Darwin Barney earned his first Gold Glove award Tuesday after a near-flawless season in the field, becoming the fourth second baseman in Cubs history to win the honor.
Barney edged out the other two National League finalists, the Diamondbacks’ Aaron Hill and the Reds’ Brandon Phillips, who won his third Gold Glove last year.
Barney led all second basemen with a .997 fielding percentage in his second full season, committing only two errors at second and three overall, including one at shortstop. He also led all Gold Glove finalists in defensive runs saved with 28 and won the Fielding Bible award for second basemen.
“I’m really surprised it ended up happening for me,” Barney said. “I’m really excited.”
The other Cubs to win the honor at second were Ken Hubbs in 1962 and Glenn Beckert in 1968. The last Cub to win a Gold Glove was first baseman Derrek Lee in 2007.
After tying the major-league record for second basemen with 141 straight errorless games at the position, Barney lost a chance to be alone in the record books on Sept. 28 in Phoenix with an off-balanced throw to first on Justin Upton’s grounder that eluded first baseman Anthony Rizzo. His only other error at second was in Miami on April 17.
“You know you’re not going to run into a streak defensively every year,” he said. “You just want to be as consistent as you can.”
Manager Dale Sveum lobbied hard for a Gold Glove for Barney during the season, saying: “I’ve been in the game for 30 years, and I’ve never seen anybody play second base like he has.”
Barney also said he was proud to hear shortstop Starlin Castro tell him: “You’re the best defensive player I’ve ever seen.”
The two could be the Cubs’ double-play combination for years.