ST. LOUIS -- The GIBBY tour continued on Wednesday with a stop in St. Louis -- a logical place to land, considering we're handing out awards for being, to put it in simple terms, really good at baseball. The Cardinals, perennial contenders, are never short of worthy candidates to sweep up end of season awards.
When coming up with a list of the best defensive players in the game, it's hard to top the talents of Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina, who year after year provides excellence and a mastery of the most physically demanding position on a Major League diamond.
Molina was awarded the GIBBY Award as Defensive Player of the Year for 2012, beating out, among others, three Gold Glove Award winners to capture the title. Along with the GIBBY, Molina also won his fifth straight Rawlings Gold Glove Award, the National League's Platinum Glove Award (his second), a Fielding Bible Award and the Wilson Sporting Goods defensive award.
Clearly, Molina, who was presented his GIBBY during a pregame ceremony on the field prior to the Cardinals' Interleague matchup with the Royals, has not only the reputation, but also the numbers to back it up.
Molina's 32 baserunners caught stealing topped MLB and he ranked second in the big leagues with a 47.9 caught-stealing percentage. He had three pickoffs which tied for first in the NL, and has 42 in his career -- the most among catchers from 2004-12.
The GIBBYs (Greatness in Baseball Yearly Awards), which have been handed out by MLB.com to A-list ballplayers for 11 years, honors the greatest players, moments, managers and feats of a season. The panel of voters is expansive, involving media, front office personnel, Major League alumni, fans who log on to MLB.com and experts from the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR).
The GIBBYs are unique in that they recognize greatness from both the regular season and the playoffs, whereas other official Major League awards that are handed out are for top performances in the regular season only. GIBBY voting begins in early November and the winners are announced about a month later at the Winter Meetings.
The best part of the GIBBYs may be how far-reaching and clever the categories are. Sure, a block of awards wouldn't be complete without the standards: MVP, Pitcher of the Year, Rookie of the Year, and on. But hey, this is the Internet. Space is unlimited -- so why shouldn't the awards be?
GIBBY trophies were also awarded for the top play, storyline, hitting performance, pitching performance, oddity, walk-off, Cut4 topic and postseason moment, from MLB.com's Must C highlight reels in 2012.
Several other Cardinals players, as well as general manager John Mozeliak and manager Mike Matheny, were among GIBBY finalists this year. The organization was also represented in the panel of voters. Among those who cast ballots for the GIBBYs were former player/current broadcaster Rick Horton, assistant general manager Michael Girsch and broadcaster Dan McLaughlin.