5) and his .995 fielding percentage was the highest. Wong’s six defensive runs saved also tied Edman on the season with Albies compiling just one.
Bradley Jr., meanwhile, is battling the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Bryan Reynolds and the Cardinals’ Harrison Bader for the Gold Glove in center field. Though that may have seemed surprising to some at first glance since Bradley Jr. only played 89 games in center in 2021, his 722 innings logged there last year were still the sixth most in the National League.
Of the seven center fielders who logged at least 700 innings at the position in 2021, Bradley Jr. was one of just two players to not have an error there all year. But while Bradley Jr. put up an impressive 9 DRS in center last year, Bader had a whopping 15 to his name. Bader’s came on just over 150 more innings, but that is still a lot to overcome.
The Gold Glove winners will be announced on Sunday, November 7th. We’ll see if the Brewers can add at least one trophy to the case, if not a pair of them.