Crawford wins 3rd straight Gold Glove Award

Crawford wins 3rd straight Gold Glove Award

SAN FRANCISCO -- Each year, Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford entrenches himself more firmly among the game's elite.

That's not among just his contemporaries. That includes some all-time greats.

Crawford continued to distinguish himself and legitimize his vast skills Tuesday when he received his third consecutive Rawlings National League Gold Glove Award for defensive excellence at his position.

By besting fellow finalists Freddy Galvis of the Phillies and Corey Seager of the Dodgers, Crawford, 30, became the first Giants player to capture at least three consecutive Gold Gloves since first baseman J.T. Snow garnered four straight from 1997-2000.

Only four other Giants have won at least three Gold Gloves since the award's inception in 1957: Snow, center fielder Willie Mays (12), left fielder Barry Bonds (five) and his father, right fielder Bobby Bonds (three).

Crawford received his latest honor in the wake of a difficult season. His sister-in-law died in April. Then the Giants proceeded to finish last in the NL West with a 64-98 record.

"It was definitely a tough season, on the field and off the field," Crawford said. "It's an individual award, but to at least get some sort of positive out of this season is still nice."

Past NL Gold Glove Award winners | 2017 winners

Six other shortstops have won at least three Gold Gloves in a row: Cincinnati's Roy McMillan (1957-59), Cincinnati's Dave Concepcion (1974-77), Ozzie Smith of the Padres and Cardinals (1980-92), Cincinnati's Barry Larkin (1994-96), the Mets' Rey Ordonez (1997-99) and Philadelphia's Jimmy Rollins (2007-09).

This group is nothing if not select. McMillan was one of the most highly respected defenders of his era. Concepcion was an essential cog in the Big Red Machine. Smith and Larkin are Hall of Famers. Nobody who saw the spectacular Ordonez play will forget him. Rollins was an all-around threat and the 2007 NL MVP Award winner.

With his pair of World Series rings and 2015 NL Silver Slugger Award among his credentials, Crawford fits nicely with this group.

"Just to be able to win one any year is definitely an accomplishment that I'll take with me for a long time," Crawford said.

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Of course, Crawford compared favorably against his contemporaries. He topped NL shortstops in ultimate zone rating (7.0) and overall defensive rating (13.2) and finished third with a .982 fielding percentage, a range factor of 4.46 and 9.0 defensive runs saved.

Giants catcher Buster Posey was a finalist but did not repeat as an NL Gold Glove Award winner. The concussion that sidelined first baseman Brandon Belt could have been a factor. It led to Posey starting 30 games at first while limiting him to 99 appearances behind the plate. By contrast, Cincinnati's Tucker Barnhart, the NL's Gold Glove-winning catcher, caught in 110 games.

Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.