South Carolina Baseball: Gamecock great wins Rawlings Gold Glove

South Carolina baseball alum Christian Walker. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
South Carolina baseball alum Christian Walker. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports /

South Carolina baseball alums have been in the news a lot over the last week or so. 2023 American League All-Star Whit Merrifield was nominated for the Silver Slugger for utility players (winners will be announced on Thursday of this week), and Jordan Montgomery and his Texas Rangers won the franchise’s first-ever World Series over the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Christian Walker, who played against his former Gamecock teammate Montgomery in this year’s World Series with the Arizona Diamondbacks, was nominated recently for the Rawlings Gold Glove award for National League first basemen. On Sunday, it was announced that the 32 year old had brought home the award for the second-straight season.

Walker’s second Rawlings Gold Glove win moves him just two shy of Paul Goldschmidt, Anthony Rizzo, and Eric Hosmer for the active Major League Baseball lead at the position. Former Cardinals and Mets great Keith Hernandez has a lock on the all-time record, however, securing 11 Gold Gloves during his career.

Christian Walker is in elite company as he is one of just two players to win a Gold Glove in 2023 who also hit over 30 home runs and drove in over 100 runs (the Rangers’ Adolis Garcia is the other). He is the first National League first baseman to win the award while going for 30 and 100 since Paul Goldschmidt did so in 2017 while playing for the Diamondbacks.

Walker was just 6 RBI in 2022 away from being just the second National League first baseman in the history of the sport to have back-to-back 30-100 seasons with a Gold Glove. Walker will have a chance in 2024 to join Colorado Rockies great Todd Helton in that exclusive club.

The South Carolina baseball legend also is now the all-time leader in Gold Glove awards for Gamecock alums, passing a former teammate from his days in Columbia. Outfielder Jackie Bradley, Jr. is the only other winner from the program, bringing home one of the outfielder Gold Gloves in 2018 when he was with the Boston Red Sox.

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