A.J. Andrews on what it means to her to have won the first Softball Gold Glove
by Gray Giaconia
Dating back to 1957, the Rawlings Gold Glove award is one of the highest honors for defensive players. Until now, though, the award has only been given to men. This year, A.J. Andrews of the Akron Racers was the first woman to ever receive a Rawlings Gold Glove. We spoke with her to find out what it means to her.
What does it mean to you to be the first woman ever to receive a Rawlings Gold Glove?
It means a lot to me because I am a pioneer for not just softball, but for women in sports in general, and that hopefully this will be a push forward into growing the game of softball and to really getting that recognition and getting the respect that I think women in sports deserve. I hope they continue to push forward and try to break new barriers and make history the way that I did. I think winning the Gold Glove is a sign of hope, it is a sign of moving forward and I think that it is something that is truly going to be life-changing and world-changing for women in sports.
Do you think your award will bring more attention to professional softball, akin to baseball?
I hope so. I believe that it is getting attention, and it is one of those things that it’s going to need some more backing. There still needs to be a lot more voices. I think with softball being back in the Olympics, it’s definitely going to help, but I think that the only difference between professional softball and professional baseball is the exposure. The fact is that more people watched the women’s college world series than they did the boys’, so I think that softball is a sport that people want to watch. I hope that this is going to be a push forward, that it continues to get more exposure, and it needs to gain momentum, and more and more people will continue to want to watch softball and want to have it on television.
Having won this prestigious award so early in your career, how do you feel about moving forward? Do you feel that there is more pressure now?
No, I don’t feel as if there’s any pressure. I mean I was the same way in college, I’d go for every ball I could; I laid out and made those plays. I didn’t know until the end of the year last year that there was even going to be a Rawlings Gold Glove given out to a woman, so I played the way that I always played, not knowing that this would be granted to me or granted to anyone, and so obviously I would love to win a second one, which is going to keep me competing, but it doesn’t change who I am.