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Darwin Barney tastes 'icing on the cake' with Gold Glove award

by: STEPHEN GREEN - Chicago Cubs second baseman Darwin Barney, from Southridge High and Oregon State, will be in New York on Nov. 9 to accept his Gold Glove award.Darwin Barney had been keeping the secret for the better part of a month.

Finally on Monday, major league baseball announced what the Chicago Cubs’ second baseman knew all along — that he is among the 2012 Gold Glove winners in the National League.

“It’s really cool,” the former Southridge High and Oregon State standout said from the Portland home he keeps with his wife, Lindsay, and their two young girls. “It’s pretty unbelievable.”

Not really. Barney, 26, put together one of the great defensive seasons in baseball history, setting an NL record and equalling the major-league mark for consecutive games without an error at 141. He committed two errors in 731 total chances and finished with a .997 fielding percentage in his second full season with the Cubs.

Barney was alerted by MLB officials soon after the regular season that he had won his first Gold Glove, but was sworn to secrecy.

“I told my family and a few others who were important to tell, but you can’t let the word get out there,” said one of the stars of Oregon State’s national championships in 2006 and ‘07.

Barney said he is “surprised and happy” to claim baseball’s most prestigious defensive award, given annually to only one player at each position in each league.

“I felt like I had played well enough and showed enough ability to make some plays, and the numbers added up,” Barney said. “But sometimes it has a lot to do with who you are and being recognized for other things as well.

“I wasn’t really worried about not winning the Gold Glove. I was satisfied enough with my defensive season. A lot of times baseball is such a game of status. Usually young guys have to earn things. I wouldn’t have been surprised if I didn’t win.

“Either way, I was happy with my development and how much better I got. This is just icing on the cake. You have to cherish it. You don’t know how many times it will happen again.”

Lindsay, Darwin and his parents — Dave and Dee Dee Barney — will fly to New York for the Gold Glove award ceremony Nov. 9 at the Plaza Hotel.

Barney will keep busy in the offseason, working on a business venture with former teammate Rob Summers along with fitness training as he prepares for the 2013 campaign. He’ll take part in a December baseball camp with his coach at Oregon State, Pat Casey, in Hawaii.

“I have a lot of relatives in Oahu, so nothing could be better,” Barney said. “We’ll use it as a little family vacation.”

Barney said he wasn’t surprised that San Francisco beat Detroit in the World Series — only by the Giants’ dominance in a 4-0 sweep.

“I picked the Giants to win in seven, but I thought Detroit — with (Justin) Verlander and their bats — would win a few games,” Barney said. “The Giants were the hot team, and their pitching staff is unbelievable.”

Barney said he is driven to have a better season with the Cubs in 2013.

“The Gold Glove doesn’t satisfy me,” he said. “I won’t take it easy and get complacent. It makes me want to win more of them.”