3 Chicago Cubs — Dansby Swanson, Ian Happ, Nico Hoerner — earn Gold Glove awards for the 1st time in franchise history

For the first time in franchise history, the Chicago Cubs have three players named Gold Glove defensive award winners in a season.

Second baseman Nico Hoerner won his first National League Gold Glove award Sunday night while shortstop Dansby Swanson and left fielder Ian Happ both won the second of their career coming in back-to-back years.

“Really cool anytime you can be a part of Cubs history like that, first to do something, is pretty special for an organization that has been around a long time,” Happ said. “There’s a lot of credit to a lot of the other guys that were on the field every day playing with us.”

Swanson is the fourth Cubs shortstop to win the award after Javier Báez (2020), Don Kessinger (1969 and 1970) and Ernie Banks (1960).

Hoerner, a finalist in 2020, is the fourth Cubs second baseman to win the award, joining Darwin Barney (2012), Ryne Sandberg (nine times, last in 1991), Glenn Beckert (1968) and Ken Hubbs (1962). He teamed up with Swanson as one of the best middle infield duos in the majors, fittingly earning them both hardware.

Hoerner called the first-time honor “really, really special.”

”The thrill of seeing Ian win his first last year and I didn’t know Dansby then but it’s so much time that goes into that and people that help along the way. I especially think of my dad and the time that he spent with me, just the endless scrambles and whatnot,” Hoerner said. “Cool to get recognition for it.”

Swanson’s defensive wizardry was as advertised during Year 1 in Chicago, a big part of why the Cubs signed him to a seven-year, $177 million contract last offseason. His 20 Outs Above Average (OAA) led all players this year and his 18 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) were the most among MLB shortstops and also tied him for fifth among all positions.

Hoerner and Swanson are the first middle infield teammates to win the Gold Glove award in the same season since San Francisco Giants Joe Panik and Brandon Crawford in 2016.

”The work that gets put in, and the more that you put in that work and then obviously the communication factor, growing in just our relationship in general, our friendship and growing as teammates really, really helped,” Swanson said. “Because it started to understand questions to ask, answers to give, like, how to ask things, how to pick someone’s brain. It’s not just as easy as saying, ‘Oh, where do you want your double-play feed?’

”And it’s this ever-evolving thing. It’s not just as simple as we just became good. Like, the individual stuff happened, yeah we worked our butts off to be able to be good in that regard. But the camaraderie and the chemistry takes time and will only continue to get better as time goes along.”

Happ had a great view of the defensive magic from left field, particularly on balls to Swanson’s right that appeared headed for hits to the outfield.

”There were a lot of times that me and (Mike) Tauchman or me and (Cody Bellinger) would look at each other after plays these two made, a little, ‘Oh my God’ acknowledgment between the two of us,” Happ said.

More traditional stats favored Happ’s Gold Glove award candidacy. His 12 outfield assists topped all big-league outfielders and the 253 putouts he tallied were second-most for NL left fielders.

“The first one was really awesome, but to be able to back it up with another one and you’ll have that on the resume, I think that’s a really special thing,” Happ said. “And to be able to do it in Wrigley again and twice in a Cubs uniform is a pretty cool thing that I’ll cherish.”

The Cubs took a deliberate approach to improve their team defense last offseason by signing Swanson and Bellinger.

”From the beginning of the year, it was something that was pretty well covered that as a team we were going to really value run prevention and so whether we got the awards or not, I felt that our team really did that beyond the three of us,” Hoerner said. “And so to get the recognition now feels great, especially with that goal in mind, but so many other guys were contributing to that as well.”

For the White Sox, center fielder Luis Robert Jr. was the team’s only Gold Glove finalist but it was the Toronto Blue Jays’ Kevin Kiermaier who won for the American League at that position.

Chicago native Alek Thomas was a National League finalist at center field for the Arizona Diamondbacks but lost to Brenton Doyle of the Colorado Rockies.

Gold Glove finalists are determined by a combination of 75% voting among managers and coaches and 25% use of a proprietary metric known as the SABR Defensive Index (SDI).

Now that the winners have been announced, a combination of fan voting and SDI will determine the Platinum Glove winner from each league. Those winners will be revealed at the Gold Glove award ceremony on Nov. 10.

Also on Sunday, the Cubs announced they exercised the 2024 team options for starting pitcher Kyle Hendricks ($16 million) and catcher Yan Gomes ($6 million). Hendricks remains the longest-tenured Cub on the roster as he enters his 11th big-league season with the club.


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