- David Jablonski Staff Writer
Cincinnati Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart planned to celebrate his Gold Glove win Tuesday by going home and giving his newborn son Tatum a kiss on the cheek. Earlier in the evening, Barnhart and his wife Sierra had their second date night since the birth of Tatum in August. They attended an Indiana Pacers game.
The rest of the night might have consisted of Barnhart sizing up their house for a spot to place the Gold Glove Award.
“Wherever I can find a place in the center of things, as my wife will allow me,” Barnhart said. “It might sit on the kitchen island for a while. We’ll see.”
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Barnhart, 26, joined a short list of Reds catchers who have won the award. It’s him, Johnny Edwards (1963 and 1964) and 10-time winner Johnny Bench, who won his last Gold Glove in 1977.
Barnhart beat two of the game’s biggest stars in the final voting: Yadier Molina, of the St. Louis Cardinals; and Buster Posey, of the San Francisco Giants.
After the Gold Glove announcement on ESPN, Barnhart talked with reporters via a conference call at 10 p.m. Here are five things he said.
On the honor: “It means everything. I said during the season winning this award would be as good as it gets. For me, it’s 100 percent the truth. Yadier has eight Gold Gloves. Buster finally beat Yadier last year. I think I’m the first guy since 2007 not named Posey or Molina to win it.”
On what he’s most proud of: “With as young as our staff is, just kind of taking as much pride and putting as much effort in — and all of the catchers we had — in helping the younger guys through the season, preparing game plans and going into meetings and basically saying, ‘You know what, put it on us. Let us call the game. If you’re hell bent on making a pitch, by all means make it, but if you’re ever in doubt, go with us. We’re putting signs down with your best interest in mind. Let’s go to work.’ If I had to pick one thing, I was really happy obviously with everything I did, but as far as helping young guys and commanding young guys through the game, that was the thing I was happy with the most.”
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On the possibility of 2018 being even better: “Personally, I don’t know that it could, but from a bigger, broader perspective, I just want to win more games. I said it when I was doing the press conference when I signed my extension: I think our future is bright.”
On his teammates Billy Hamilton, Joey Votto and Adam Duvall not winning Gold Gloves: “It’s incredibly tough. I still have no idea how Billy has not won one. I know Joey won one in the past. Adam, in my opinion, is the best defensive left fielder in the game. Not to put those guys on the back burner at all, but Billy out in center field, how he still has not won a Gold Glove is mind boggling.”
On his offensive success allowing him to play more: “I think it’s huge. I pride myself on the ability of having good at-bats. I have to the way that I am. I’m not going to hit a bunch of homers. I love hitting eighth. I love it but hate it in the same sense. It’s extremely tough, but I like the challenge because it’s tough for guys to do. I take a lot of pride in being able to turn the lineup over and consistently give the team good at-bats and being able to produce that low in the lineup.”