Bob Boone’s First Gold Glove


In 1978, for the 2nd consecutive season, the Philadelphia Phillies won a then-franchise record 101 games. One of the biggest reasons for the club’s success in those mid-late 1970’s seasons was it’s up-the-middle defense.

It’s a commonly accepted notion that baseball team defense is anchored by the “middle” of catcher, shortstop, 2nd base, and centerfield. On this date in 1978 (December 2nd) three Phillies players won Gold Gloves at those four positions.

Shortstop Larry Bowa was awarded his 2nd Gold Glove. Centerfielder Garry Maddox was awarded the 4th Gold Glove of his career, his 3rd in a row as a Phillie in what would be a streak reaching out to 7 straight seasons.

They were joined that year by a first-time Gold Glove winner in catcher Bob Boone, who became the first Phillies player to earn the award for defensive excellence as a backstop.

A product of the Phillies farm system, Boone had been the club’s 6th round selection in the 1969 Draft. He made his MLB debut in 1972, and then became the starting catcher in 1973 for the first of 9 consecutive seasons.

Boone would be selected to his 2nd NL All-Star team in that 1978 season, and also garnered some NL MVP votes, finishing 23rd in that balloting. But it was with the glove, arm, and handling of pitchers where Boonie was most valued by the Fightins.

Bob Boone would be honored with a 2nd straight NL Gold Glove at catcher in 1979, and then would go on to win 5 AL Gold Gloves in 9 seasons as a catcher with the Angels in the 2nd half of his career.

Note: 3rd baseman Mike Schmidt also won his 3rd of what would be 9 straight Gold Gloves and 10 overall at the hot corner, giving the 1978 Phillies a total of four honorees for defensive excellence.