Nippon Professional Baseball’s Golden Glove announcements kicked off the offseason media-polled 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’m going to focus on that second period here. You can find the first group in a different post.
I’ve written before about how Japanese baseball’s ultimate mantra is “prepare and execute,” so when things go south, things must be done. At the very least, there must be “hansei” — self reflection — on one’s failures.
The big issues on Friday were the inadequacy of the current replay system. A string of challenges at Chiba’s Zozo Marine Stadium held up the Marines-Eagles game for nearly half an hour. They were a string of close plays that were not obviously wrong although one was overturned.
The rule in Japan is for the umps to uphold decisions on the field without clear evidence to the contrary. The most egregious mistake came when Akira Nakamura of the Hawks was granted a decisive tie-breaking home run on a foul ball because the poor quality of the monitor afforded the officials at Kyocera Dome made it look as if it had passed on the fair side of the foul pole.
When the umps saw it on a better quality monitor after the game, they realized it was obviously foul.
Osamu Ino, the director of NPB’s umpiring technical committee has in the past blamed the cheapskate owners for not making the umps job easier and then blasting the officials for not being able to make better decisions.
On Thursday, Haruki Nishikawa was called safe at second base on a stolen base attempt despite a fairly clear image of him being tagged before his foot hit the bag.