Jacoby Ellsbury, the first major league baseball player of Navajo descent, and a member of the Colorado River Indian Tribes, has won the 2011 Rawlings American League (AL) Gold Glove Award for best defensive center fielder in the league. The Boston Red Sox was already named Comeback Player of the Year, is also a finalist for the AL MVP award, to be awarded November 21.
Additionally, he won esteemed Player of the Week honors twice during the 2011 season, mostly for his work with the lumber, but his glovework has set him apart.
An Oregon native, Ellsbury is the first American Indian to win a Gold Glove Award, and the first Red Sox outfielder to earn the honor since Ellis Burks in 1990. In his entire career, Ellsbury has committed only two errors over five seasons, which began in late June 2007, the year the Red Sox won their second World Series title since 1918. Both errors were committed in 2009.
In 2010 Ellsbury was hampered with repeated rib injuries, but he constantly fought to get back into the game. He showed a Warrior’s spirit.
This season, he was the driving force for a team that ultimately, on the final day of the regular season, failed, dramatically, to make the playoffs. Yet, Ellsbury swatted 32 homers, knocked in 105 runs and swiped 39 bases in 2011, an astonishing season at the plate. He’s a legitimate MVP candidate, and if he gets that nod, it would be another first for an American Indian.
But what really stands out today? A perfect 1.000 fielding percentage, on 349 chances, for Ellsbury in 2011.
And, primarily due to that last statistic, Jacoby Ellsbury is your 2011 AL Gold Glove center fielder. The first American Indian to ever win the award.
He’s the man with the Golden Arm.