Derrek Lee is golden once again. The Cubs first baseman won his third Gold Glove Award on Tuesday despite tying for fourth in fielding percentage among National Leaguers at the position. Lee beat out perennial contender Todd Helton of the Rockies, who committed just two errors all year and finished with a .999 fielding percentage. Regarded as one of the most athletic first basemen in the game, Lee continued his steady defensive play. He manned first in 147 games including 146 starts and committed seven errors for a .994 fielding percentage. His .842 zone rating, a measure of balls fielded in a player's typical defensive zone as measured by STATS, Inc., ranked sixth of the 11 NL qualifiers.
Lee also won the NL Gold Glove for first basemen in 2005, when he became the first Cubs position player to win the award since Mark Grace in 1996. Lee won his first while with the Florida Marlins in 2003. He established himself early in 2007. On April 7 in Milwaukee, Lee helped save a 6-3 Cubs win over the Brewers, a team that would battle the Cubs throughout the season for the NL Central crown. The Brewers were rallying against Carlos Zambrano when Milwaukee first baseman Prince Fielder hit a smash down the first-base line that could have been a game-tying extra-base hit. Instead, Lee snared it, tapped first base and threw to second to complete a double play. "Not many first basemen make that play," Brewers manager Ned Yost said. "He's done that to me a couple of times," Fielder added. "He's a good player. All you can do is hit it hard, and the rest is up to luck." What did Fielder really think? "I wanted to lift the stadium up and throw it," he said with a smirk. "But I've been working on the whole anger thing, so ..." Lee has been eliciting that kind of anger in NL opponents for a while now.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.