Brooks Robinson caught on quickly: Preventing runs was just as important as scoring them.
A human highlight film at the hot corner, Robinson finished No. 1 in fan voting for the all-time Rawlings Gold Glove team released Wednesday.
``It's something I'm very proud of,'' the Hall of Fame third baseman said. ``I'm glad to see the defense get a little credit. Defense is what it's all about in every sport, but offense gets all the attention.''
Robinson barehanding a bunt. Willie Mays making that over-the-shoulder catch. Roberto Clemente unleashing a rifle throw.
Think of the most spectacular fielding plays in baseball history and those spring to mind. They're also what helped put those greats on this team, picked 50 years after the first Gold Gloves were awarded.
Big Red Machine teammates Johnny Bench and Joe Morgan, glove whiz Ozzie Smith and current stars Ken Griffey Jr. and Greg Maddux made it.
Plus, there was a surprise among the big names: Wes Parker, a defensive ace in the 1960s and early 1970s, beat out Don Mattingly and Keith Hernandez at first base.
``I'm thrilled to be recognized as one of those who worked hard at what is an under-appreciated skill,'' Parker said. ``I'm particularly pleased to be the lone representative of the Dodgers and the only awardee who is not and will not be in the Hall of Fame. This is my Hall of Fame.''
The nine winners have combined to earn 100 Gold Gloves, which are chosen annually by major league managers and coaches.
Nearly 1 million votes for the all-time team were received online, through the mail and in person at sporting goods stores.
Robinson drew the highest vote total of any player with 61 percent. He won a record-tying 16 Gold Gloves for Baltimore and was the MVP of the 1970 World Series, largely because of his diving stops, backhanded plays and accurate throws.
``When you get to a World Series, that's kind of a showcase in baseball,'' said Robinson, who began his pro career at second base before a fortuitous switch to third. ``I think that kind of was the stage that people look for.''
The closest vote came for the third outfield spot, where Cincinnati's Griffey (9 percent) edged out Jim Edmonds of the St. Louis Cardinals.
Mays (23 percent) - his great grab in the 1954 World Series came three years before the first Gold Gloves were awarded, but still shows up in the highlight reels - and Clemente (21 percent) made it easily.
Andruw Jones, Ichiro Suzuki, Paul Blair and Curt Flood were among the other outfielders up for consideration. A panel of baseball experts chosen by Rawlings trimmed the list of more than 250 Gold Glove winners to a ballot of 50.
Morgan also won in a narrow election. Known for his quickness in the AstroTurf era, he got 27 percent at second base and finished ahead of Roberto Alomar (22 percent), Ryne Sandberg (21 percent) and Bill Mazeroski (19 percent).
Maddux, tied with Robinson and Jim Kaat with 16 Gold Gloves, got 50 percent of the 974,284 votes. The San Diego ace with the catlike reflexes on comebackers beat out Kaat and Bob Gibson among pitchers.
San Diego manager Bud Black agreed with the choice of Maddux. While many good-fielding pitchers envision balls being hit back at them, Black said the Padres ace will ``sometimes take a little hop to the left or right, anticipating it being hit to a certain spot.''
The acrobatic Smith (56 percent) outdistanced Derek Jeter and Omar Vizquel at shortstop. The popular Jeter certainly boosted his chances with that into-the-seats diving catch against Boston and his backhanded flip in the playoffs to nip Oakland.
``It truly is an honor to stand with the very best defensive players,'' said Smith, who won 13 Gold Gloves at shortstop. ``With so many great players, it's almost impossible to pick the best at each position.''
Bench, famed for rocket throws that cut down would-be basestealers, drew 59 percent to top Ivan Rodriguez and Bob Boone at catcher.
Parker got 53 percent at first base. He won six Gold Gloves in his nine-year career and finished ahead of Mattingly, who got nine Gloves, and Hernandez, whose 11 Gloves are a record at the position.

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