Most baseball fans have heard of the Gold Glove Award, the trophy given out to the player deemed to be the best fielder at each position in the American and National Leagues.
But fewer know about its cousin, the Silver Slugger Award, which is presented to the best offensive player at each position, as judged by managers and coaches.
“I think the Gold Glove is more recognized,” said Scott Rolen, an eight-time Gold Glove Award winner and a one-time Silver Slugger winner. “I think most people know more about it. I am partial to the Gold Glove. It’s an unselfish award to me and shows you play defense behind your pitcher and the team.”
Rolen didn’t sell the Silver Slugger Award short, though.
“It is rightly so that you recognize a player for being the best hitter in their position,” he said. “If you put everybody together, the second baseman or the catcher aren’t known as well for their hitting as much as a first baseman or some outfielders. It is good that you get an opportunity to see who the league thinks is the best hitter in the position.”
Added Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips, who has three Gold Gloves to his name: “Honestly, winning the Gold Glove is so much better than winning the Silver Slugger, because I feel that when you are out there with eight other guys, it is more important to catch the ball than hit the ball.”
But Wednesday, it was all about the Silver Slugger Award, as the Reds celebrated Phillips’ 2011 trophy as the best offensive second baseman in the NL by giving away an appropriately-colored miniature bat emblazoned with Phillips’ name to the first 10,000 fans who entered the ballpark.
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