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The Grueling Truth - Where Legends Speak / Top-12 Catchers in MLB History

Top-12 Catchers in MLB History

The best mitt-men
Publish Date: 11/16/2023
Fact checked by: Mark Lewis

Greatest catchers

The toughest position to play in baseball is catcher. Today we are going to look at the greatest all-around catchers in baseball history. Active catchers are not eligible for this list. There have been great catchers all throughout the history of baseball and its our goal to identify the best to ever play the game.

12) Mike Piazza

Piazza’s numbers aren’t just astounding for a catcher; they’re amazing numbers for any player. He topped .300 nine times, 30 home runs 9 times, and 90 RBIs ten times. From 1993 to 2001, Piazza averaged .326 with 34 home runs and 107 RBIs. 12 all-star appearances and ten Silver Sluggers supply the accolades to back up exactly how good Piazza was. Offensively nobody was better; he is ranked this low because he was a below-average fielder, and that’s to put it nicely. It’s almost that time when the umpire screams play ball, and the 2022 Major League Baseball season will get underway!

Video: Best of Mike Piazza

Best of Mike Piazza

11) Mickey Cochrane

Cochrane topped .300 in eight full seasons, 90 runs six times, and an on-base percentage of .400 in eight full seasons. Cochrane led off for a portion of his career, and as he progressed, he became a very good defensive catcher.

Video: MICKEY COCHRANE MLB HALL OF FAME CAREER MICKEY COCHRANE MLB CAREER HIGHLIGHTS

MICKEY COCHRANE MLB HALL OF FAME CAREER MICKEY COCHRANE MLB CAREER HIGHLIGHTS

10) Bill Dickey

Through 17 seasons with the Yankees, Dickey topped .300 eleven times, double-digit homers nine times, and 100 runs batted in four times. In 1936, he broke out with a .362 average, 22 home runs, and 107 rbis. The next 4 years he went on to have home run totals of 29, 27, and 24, rbi totals of 133, 115, and 105, and batting averages of .332, .313, and .302.

Video: Bill Dickey - One of Yankees Greatest Catchers

Bill Dickey – One of Yankees Greatest Catchers

9) Carlton Fisk

Best known for one of the most dramatic home runs in World Series history, Fisk was a great all-around catcher. Very similar to Gary Carter in stats and ability.

Video: Carlton Fisk Red Sox Career Highlights

Carlton Fisk Red Sox Career Highlights

8) Buster Posey

Buster Posey is a standout catcher, even compared to previous generations. His career culminated with 1,500 hits and a.302 batting average. He was awarded the MVP and a batting title in 2012 and was a seven-time all-star. In addition to his role in three World Series championships for the Giants, he was also a key player in their success.

Video: Buster Posey Career Highlights (Giants all-time great catcher retires)

Buster Posey Career Highlights (Giants all-time great catcher retires)

7) Gary Carter

Topping 20 homers nine times, Carter reached the century mark in RBIs four times, with a league-leading 106 in 1984. A very good defender, Carter gave up 121 errors in 19 seasons and cut down an average of 35% of runners stealing. Carter was an 11-time all-star.

Video: Gary Carter Highlights

Gary Carter Highlights

6) Yadier Molina

The Posey-Molina debate is a popular one among contemporary catchers. However, Yadier Molina has a slight advantage. Molina was a great catcher.

Other than a few of our catchers, it would be difficult to find a better defensive catcher. Molina is a 10-time All-Star and has nine Gold Gloves as well as four Platinum Gloves. Molina was a great catcher and has racked up over 2,000 hits in a career that will likely see him go to Cooperstown.

Video: Yadier Molina Defensive Highlights

Yadier Molina Defensive Highlights

5) Ivan Rodriguez

Hitting .300 ten times, Pudge also hit 15 plus homers ten times, with a career-high of 35 in 1999, when he hit .332 with 113 RBIs and an astounding 25 stolen bases and was named MVP. A 14 time all-star, he has racked up 13 Gold Gloves and seven Silver Sluggers. He had 132 errors in 19 seasons, and has cut down 46% of runners that have tried to steal, and has achieved a fielding percentage of .991 over his career.

Video: Ivan Rodriguez Highlights

Ivan Rodriguez Highlights

4) Josh Gibson

He had no defensive ability, but was said to be the best home run hitter of all time; major leagues included. Gibson also hit a very high average, ranging from .359 to .384 over his career. In 1933 he hit .467 with 55 home runs in 137 games between the Negro Leagues and other levels of competition. There is a story of Gibson hitting an immense walk-off home run against the Pittsburgh Crawfords. He hit it so far into the night sky, they couldn’t see it anymore. The next day, the same two teams played in Washington, and an outfielder caught a ball falling from the sky. The umpire yells to Gibson “Yer out! In Pittsburgh! Yesterday!” In the end, his defense knocked him down a couple of spots.

Video: HOFer Josh Gibson - Baseball's MVP

HOFer Josh Gibson – Baseball’s MVP

3) Roy Campanella

During Campanella’s ten year career, he showed exactly why he gets ranked this high. He hit more than 20 home runs seven times in ten seasons, brought in more than 80 runs six times, and won the MVP award three times. His career bests are .325, 41 home runs, and 142 runs batted in. He made eight all-star appearances and helped the Dodgers to a World Series win. When he played, there were fewer people stealing bases, but Campy threw out 48% of base runners from ’54 to ’57.

Video: Roy Campanella Highlights

Roy Campanella Highlights

2) Yogi Berra

In 19 years, Berra hit 358 home runs, drove in 1430 runs, and hit .285. His defense was also very good, catching almost half of them would-be base stealers since the stat was invented. His 10 World Series rings and three MVPs really sets him apart from the rest of this group.

Video: Yogi Berra Baseball Career Highlights

Yogi Berra Baseball Career Highlights

1) Johnny Bench

Gunning 43% of base stealers, he had a great arm. He revolutionized the catching position, putting one hand behind his back when he caught. His hands were so strong he squeezed a catcher’s mitt like a first baseman’s mitt.

Looking to his offense, Bench hit 389 home runs over his 17-year career, and drove in 1376 runs. In my mind, the two-time MVP was the most essential piece to the Big Red Machine. After one of his worst seasons, he was the MVP of the 1976 World Series. The greatest all-around catcher to ever play the game.

Video: Johnny Bench Highlights

Johnny Bench Highlights

Honorable mention

Joe Mauer

Thurman Munson

Ted Simmons

Bill Freehan

Jorge Posada

Gabby Hartnett

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