Nippon Professional Baseball’s Golden Glove announcements kicked off the offseason media-voted award cycle with few surprises. I am, however, interested in who receives votes, and who, over the years, have received the greatest share of the votes cast.
While the entire undertaking for all the votes since 1972 is a monumental undertaking, NPB has made it easier by publishing the vote totals since 2003, so I wrote a program to scrape those pages and got a record of every player to receive a vote since that year.
I decided to split the 19-year span into one segment of nine seasons (2003 to 2011) and one of 10 (2012-2021), and spill out the three players for each position, nine for the outfield, with the largest share of the votes during those spans.
I’ll put the first group here and the second in another post.
The player with the biggest share at a position in his league from 2003 to 2011, was Chunichi Dragons second baseman Masahiro Araki with 4.80 full shares and six Golden Gloves. Runner-up was his double-play partner, Hirokazu Kawabata with 4.66 and six awards at shortstop. Norichika Aoki, who didn’t start playing regularly until 2005, was third 4.64 and six awards.
Here’s the overall rundown:
|1||Kenshin Kawakami||1.61||Daisuke Matsuzaka||2.61|
|2||Kenta Maeda||1.00||Yu Darvish||1.50|
|3||Hiroki Kuroda||0.95||Hideaki Wakui||1.41|
|1||Motonobu Tanishige||3.41||Kenji Jojima||2.86|
|2||Akihiro Yano||1.83||Toru Hosokawa||1.74|
|3||Shinnosuke Abe||1.45||Tomoya Satozaki||1.55|
|1||Andy Sheets||1.81||Kazuya Fukuura||2.97|
|2||Kenta Kurihara||1.58||Hiroki Kokubo||1.09|
|3||George Arias||0.89||Nobuhiko Matsunaka||0.72|
|1||Masahiro Araki||4.80||Kensuke Tanaka||3.10|
|2||Hiroyasu Tanaka||1.04||Tadahito Iguchi||1.74|
|3||Keiichi Hirano||0.87||Yuichi Honda||1.45|
|1||Shinya Miyamoto||2.36||Toshiaki Imae||3.19|
|2||Akinori Iwamura||1.50||Eiichi Koyano||1.84|
|3||Kazuyoshi Tatsunami||1.04||Michihiro Ogasawara||0.92|
|1||Hirokazu Ibata||4.66||Munenori Kawasaki||2.63|
|2||Takashi Toritani||1.32||Tsuyoshi Nishioka||1.4|
|3||Shinya Miyamoto||1.11||Makoto Kaneko||1.3|
|1||Norichika Aoki||4.64||Hichori Morimoto||2.97|
|2||Norihiro Akahoshi||3.62||Atsunori Inaba||2.81|
|3||Kosuke Fukudome||3.13||Tsuyoshi Shinjo||2.60|
|4||Tatsuhiko Kinjo||1.82||Tomotaka Sakaguchi||2.34|
|5||Yoshinobu Takahashi||1.39||Yoshio Itoi||2.26|
|6||Alex Ochoa||1.36||Naoyuki Omura||1.69|
|7||Hidenori Kuramoto||1.13||Arihito Muramatsu||1.65|
|8||Masato Akamatsu||0.95||Takumi Kuriyama||1.32|
|9||Tetsuya Matsumoto||0.85||Yoshitomo Tani||1.07|
What I loved about doing this was the reminder of how good some of these players and teams were. With catcher Motonobu Tanishige, Chunichi Dragons had three of the top players of the period, and the Nippon Ham Fighters four, with the outfield of Hichori Morimoto, Tsuyoshi Shinjo — who only played three seasons for them — and Atsunori Inaba, and second baseman Kensuke Tanaka.
First base and catcher are the only two spots the Fighters didn’t have at least one player, and they had Yoshio Itoi after Shinjo split.