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Four Cards take gold on defense
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11/05/2003  5:10 PM ET 
Four Cards take gold on defense
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Scott Rolen has won four consecutive Gold Gloves and five overall. (Cardinals/Scott Rovak)
ST. LOUIS -- If there is one constant to Cardinals baseball in recent years, it's defense. For the second consecutive year, four Redbirds brought home Rawlings Gold Gloves when the awards were announced on Wednesday.

Jim Edmonds, Mike Matheny, Scott Rolen and Edgar Renteria all copped the hardware recognizing them as the NL's elite defensive players at their positions. For Edmonds, it was his fourth consecutive Gold Glove and sixth overall. Rolen won for the fourth year in a row and the fifth time in his career. Renteria won his second, and second straight, and Matheny won for the second time. It was the fourth consecutive year at least two Cardinals won Gold Gloves.

2003 Gold Glove winners
 C Bengie Molina, ANA
1B John Olerud, SEA
2B Bret Boone, SEA
3B Eric Chavez, OAK
SS Alex Rodriguez, TEX
OF Ichiro Suzuki, SEA
OF Mike Cameron, SEA
OF Torii Hunter, MIN
P Mike Mussina, NYY
C Mike Matheny, STL
1B Derrek Lee, FLA
2B Luis Castillo, FLA
3B Scott Rolen, STL
SS Edgar Renteria, STL
OF Andruw Jones, ATL
OF Jose Cruz Jr., SF
OF Jim Edmonds, STL
P Mike Hampton, ATL

Fernando Vina might have made it five Redbirds with Gold Gloves, but a hamstring injury limited him to 61 games this year. Vina won at second base each of the past two seasons.

The most striking winner was Matheny, who beat out Florida's Ivan Rodriguez. In his first year in the National League, Rodriguez made a huge splash offensively and defensively. Yet the 10-time winner took a back seat to the steady Matheny.

"It's a great honor, but it's definitely one that I wasn't expecting," Matheny told KSDK Channel 5 television. "I thought I could have had a better year defensively."

The two make for an interesting contrast. Rodriguez is best known for his cannon of a throwing arm, while Matheny's success at throwing out baserunners has declined in recent years. But there is no better technical catcher than Matheny, who did not commit his first passed ball of 2003 until July 28. Matheny is widely praised for his ability to call a game, and no one blocks balls or blocks the plate better.

As for Rolen and Edmonds, they have gone beyond incumbents all the way to institutions as Gold Glove winners. Some of Rolen's defensive numbers were not up to their usual standards in 2003 -- his double plays, zone rating and range factor were all down -- but he committed a mere 13 errors in 153 games.

    Edgar Renteria   /   SS
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 180
Bats/Throws: R/R

More info:
Player page
Stats
Splits
Hit chart
Cardinals site

Edmonds' highlight-reel catches are a SportsCenter staple, and he may have outdone even himself with back-to-back robberies in Cincinnati in late August. In consecutive games of a weekend series, he stole homers from Kelly Stinnett and Russell Branyan at Great American Ballpark. He ranked fourth among NL center fielders in putouts and second in assists, despite missing 25 games.

And then there's Renteria, perhaps the quietest great player in the National League. For the second consecutive year, he won both the Gold Glove and the Silver Slugger at shortstop, marking him as the league's premier player at his position on offense and defense. Renteria does little spectacularly like his teammates, but his steadiness and dependability in the field have earned him raves.

Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to approval by Major League Baseball or its clubs.



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