It’s an honor when an MLB player is recognized as the best offensive or defensive player at his position by his league but it’s an even greater honor when he’s recognized as both. Greater, but not all that rare, it seems. Since the Silver Slugger award originated in 1980, the two awards have been given simultaneously to players a total of 172 times or about 5 times per season out of the 17 possible occurrences.
The first players to be awarded the combo platter* were Keith Hernandez, Willie Wilson, Mike Schmidt, Andre Dawson and Cecil Cooper in 1980. The first Twins player to earn the pair of awards together was Kirby Puckett in 1986. (Kirby went on to do it four more times.) The last Twin was Joe Mauer in 2010, the last of three consecutive seasons he did so. Only one other Twins player won a Silver Slugger and Gold Glove in the same season - Chuck Knoblauch in 1997.
Ken Griffey Jr., Barry Bonds, and Ivan Rodriguez each won the pair of awards seven times– the highest totals in the 33 years that both have been awarded.
Mike Hampton in 2003 is the only pitcher to win the pair together. Hampton actually has FIVE Silver Slugger awards, the same as Mauer, if you’re counting. (Mark Portugal even has a Silver Slugger award, Joe!)
Inexplicably, there have been 16 occurrences of players being recognized as both their league’s outstanding offensive and defensive player at their position in a season in which they failed to reach the All-Star game. This actually happened to Matt Williams twice – in 1993 and 1997 – and most recently to Chase Headley and Adam LaRoche in 2012. This has never happened to a Yankee, however.
* - No, I did not have a combo platter for lunch today. Egg salad, avocado, some sprouts and pepperoncini on a croissant. A little watermelon on the side.