Today’s post focuses on the 10 greatest catchers of all time…with a twist at the end.
1. Johnny Bench – 1967-1983 (CIN) 14 time all-star (including 13 years in a row), 10 time Gold Glove winner (all in a row), 2 time World Series champ with the Reds (MVP once) and a 2 time National League MVP. That alone should be enough, but he also hit 389 home runs and had 1,376 RBIs. Bench was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1989 with over 96% of the vote.
2. Yogi Berra – 1946-1965 (NYY, NYM) Berra appeared in 15 straight all-star games, has 10 World Series rings and is a 3 time American League MVP. Yogi was certainly an offensive contributor as well, belting 358 home runs and driving in 1,430 RBIs. He is behind Bench though because Bench was also a great defensive catcher, as evidenced by the Gold Gloves. Berra is a class of ’72 Hall of Famer.
3. Carlton Fisk – 1969-1993 (BOS, CHW) Fisk retired with 376 home runs and 1,330 ribbies. He also caught 2,226 career games, more than any other player in history. Carlton was an 11 time all-star and was the AL rookie of the year in 1972. Quick fact, he is the last catcher to lead a league in triples; he had 9 in 1972. He is a member of the 2000 Hall of Fame class.
4. Gary Carter – 1974-1992 (MON, NYM, SF, LAD, MON) Throughout his career, Carter was a premier catcher in the National League. He consistently produced for the Expos and Mets and added a veteran presence when he played on the West coast. He was an 11 time all-star and earned MVP honors for the game twice. Gary also hit over 300 home runs and 1,200 RBIs. Carter was voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2003.
5. Micky Cochrane – 1925-1937 (PHI, DET) Cochrane was forced to retire in 1937, with a career .320 average, after being hit in the head by a pitch that nearly killed him. Before his career ended, Micky hit 119 home runs and accounted for 832 RBIs. He won 2 World Series with the (Philadelphia) A’s and added another title with the Tigers. Cochrane was also a 2 time MVP and was elected to the Hall in 1947.
6. Bill Dickey – 1928-1946 (NYY) Dickey won 8 World Series championships with the Yankees in his 18 year career. In 10 of his first 11 full seasons, Dickey had an average of at least .300, and ended his career with an .313 average and over 200 homers. In addition to his 8 rings, Bill also was an 11 time all-star selection. Dickey was a 1954 selection to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
7. Mike Piazza – 1992-2007 (LAD, FLA, NYM, SD, OAK) Piazza is considered by many to be the best hitting catcher of all time. Had his defense been as good as his hitting, he would be ranked higher. However, 427 home runs, 1,335 RBI’s and a lifetime .308 average aren’t too shabby. A 12 time all-star, Mike also earned rookie of the year honors in 1993 and has won 10 Silver Sluggers.
8. Roy Campanella – 1948-1957 (BRK) Campanella’s illustrious career was cut short when he was paralyzed in a 1958 car accident. Roy first played in the Negro League at the age of 15 and when he joined the Dodgers in ’48, he became good friends with Jackie Robinson. He proceeded to hit 242 home runs in his short career along with 3 NL MVP awards. He played in 8 all-star games. Campy was voted into the Hall of Fame in 1969.
9. Ray Schalk – 1912-1929 (CHW, NYG) Schalk was a spectacular defensive catcher who had surprising speed on the bases as well. He set a catcher’s record of 30 stolen bases in 1916 that stood for 77 years. Although Schalk only hit 11 home runs, he compiled 1,345 hits and almost 600 ribbies. He had 177 stolen bases. Schalk was also one of the honest players in the 1919 Black Sox scandal and was eventually elected to the Hall of fame in 1955.
10. Ivan Rodriguez – 1991-present (TEX, FLA, DET) Rodriguez has only missed 3 all-star games since 1992. In addition, he has been the recipient of 13 Gold Gloves and 7 Silver Sluggers, showing his ability in the field and the batter’s box. Ivan was the 1999 AL MVP. He currently has 293 home runs and 1,214 RBI’s. Pudge will also have over 2,600 hits by this end of this season.
I will now end every blog I write with a Chuck Norris joke, here it is…
Chuck Norris CAN believe it’s not butter.
Well, there it is, the greatest catchers ever and a Chuck Norris joke. What more could you ask for?