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December 2011

There were 171 career catchers in the decade of the 1930s on 16 different teams. The A.L. had 8 teams (Boston Red Sox, Chicago White Sox, Cleveland Indians, Detroit Tigers, New York Yankees, Philadelphia Athletics, St. Louis Browns, and the Washington Senators). The N.L. had 8 teams (Brooklyn Dodgers, Boston Braves, Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, New York Giants, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, and the St. Louis Cardinals).

Besides the 171 career catchers in the decade there were 10 "other position" players who caught a total of 296 games.

The longest tenure among the 171 catchers was by Bill Dickey (NYA) and Gabby Hartnett (CHN) with ten years each on the same team. The 171 catchers caught 27,945 games; The Top 25 Catchers of the 1930s (number of games caught during the decade) are presented below along with their teams and the number of games caught for each team:

[Click On 1930 CATCHERS to see more about these Top 25 1930 Backstops and who did what and who ranks Number One.]

Catcher GC Teams & Games Caught
CHARLIE BERRY 518 PHA 168, BOS 197, CHA 153
MICKEY COCHRANE 815 PHA 512, DET 303
HARRY DANNING 438 NYG 438
SPUD DAVIS 958 PHI 610, SLN 278, CIN 70
GENE DESAUTELS 374 BOS 275, DET 99
BILL DICKEY 1179 NYA 1179
RICK FERRELL 1162 BOS 514, SLA 350, WAS 298
EARL GRACE 530 PIT 399, PHI 129, CHN 2
FRANK GRUBE 355 CHA 297, SLA 58
GABBY HARTNETT 1123 CHN 1123
FRANKIE HAYES 495 PHA 495
RAY HAYWORTH 647 DET 621, BRO 21, NYG 5
ROLLIE HEMSLEY 902 SLA 490, CLE 164, PIT 107, CHN 100, CIN 41
SHANTY HOGAN 626 NYG 345, BSN 241, WAS 40
ERNIE LOMBARDI 886 CIN 836, BRO 50
AL LOPEZ 1172 BRO 743, BSN 429
GUS MANCUSO 928 NYG 653, SLN 199, CHN 76
TOM PADDEN 361 PIT 361
BABE PHELPS 410 BRO 390, CHN 20
FRANKIE PYTLAK 540 CLE 540
LUKE SEWELL 891 CHA 421, CLE 279, WAS 191
ROY SPENCER 487 WAS 336, CLE 76, BRO 61, NYG 14
AL SPOHRER 572 BSN 572
AL TODD 631 PIT 330, PHI 228, BRO 73
JIMMIE WILSON 633 SLN 391, PHI 241, CIN 1

A Few Tidbits About the Catchers of the 1930s

  • Buck Ewing the first catcher ever inducted into the Hall Of Fame in 1939 by the Veterans Committee.
  • Mickey Cochrane (DET)was selected as the American League Most Valuable Player (MVP) in 1934.
  • Gabby Hartnett (CHN)was selected as the National League Most Valuable Player (MVP) in 1935.
  • Ernie Lombardi (CIN)was selected as the National League Most Valuable Player (MVP) in 1938.
  • Ernie Lombardi (CIN) won the National League Batting Championship in 1938 with a .342 average.
  • Gabby Hartnett (CHN) was selected the most times (6) for the N.L. All Star Game {first played in 1933}.
  • Bill Dickey (NYA) was selected the most times (6) for the A.L. All Star Game {first played in 1933}.
  • Bill Dickey had the most homeruns for a catcher in the decade with 168.
  • Bill Dickey had the most triples for a catcher in the decade with 56
  • Bill Dickey had the most RBIs for a catcher in the decade with 937
  • Mickey Cochrane had the highest catcher Batting Average in the decade with .323
  • Bill Dickey caught the most games: 1,179
  • Rollie Hemsley caught for the most teams (5 - SLA, CHN, CLE, PIT, CIN) tied with
    Muddy Ruel (5 - DET, WAS, SLA, CHA, BOS) and
    Merv Shea (5 - CHA, DET, SLA, BRO, BOS).
  • Three catchers had .300-.400-.500 seasons (BAVG, OBP, SLG) during the 1930s decade (a Sabermetric Triple Crown) a total of ten times: Mickey Cochrane (3 - 1930, 31, 33); Gabby Hartnett (3 - 1930, 35, 37); and Bill Dickey (4 - 1936-1939).

November 2011

There were 185 career catchers in the decade of the 1940s on 16 different teams. The A.L. had 8 teams (Boston Red Sox, Chicago White Sox, Cleveland Indians, Detroit Tigers, New York Yankees, Philadelphia Athletics, St. Louis Browns, and the Washington Senators). The N.L. had 8 teams (Brooklyn Dodgers, Boston Braves, Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, New York Giants, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, and the St. Louis Cardinals).

Besides the 185 career catchers in the decade there were 14 "other position" players who caught a total of 286 games.

The longest tenure among the 185 catchers was by Phil Masi (BSN) with ten years on the same team. The 185 catchers caught 28,658 games; The Top 25 Catchers of the 1940s (number of games caught during the decade) are presented below along with their teams and the number of games caught for each team:

[Click On 1940 CATCHERS to see more about these Top 25 1940 Backstops and who did what and who ranks Number One.]

Catcher GC Teams & Games Caught
WALKER COOPER 798 SLN 397, NYG 324, CIN 77
JAKE EARLY 670 WAS 585, SLA 85
AL EVANS 543 WAS 543
RICK FERRELL 599 WAS 336, SLA 263
FRANKIE HAYES 816 PHA 464, CLE 169, SLA 127, CHA 52, BOS 4
JIM HEGAN 596 CLE 596
ROLLIE HEMSLEY 451 NYA 157, CLE 213, PHI 47, CIN 34
CLYDE KLUTTZ 457 BSN 189, PIT 160, NYG 59, SLN 49
RAY LAMANNO 400 CIN 400
MICKEY LIVINGSTON 479 PHI 233, CHN 162, NYG 62, BSN 22
ERNIE LOMBARDI 658 NYG 356, CIN 217, BSN 85
AL LOPEZ 743 PIT 650, CLE 57, BSN 36
GUS MANCUSO 421 NYG 187, SLN 108, PHI 70, BRO 56
PHIL MASI 842 BSN 798, PIT 44
CLYDE MCCULLOUGH 598 CHN 508, PIT 90
RAY MUELLER 551 CIN 491, NYG 56, PIT 4
MICKEY OWEN 682 BRO 510, SLN 113, CHN 59
DEL RICE 415 SLN 415
AARON ROBINSON 414 NYA 214, DET 108, CHA 92
BUDDY ROSAR 818 PHA 425, CLE 212, NYA 181
ANDY SEMINICK 550 PHI 550
BOB SWIFT 841 DET 490, SLA 214, PHA 137
BIRDIE TEBBETTS 742 DET 409, BOS 333
MIKE TRESH 890 CHA 852, CLE 38
HAL WAGNER 590 PHA 264, BOS 201, DET 123, PHI 2

A Few Tidbits About the Catchers of the 1940s

  • Roger Bresnahan inducted into the Hall Of Fame in 1945.
  • Mickey Cochrane inducted into the Hall Of Fame in 1947.
  • Walker Cooper (SLN & NYG) was selected the most times (7) for the N.L. All Star Game.
  • 3 catchers (Bill Dickey, Frankie Hayes & Buddy Rosar) were selected the most times (5) for the A.L. All Star Game.
  • Walker Cooper had the most homeruns for a catcher in the decade with 109.
  • Walker Cooper had the most triples for a catcher in the decade with 30
  • Walker Cooper had the most RBIs for a catcher in the decade with 546
  • Ernie Lombardi had the highest catcher Batting Average in the decade with .294
  • Mike Tresh caught the most games: 890
  • Frankie Hayes caught for the most teams (5 - PHA, CLE, SLA, CHA, BOS)
  • In 1941 Mickey Owen dropped the third strike that blew the World Series for the Dodgers.
  • Ernie Lombardi (Bos) won his 2nd National League Batting Title in 1942 with a .330 average.
  • On October 2, 1947 the first pinch-hit home run in World Series history was slugged by Yogi Berra for the Yankees.
  • Walker Cooper had the most RBIs in a single game for a catcher with 10 on 7/6/1949

October 2011

There were 182 career catchers in the decade of the 1970s on 27 different teams (26 actual clubs). The A.L. had 15 different teams (including the Washington Senators moving to Texas as the Rangers and the addition of 2 new expansion teams in 1977: Toronto Blue Jays and Seattle Mariners). The N.L. had 12 different teams.

Besides the 182 career catchers in the decade there were 49 "other position" players who caught a total of 1,992 games, the most being by the 5 "career" Designated Hitters (DH) who caught in 871 games with Brian Downing catching 622 of them.

The longest tenure among the 182 catchers was by Johnny Bench (CIN) with ten years on the same team. The 182 catchers caught in 43,640 games; The Top 25 Catchers of the 1970s (number of games caught during the decade) are presented below along with their teams and the number of games caught for each team:

[Click On 1970 CATCHERS to see more about these Top 25 1970 Backstops and who did what and who ranks Number One.]

Catcher GC Teams & Games Caught
JOHNNY BENCH 1297 CIN 1297
BOB BOONE 882 PHI 882
GARY CARTER 568 MON 568
DAVE DUNCAN 696 OAK 288, CLE 220, BAL 188
DUFFY DYER 575 NYM 306, PIT 242, MON 27
ANDY ETCHEBARREN 551 BAL 334, CAL 213, MIL 4
JOE FERGUSON 651 LAN 430, HOU 173, SLN 48
CARLTON FISK 874 BOS 874
RAY FOSSE 844 CLE 532, OAK 291, MIL 13, SEA 8
BILL FREEHAN 698 DET 698
JERRY GROTE 763 NYM 715, LAN 48
ED HERRMANN 723 CHA 518, HOU 142, CAL 27, NYA 24, MON 12
FRED KENDALL 772 SDN 665, CLE 102, BOS 5
MILT MAY 642 HOU 218, DET 216, PIT 143, CHA 65
GEORGE MITTERWALD 720 MIN 420, CHN 300
THURMAN MUNSON 1252 NYA 1252
DARRELL PORTER 893 MIL 481, KCA 411
DAVE RADER 737 SFN 560, CHN 114, SLN 38, PHI 25
ELLIE RODRIGUEZ 305 MIL 305, CAL 227, KCA 75, LAN 33
MANNY SANGUILLEN 973 PIT 896, OAK 77
TED SIMMONS 1304 SLN 1304
JIM SUNDBERG 874 TEX 874
GENE TENACE 697 OAK 433, SDN 264
BUTCH WYNEGAR 556 MIN 556
STEVE YEAGER 745 LAN 745

A Few Tidbits About the Catchers of the 1970s

  • Yogi Berra inducted into the Hall Of Fame in 1972.
  • Josh Gibson inducted into the Hall Of Fame in 1972.
  • Johnny Bench (CIN) won two N.L. Most Valuable Player Awards in 1970 & 1972.
  • Thurman Munson (NYA) won the A.L. Most Valuable Player Award in 1976.
  • Joe Torre (SLN) won the N.L. Most Valuable Player Award in 1971, but had converted from catcher to 3rd baseman in 1971.
  • Johnny Bench (CIN) won 8 N.L. Gold Glove Awards (1970-77).
  • Jim Sundberg (TEX) won 4 A.L. Gold Glove Awards (1976-79).
  • Johnny Bench (CIN) was selected the most times (10) for the N.L. All Star Game.
  • Thurman Munson (NYA) was selected the most times (7) for the A.L. All Star Game.
  • Thurman Munson (NYA) was selected as the BBWAA Rookie Of The Year in 1970.
  • Earl Williams (ATL) was selected as the BBWAA Rookie Of The Year in 1971.
  • Carlton Fisk (BOS) was selected as the BBWAA Rookie Of The Year in 1972.
  • Gary Carter (MON) was selected as the Sporting News Rookie Of The Year in 1975.
  • Johnny Bench had the most homeruns for a catcher in the decade with 290.
  • Manny Sanguillen had the most triples for a catcher in the decade with 51
  • Johnny Bench had the most RBIs for a catcher in the decade with 1,013
  • Ted Simmons had the highest catcher Batting Average in the decade with .297
  • Ted Simmons caught the most games: 1,304
  • Jerry Moses, Bill Sadakis & Bob Stinson each caught for the most teams (6)

September 2011

There were 150 catchers in the decade of the 1950s on 21 different teams (16 actual clubs). The A.L. had 10 different teams (including St. Louis Browns moving to Baltimore as the Orioles and Philadelphia Athletics moving to Kansas City). The N.L. had 11 different teams (including the Brooklyn Dodgers moving to Los Angeles, the New York Giants moving to San Francisco, and The Boston Braves moving to Milwaukee).

The longest tenure among the 150 catchers was by Yogi Berra (NYA) with ten years on the same team. The 150 catchers caught in 28,657 games; The Top 25 Catchers of the 1950s (number of games caught during the decade) are presented below along with their teams and the number of games caught for each team:

[Click On 1950 CATCHERS to see more about these Top 25 1950 Backstops.]

Catcher GC Teams & Games Caught
JOE ASTROTH 347 PHA 347, KC1 108
ED BAILEY 511 CIN 511
YOGI BERRA 1316 NYA 1316
SMOKY BURGESS 265 PHI 296, CIN 265, PIT 101, CHN 64
ROY CAMPANELLA 978 BRO 978
WALKER COOPER 267 BSN 267, CHN 79, SLN 29, ML1 35, CIN 13, PIT 2
CLINT COURTNEY 383 WS1 383, SLA 216, BAL 111, CHA 17, NYA 1
DEL CRANDALL 856 ML1 856, BSN 75
ED FITZGERALD 388 WS1 388, PIT 66, CLE 45
JOE GINSBERG 242 DET 242, BAL 175, KC1 57, CLE 40
JIM HEGAN 895 CLE 895, PHI 50, DET 45, SFN 21
FRANK HOUSE 408 DET 408, KC1 150
RAY KATT 325 NY1 325, SLN 75
HOBIE LANDRITH 138 CIN 138, SLN 112, SFN 109, CHN 99
SHERM LOLLAR 922 CHA 922, SLA 194
STAN LOPATA 618 PHI 618, ML1 10
CLYDE MCCULLOUGH 248 PIT 248, CHN 143
LES MOSS 182 SLA 182, CHA 120, BOS 69, BAL 55
DEL RICE 602 SLN 602, ML1 182
ANDY SEMINICK 365 PHI 365, CIN 298
HAL SMITH 196 BAL 196, KC1 193
GUS TRIANDOS 502 BAL 502, NYA 6
WES WESTRUM 775 NY1 775
SAMMY WHITE 967 BOS 967
RED WILSON 428 DET 428, CHA 77

A Few Tidbits About the Catchers of the 1950s

  • Bill Dickey inducted into the Hall Of Fame in 1954.
  • Gabby Hartnett inducted into the Hall Of Fame in 1955.
  • Ray Schalk inducted into the Hall Of Fame in 1955.
  • Yogi Berra (NYA) won three A.L. Most Valuable Player Awards in 1951, 1954 & 1955.
  • Roy Campanella (BRO) won three N.L. Most Valuable Player Awards in 1951, 1953 & 1955.
  • Del Crandall (MIL) won all 2 N.L. Gold Glove Awards (this award began in 1958)
  • Sherm Lollar (CHA) won all 3 A.L. Gold Glove Awards (this award began in 1957)
  • Yogi Berra (NYA) was selected the most times (10) for the A.L. All Star Game.
  • Roy Campanella (BRO) was selected the most times (7) for the N.L. All Star Game.
  • Yogi Berra (NYA) had the most homeruns for a catcher in the decade with 256
  • Yogi Berra (NYA) had the most triples for a catcher in the decade with 33
  • Yogi Berra (NYA) had the most RBIs for a catcher in the decade with 997
  • Smokey Burgess (PIT) had the highest catcher Batting Average in the decade with .298
  • Yogi Berra caught the most games: 1,316
  • Walker Cooper caught for the most teams (7)

August 2011

There were 177 catchers in the decade of the 1960s on 27 different teams. The A.L. had 14 different teams (including 2 Washingtons who became MIN & TEX, 1-year Seattle Pilots, and 2 Kansas Citys one going to Oakland and the other staying on as the Royals). The N.L. had 13 different teams: the Milwaukee Braves moving to Atlanta during the 1960s.

The longest tenure among the 177 catchers was shared by Clay Dalrymple (PHI) and Tim McCarver (SLN) with nine years each on the same team. The 177 catchers caught in 36,753 games; The Top 25 Catchers of the 1960s (number of games caught during the decade) are presented below along with their teams and the number of games caught for each team:

[Click On 1960 CATCHERS to see more about these Top 25 1960 Backstops.]

Catcher GC Teams & Games Caught
JOE AZCUE 745 CLE 561, CAL 80, KCA 71, BOS 19, CIN 14
ED BAILEY 553 SF 278, CIN 141, MLN 80, CHN 54
JOHN BATEMAN 592 HOU 526, MON 66
EARL BATTEY 967 MIN 831, WAS(1) 136
DICK BROWN 471 BAL 234, DET 223, CHA 14
PAUL CASANOVA 474 WAS(2) 474
DEL CRANDALL 485 MLN 311, SF 65, PIT 60, CLE 49
CLAY DALRYMPLE 974 PHI 944, BAL 30
JOHNNY EDWARDS 936 CIN 731, HOU 151, SLN 54
BILL FREEHAN 883 DET 883
JERRY GROTE 562 NYM 461, HOU 101
TOM HALLER 990 SF 719, LAN 271
ELSTON HOWARD 961 NYA 852, BOS 109
RANDY HUNDLEY 620 CHN 612, SF 8
J. C. MARTIN 596 CHA 495, NYM 101
TIM MCCARVER 922 SLN 922
RUSS NIXON 490 BOS 364, MIN 101, CLE 25
JIM PAGLIARONI 766 PIT 468, BOS 199, OAK 70, SEP 29
BUCK RODGERS 895 CAL-LAA 895
JOHNNY ROMANO 770 CLE 537, CHA 213, SLN 20
JOHNNY ROSEBORO 1206 LAN 978, MIN 228
BOB TILLMAN 655 BOS 496, ATL 144, NYA 15
JOE TORRE 813 MLN 476, ATL 320, SLN 17
GUS TRIANDOS 484 BAL 282, PHI 92, DET 90, HOU 20
JERRY ZIMMERMAN 481 MIN 405, CIN 76

A Few Tidbits About the Catchers of the 1960s

  • Johnny Bench (CIN) won the Rookie of the Year Award in 1968.
  • Bill Freehan (DET) won 5 Gold Glove Awards.
  • Elston Howard & Bill Freehan were selected the most times (6) for the A.L. All Star Game.
  • Joe Torre was selected the most times (5) for the N.L. All Star Game.
  • Joe Torre (MLN & ATL) had the most homeruns with 160
  • Joe Torre (MLN & ATL) had the most RBIs with 653
  • Manny Sanguillen (PIT) had the highest Batting Average of .297
  • Johnny Roseboro (LAN & MIN) caught the most games: 1,206
  • Joe Azcue caught for the most teams (5)

July 2011

Since 1876 there have been only 9 catchers who have made two Unassisted Double Plays (UDP) in their career. Many catchers have had one career UDP. No catcher has ever had two in the same game. The last catcher to have two career UDP's was Buck Rodgers who collected his with the Los Angeles/California Angels in 1965 and 1969.

Ray Schalk holds the catcher record for the most double plays (226) in a career which he amassed in 1,727 games over an 18 year span (1912-1929). Steve O'Neil is in second place with 193 and Yogi Berra is in third place with 175.

The catcher record for the Most Double Plays in a Season is held by Steve O'Neil who had 36 of them while playing for the Cleveland Indians in 1916.

Unassisted Double Plays that do not involve interference generally fall into four types: Popups, Groundouts, Strikeouts plus caught stealing of home and Two-Tag plays. From 1954-2009 there were 32 catcher UDP's. Eight were of the popup variety, four were groundouts, and fifteen were strikeouts plus caught stealing. A fourth variety is the very rare tagging out of two runners. Such notable backstops as Luke Sewell (1933), Darrell Porter (1979), Buck Martinez (1985), Carlton Fisk (1985), Darren Fletcher (1992), and Mike DeFelice (2000) accomplished this feat. Buck Martinez (TOR-A) tagged out Phil Bradley in a home plate collision that broke Martinez' leg. While sitting on the ground in agony, Buck tagged out Gorman Thomas who tried to score on the play.

Gregg Zaun (HOU-N) in 2002 had a strikeout/caught stealing UDP with a twist. After the K, the runner tried to steal second and Zaun ran out to second base and tagged him to finish the UDP.

Sometimes the catcher UDP happens because the batter didn't run. That happened to Jorge Posada in 2000 when Luis Alicea bunted with the bases loaded in front of the plate. Posada picked up the ball and stepped on the plate to force out the runner from third then proceeded to tag Alicea for the UDP.

May & June 2011

WANTED

A perfect Major League catcher to inspire future catchers to develop and hone their skills and to serve as the "model backstop for all time. This ideal masked man would have:

  • The home run power of Mike Piazza and his career 427 four-baggers & great seasons like Javy Lopez' 2003 year with 42 HR's.

  • The batting eye and bat control of Mickey Cochrane and his career batting average of .320 & great years like Joe Mauer's 2009 season with a BAVG of .365.

  • The discipline and ability to take advantage of every plate appearance like Mickey Cochrane and his career on-base percentage (OBP) of .419 & many splendid seasons like Mickey Cochrane's 1933 year with .459.

  • The concentration in key situations to bring home on-base team mates of Yogi Berra and his career RBI total of 1,430 & seasons like Johnny Bench's 1970 year with 148.

  • The accuracy, agility and arm strength of Roy Campanella and his career catching base stealers percentage of .572 & many phenomenal years like Ray Schalk's 1925 achievement of .681.

  • The durability of Ivan Rodriguez and his career games caught total 2,390 (and counting) & seasons like Randy Hundley's 1968 with 160 games.

  • The toughness and physical conditioning of Jason Kendall and his career percentage of games caught (.834) to his team's games played & like Frankie Hayes' 1944 season with 155 out of 155.

  • The knowledge and awareness of his pitchers and their opponents of Yogi Berra that enabled him to guide his battery mates to 122 shutouts and 3 no-hitters.

  • The fan appeal and talent of Ivan Rodriguez and his 14 elections to the All-Star Game. & Joe Mauer's 2009 votes of 4,335,739, the most ever by a catcher.

  • the versatility and pure guts of Roger Bresnahan to play in 1,446 games with injuries to every part of his body with very crude equipment and yet have the ability to play all 9 positions throughout his career.

April 2011

Shown below are the Number 1 catchers for each of the thirty Major League teams broken down by league and division. The ** and bold type indicates the ALL-DIVISION CATCHER for the six divisions, based on the projected performance and their historical stats. You'll note that in all six cases these backstops have spent their entire career with their current team.

There are four catchers who will be having a debut with their 2011 teams (first season with this team - Tm Yrs = 0). The Career Games Caught (GC) leader is Ivan Rodriguez with 2,390 in his 20 year career. The average among these 30 backstops for: Games Caught is 572; career seasons is 6.3; and years with current team is 2.8.

  Catcher   GC Yrs Tm Yrs
A.L. EAST          
Baltimore Orioles Matt Wieters ** 212 2 2
Boston Red Sox Jarrod Saltalamacchia   191 4 1
New York Yankees Russell Martin   641 5 0
Tampa Bay Rays John Jaso   99 2 2
Toronto Blue Jays J.P. Arencibia   8 1 1
A.L. CENTRAL          
Chicago White Sox A.J. Pierzynski   1313 13 6
Cleveland Indians Carlos Santana   40 1 1
Detroit Tigers Alex Avila   123 2 2
Kansas City Royals  đ Jason Kendall   2025 15 1
Minnesota Twins Joe Mauer ** 719 7 7
A.L. WEST          
Los Angeles Angels Jeff Mathis   320 6 6
Oakland Athletics Kurt Suzuki ** 465 4 4
Seattle Mariners Miguel Olivo   820 9 0
Texas Rangers Yorvit Torrealba   647 10 0
N.L. EAST          
Atlanta Braves Brian McCann ** 714 6 6
Florida Marlins John Buck   674 7 0
New York Mets Josh Thole   77 2 2
Philadelphia Phillies Carlos Ruiz   470 5 5
Washington Nationals Ivan Rodriguez   2390 20 1
N.L. CENTRAL          
Chicago Cubs Geovani Soto   359 5 5
Cincinnati Reds Ramon Hernandez   1308 12 2
Houston Astros Humberto Quintero   289 8 6
Milwaukee Brewers  đ Jonathan Lucroy   75 1 1
Pittsburgh Pirates Chris Snyder   577 7 1
St. Louis Cardinals Yadier Molina ** 791 7 7
N.L. WEST          
Arizona Diamondbacks Miguel Montero   321 5 5
Colorado Rockies Chris Ianetta   322 5 5
Los Angeles Dodgers Rod Barajas   878 12 1
San Diego Padres Nick Hundley   209 3 3
San Francisco Giants Buster Posey ** 83 2 2
           
** ALL-DIVISION CATCHER  
đ Expected to start the season on the D.L.  

March 2011

One of the most exciting plays is an Attempted Steal of Home by the runner from third base. Everyone, from the fans in the stands to the players on the field and on the bench, watch as if viewing the action in slow motion to see if the catcher will tag or not tag the base thief charging for home. The below two lists identifies those catchers who have had success in catching the runner (Caught Stealing Home - CSH) and those who have been bitten (Steal of Home - SOH). Also shown are double steals and triple steals (other base runners stealing at the same time as the runner from 3rd tries for home). Note: a CSH% of 75% or higher is very good.

Steals of Home & Caught Stealing Home
(Catcher Career Total) 1950-2010
(Ordered by CSH Percent – 15 CSH minimum)

Catcher

SOH

Dbl SB

Tpl SB

CSH

CSH%

Johnny Bench ***

1

0

0

20

0.9524

Jody Davis

2

2

0

24

0.9231

Tony Pena

7

6

0

60

0.8955

Bo Diaz

3

2

0

21

0.8750

Rick Dempsey

4

3

0

27

0.8710

Ray Fosse

3

2

0

20

0.8696

Sherm Lollar

3

2

0

19

0.8636

Johnny Roseboro

4

1

0

24

0.8571

Jason Kendall

4

2

0

22

0.8462

Mike Scioscia

4

4

0

22

0.8462

Darrell Porter

6

4

1

31

0.8378

Johnny Edwards

5

3

1

25

0.8333

Bob Boone

6

4

0

27

0.8182

Steve Yeager

4

3

0

18

0.8182

Butch Wynegar

5

5

0

21

0.8077

John Bateman

4

2

0

16

0.8000

Roy Campanella ***

4

3

0

16

0.8000

Brent Mayne

4

3

0

16

0.8000

Ellie Rodriguez

4

3

0

16

0.8000

Benito Santiago

6

6

0

23

0.7931

John Stearns

5

4

0

19

0.7917

Lance Parrish

7

3

1

26

0.7879

Terry Kennedy

5

2

0

18

0.7826

Gary Carter ***

10

7

0

35

0.7778

Jim Sundberg

8

7

0

28

0.7778

Ted Simmons

8

6

0

24

0.7500

Thurman Munson

6

5

0

18

0.7500

Javy Lopez

5

4

0

15

0.7500


Steals of Home & Caught Stealing Home
(Catcher Career Total) 1950-2010
(Ordered by Steals Of Home - 7 SOH Minimum)

Catcher

SOH

Dbl SB

Tpl SB

CSH

CSH%

Carlton Fisk ***

17

15

0

30

0.6383

Tom Haller

14

5

1

15

0.5172

Bill Freehan

11

8

0

21

0.6563

Glenn Borgmann

11

8

1

8

0.4211

Gary Carter

10

7

0

35

0.7778

Ivan Rodriguez

10

7

0

22

0.6875

John Flaherty

9

6

0

14

0.6087

Jim Sundberg

8

7

0

28

0.7778

Ted Simmons

8

6

0

24

0.7500

Clay Dalrymple

8

4

1

19

0.7037

Jerry Grote

8

6

0

19

0.7037

Alan Ashby

8

6

0

18

0.6923

Charles Johnson

8

7

0

15

0.6522

Bob Tillman

8

3

0

10

0.5556

Randy Hundley

8

6

0

9

0.5294

Del Crandall

8

6

0

8

0.5000

Todd Hundley

8

7

0

8

0.5000

Terry Steinbach

8

8

0

8

0.5000

Gus Triandos

8

6

0

5

0.3846

Tony Pena

7

6

0

60

0.8955

Lance Parrish

7

3

1

26

0.7879

Brad Ausmus

7

6

0

19

0.7308

Clint Courtney

7

4

0

17

0.7083

Gene Tenace

7

3

1

15

0.6818

Jeff Reed

7

7

0

15

0.6818

Ernie Whitt

7

5

0

15

0.6818

Dave Duncan

7

4

0

14

0.6667

Ron Hassey

7

6

0

13

0.6500

Mike Piazza

7

5

0

11

0.6111

Yogi Berra ***

7

3

1

10

0.5882

Pat Borders

7

5

0

10

0.5882

Jorge Posada

7

3

0

9

0.5625

Wes Westrum

7

2

0

9

0.5625

Jeff Torborg

7

5

0

5

0.4167

*** Hall-Of-Fame Catchers

February 2011

Renown baseball statistician, Bill James, devised a Hall-Of-Fame monitoring system composed of two parts (Win Shares and HOF Points). The two systems generate points, which are added together then divided by two. Basically, if the player has 100 points or more (in the HOF Monitor) he is a Hall Of Famer. The below table lists the Top 50 catchers and their career Win Shares (WS) and the HOF Points generated by these two systems and their average:

Catchers in Red have already been enshrined in the Hall-of-Fame and those with a Blue background are currently active backstops.

NickName LastName G WS WSPt HP Tot HofMon
YOGI BERRA 2120 375 132 160 146
JOHNNY BENCH 2158 356 123 127 125
MIKE PIAZZA 1912 325 109 130 120
IVAN RODRIGUEZ 2499 332 95 141 118
BILL DICKEY 1789 314 99 105 102
JOE TORRE 2209 315 101 91 96
GARY CARTER 2296 337 112 79 96
CARLTON FISK 2499 368 112 69 90
TED SIMMONS 2456 315 100 68 84
GABBY HARTNETT 1990 325 100 66 83
MICKEY COCHRANE 1482 275 97 68 82
ROY CAMPANELLA 1215 207 71 72 71
JORGE POSADA 1714 255 79 63 71
THURMAN MUNSON 1423 206 64 71 67
BILL FREEHAN 1774 267 84 47 65
ERNIE LOMBARDI 1853 218 44 78 61
LANCE PARRISH 1988 248 63 57 60
JOE MAUER 836 168 65 52 58
ELSTON HOWARD 1605 203 56 58 57
JASON KENDALL 2085 244 64 48 56
GENE TENACE 1555 231 68 35 52
WALLY SCHANG 1842 245 55 48 51
JIM SUNDBERG 1962 200 47 41 44
BOB BOONE 2264 210 39 48 43
DARRELL PORTER 1782 222 55 32 43
JAVY LOPEZ 1503 194 52 34 43
BUCK EWING 1315 241 61 24 43
TONY PENA 1988 175 32 50 41
TIM MCCARVER 1909 204 45 36 41
WALKER COOPER 1473 173 35 44 39
BENITO SANTIAGO 1978 190 33 44 38
SMOKY BURGESS 1691 172 32 43 37
SHERM LOLLAR 1752 209 48 22 35
ROGER BRESNAHAN 1446 231 60 10 35
RICK FERRELL 1884 206 33 36 35
JOHNNY ROSEBORO 1585 181 41 26 34
DEL CRANDALL 1573 179 41 24 33
VICTOR MARTINEZ 1004 138 36 29 32
DARREN DAULTON 1161 159 41 22 32
MANNY SANGUILLEN 1448 157 40 22 31
MIKE SCIOSCIA 1441 168 39 19 29
RAY SCHALK 1762 191 43 15 29
TERRY STEINBACH 1546 173 36 21 29
MICKEY TETTLETON 1485 184 44 12 28
BRAD AUSMUS 1971 166 25 30 28
TOM HALLER 1294 179 49 6 28
TERRY KENNEDY 1491 150 35 21 28
EARL BATTEY 1141 142 37 18 27
AL LOPEZ 1950 173 23 31 27
BOB O'FARRELL 1492 161 31 18 24
JASON VARITEK 1478 136 23 25 24
BRIAN McCANN 754 100 27 21 24
PAUL LODUCA 1082 133 31 17 24
A.J. PIERZYNSKI 1365 134 27 20 23


January 2011
 

The 2010 season had a number of catcher noteworthy events/accomplishments in both batting and fielding. Two catchers (Joe Mauer (Twins) and Miguel Olivo (Rockies) collected five hits in one major league game. Joe Mauer did it twice. Their stats for these games were:

Player
Joe Mauer
Miguel Olivo
Joe Mauer
Date
April 24
May 12 ***
July 26
AB
6
5
5
H
5
5
5
2B
1
1
1
HR
0
1
1
RBI
2
1
7

Eight catchers (all National Leaguers) had Walk-Off Homers to lead their teams to victories:

Catcher, Team Date Opposing Pitcher, Team
Carlos Ruiz, PhilliesMay 4Blake Hawksworth, Cardinals
Rod Barajas, MetsMay 7Sergio Romo, Giants
Henry Blanco, MetsMay 8Guillermo Mota, Giants
Miguel Olivo, RockiesMay 12 ***Chad Durbin, Phillies
Chris Iannetta, Rockies July 7Evan MacLane, Cardinals
Brian Schneider, Phillies July 8Jordan Smith, Reds
Brian McCann, BravesAugust 29Leo Nunez, Marlins
Josh Thole, MetsOctober 1Tyler Clippard, Nationals

Three catchers Batted over .320 with runners in scoring position (RISP):

Catcher TeamBAVG
Ramon Hernandez, Reds
Joe Mauer, Twins
Ivan Rodriguez, Nationals
.342
.328
.321

Two catchers Batted over .300 for the Season:

Catcher TeamBAVG
Joe Mauer, Twins
Victor Martinez, Red Sox
.327
.302

League Leaders in the Five Catcher Defensive Categories were:

American League
Category Catcher Team#
Assists
Putouts
Caught Stealing Pct.
Double Plays
Fielding Pct.
Jason Kendall, Royals
A.J. Pierzynski, White Sox
Jose Molina, Blue Jays
Jason Kendall, Royals
Jose Mauer, Twins **
68
865
44.1
11
.996
** Gold Glove Award Winner
National League
Category Catcher Team#
Assists
Putouts
Caught Stealing Pct.
Double Plays
Fielding Pct.
Yadier Molina, Cardinals **
Brian McCann, Braves
Yadier Molina, Cardinals **
Brian McCann, Braves
Rod Barajas, Mets/Dodgers
79
972
48.5
12
.996
** Gold Glove Award Winner

December 2010

Every time a battery (pitcher & catcher) starts a game they have one goal in mind: a SHUTOUT, where the team does not allow the opponent to score a run. Sometimes a shutout results in a No Hitter, where the battery and the rest of the team not only stops an opponent from scoring a run, but they do not allow them a hit. Below is a list of catchers who have caught the MOST SHUTOUTS IN THEIR CAREER along with the number of NO HITTERS they have caught.

 
Catcher HOF-C Shutouts NoHitters
Yogi Berra HOF 173 3
Carlton Fisk HOF 149  
Ray Schalk HOF 144 3
Mike Scioscia   136 2
Jim Sundberg   130 1
Gary Carter HOF 127 1
George Gibson   124 1
Ted Simmons   122 2
Tim McCarver   121 2
Jim Hegan   121 3
Billy Sullivan Sr.   119 1
Johnny Bench HOF 118 1
Al Lopez   117  
Bob Boone   117 1
Jerry Grote   116 1
Bill Killefer   115  
Johnny Kling   115  
Bill Freehan   114  
Johnny Roseboro   112 2
Red Dooin   111 1
Sherm Lollar   110 1
Johnny Edwards   109 2
Tom Haller   107  
Alan Ashby   107 3
Thurman Munson   107  
Steve O'Neill   106 1
Del Crandall   104 3
Lance Parrish   99 2
Eddie Ainsmith   98  
Lou Criger   97 2
Steve Yeager   97 1
Gus Mancuso   97  
Rick Dempsey   94  
Del Rice   93 1
Darrell Porter   93 2
Benito Santiago   92  
Bill Bergen   89 1
Roy Campanella HOF 89 3
Wally Schang   88 1
Ernie Lombardi HOF 88 2
Bill Rariden   87 1
Walker Cooper   87 2
Elston Howard   87  
Ray Mueller   83 1
Buck Rodgers   82 1
Muddy Ruel   82  
Ossee Schreckengost   79  
Jimmy Archer   79 1
Frank Snyder   79  
Deacon McGuire   78  

November 2010

  • Buster Posey (SF-NL) was the 7th rookie in postseason history, and the 2nd rookie catcher, to collect 4 hits in a game, which he accomplished in the 2010 National League Championship Series when he went 4-for-5. The other catcher to have done this was Joe Garagiola (STL-NL) in the 1946 World Series who also went 4-for-5.

  • Benjamin "Bengie" Molina, brother of Jose & Yadier Molina, will be the recipient of a 2010 World Series Championship Ring no matter which team (Texas Rangers or San Francisco Giants) would have won the World Series. That's because Bengie played in 61 games for the Giants in 2010 and was subsequently traded to the Rangers on July 1st and played 57 games for them. Under current rules, he is eligible for both teams to receive the award.

  • Buster Posey (SF-NL) is the 5th Rookie (and the 1st Rookie Catcher) to hit a Home Run in the World Series, which he did on October 31, 2010 in the 8th inning in Game 4 at Texas to cap off a Giants win (4-0).

  • Bengie Molina (TEX-AL), newly traded from the San Francisco Giants to the Texas Rangers on July 1, 2010, hit for the cycle (single, double, triple, home run in the same game) on July 16th at Boston. He is the 15th catcher to have done so. As a part of this cycle, he hit a Grand Slam (only the 8th player to have done so in a cycle) and legged-out his sixth career Triple.

  • 2010 marks the first time ever that opposing starting catchers in a World Series, Buster Posey and Bengie Molina, were the Starting catcher and his Backup on the same team during the same (regular) season (San Francisco Giants).

October 2010

The World Series Most Valuable Player award was created in 1955. Six catchers have won the award: Gene Tenace (A's 1972), Johnny Bench (Reds 1976), Steve Yeager (Dodgers 1981), Darrell Porter (Cardin als 1982), Rick Dempsey (Orioles 1983), and Pat Borders (Blue Jays 1992).

The League Championship MVP honors was first awarded in the N.L. in 1977 and the A.L. in 1980. No catcher has ever won in the A.L. but five catchers have been honored in the N.L.: Darrell Porter (Cardinals 1982 - also the WS MVP), Javier Lopez (Braves 1996), Eddie Perez (Braves 1999), Benito Santiago (Giants 2002), and Ivan Rodriguez (Marlins 2003).

There have been 14 Catchers with two or more home runs in one World Series: Mickey Cochrane (1930), Bill Dickey (1939), Yogi Berra (1952 & 1956), Roy Campanella (1955), Gene Tenace (1972, Carlton Fisk (1975, Johnny Bench (1976), Steve Yeager (1977 & 1981), Ted Simmons (1982), Gary Carter (1986), Sandy Alomar Jr. (1997), and Mike Piazza (2000).

Four catchers have had Two-Homer Games in World Series: Yogi Berra, Yankees 1956-Gm 7; Gene Tenace, A's 1972-Gm 1; Johnny Bench, Reds 1976-Gm 4; and Gary Carter, Mets 1986-Gm 4. No catcher has had two or more home runs in one LCS Game. A.J. Pierzynski, White Sox 2005 is the only catcher to have had a two-homer Division Series Game.

Elston Howard (1955) & Gene Tenace (1972) homered in their First World Series At-Bat. Rick Cerone (1980) homered in his First LCS At-Bat. Benito Santiago (1995) and Brian McCann (2005) homered in their First Division Series At-Bat.

The Highest Catcher Career Post-Season Batting Averages were by: WS Thurman Munson .373 (Minimum 50 AB); LCS Thurman Munson .339 (Minimum 50 AB); and Div A.J. Pierzynski .368 (Minimum 25 AB).

There have been 15 catchers who hit .400 or better in a single World Series (Minimum 10 AB). They are:

Hank Gowdy 1914 Boston Braves .545
Johnny Bench 1976 Reds .533
Thurman Munson 1976 Yankees .529
Larry McLean 1913 Giants .500
Tim McCarver 1964 Cardinals .478
Elston Howard 1960 Yankees .462
Pat Borders 1992 Blue Jays .450
Bill Dickey 1932 Yankees .438
Yogi Berra 1953 Yankees .429
Yogi Berra 1955 Yankees .417
Bob Boone 1980 Phillies .412
Yadier Molina 2006 Cardinals .412
Tony Pena 1987 Cardinals .409
Mickey Cochrane 1929 A's .400
Bill Dickey 1938 Yankees .400

Four catchers have Hit A Double, Triple, and a Home Run in One World Series. They are: Hank Gowdy (Boston Braves 1914); Elston Howard (NY Yankees 1960); Tim McCarver (St. Louis Cardinals 1964); and Johnny Bench (Cincinnati Reds 1976).

June 2010

Since 1876 there have been only 9 catchers who have made two Unassisted Double Plays (UDP) in their career. Many catchers have had one career UDP. No catcher has ever had two in the same game. The last catcher to have two career UDP's was Buck Rodgers who collected his with the Los Angeles/California Angels in 1965 and 1969.

Ray Schalk holds the catcher record for the most double plays (226) in a career which he amassed in 1,727 games over an 18 year span (1912-1929). Steve O'Neil is in second place with 193 and Yogi Berra is in third place with 175.

The catcher record for the Most Double Plays in a Season is held by Steve O'Neil who had 36 of them while playing for the Cleveland Indians in 1916.

Unassisted Double Plays that do not involve interference generally fall into three types: Popups, Groundouts and Strikeouts plus caught stealing of home. From 1954-2009 there were 32 catcher UDP's. Eight were of the popup variety, four were groundouts, and twenty were strikeouts plus caught stealing. A fourth variety is the very rare tagging out of two runners. Such notable backstops as Luke Sewell (1933), Darrell Porter (1979), Buck Martinez (1985), Carlton Fisk (1985), Darren Fletcher (1992), and Mike DeFelice (2000) accomplished this feat. Buck Martinez (TOR-A) tagged out Phil Bradley in a home plate collision that broke Martinez' leg. While sitting on the ground in agony, Buck tagged out Gorman Thomas who tried to score on the play.

Gregg Zaun (HOU-N) in 2002 had a strikeout/caught stealing UDP with a twist. After the K, the runner tried to steal second and Zaun ran out to second base and tagged him to finish the UDP.

Sometimes the catcher UDP happens because the batter didn't run. That happened to Jorge Posada in 2000 when Luis Alicea bunted with the bases loaded in front of the plate. Posada picked up the ball and stepped on the plate to force out the runner from third then proceeded to tag Alicea for the UDP.


May 2010

Boomerang players are players that move from one team to another and back again in the same season. There have been about a dozen such catcher trades from 1876 to 2010. The first boomerang catcher was Ossee Schreckengost who in 1899 went from Stl-N to Cle-N and back to Stl-N.

Nig Clarke holds the catcher record for the Quickest Boomerang when, within a matter of 10 days in 1905, he went from Cle-A to Det-A and back to Cle-A.

Single position player for same position player trades are not that common. There have been less than 50 such trades involving just two catchers. The earliest trade of this type occurred on December 7, 1897 when St. Louis traded catcher Morgan Murphy to Pittsburgh for catcher Joe Sugden. [Thanks to David Ball for this bit of info.]

Spud Davis (Stl-N) was traded for catcher Jimmie Wilson (Phi-N) on May 11, 1928 then traded back to Stl-N on November 15, 1933 for Jimmie Wilson, who was then named to manage the Phillies, which he did for 9 years.

The first catcher Free Agent Signing was Buck Ewing in 1883 by the New York Giants. The first catcher to Jump Leagues was Tony Cusick on 8/23/1884 when he left the Wilmington Quicksteps (Union Association) to join the Philadelphia Phillies (National League).

The very first major league trade occurred when the St. Louis Browns traded outfielder Hugh Nicol to Cincinnati for catcher Jack Boyle and $350 on November 12, 1886

There have been 47 trades in which teams swapped their catchers and no other players. The last of these kind of trades involved Gary Bennett (PHI-N) and Todd Pratt (NY-N) on 7/23/2001.

The practice of loaning a player for an interim period goes back to the start of baseball. The first recorded instance of a catcher being loaned was in 1902 when Lew Drill (Was-A) was loaned to Baltimore (AL) for four days (7/17 to 7/21).

On November 5, 1978, Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Manny Sanguillen was involved in one of the strangest trades in history. Oakland A's manager Chuck Tanner was still under contract. To obtain the rights to hire Tanner, the Pirates traded Sanguillen and $100,000 to Oakland for their Manager Tanner.

Of the 31 players who played in 4 different Major Leagues, four of them were catchers: Jim Brennan (UA, NL, AA, PL), Duke Farrell (NL, PL, AA, AL), Morgan Murphy (PL, AA, NL, AL), and Pop Snyder (NA, NL, AA, PL).

There are 13 players who played for 10 or more Major League Teams and one of them was a catcher, Deacon McGuire who jointly holds the record (with Mike Morgan) who both played with twelve teams in their careers.

April 2010

Numbers are everywhere in baseball from uniforms to positions to stats. The same can be said for key dates for the 1,661 career catchers since 1871. The following are just some of the coincidental dates:

386 catcher's debut month was the same month as was his final game (ie. June 1972 and June 1985).
38 catcher's debut day was the same day as was his final game (ie. April 4 and July 4).
Only 6 of these catchers had the same month and day for their debuts and their final games (of course this excludes the 114 catchers who had just a single game for a career):

  • Joe Just 5/13/1944 & 5/13/1945
  • Jim McDonnell 9/23/1943 & 9/23/1945
  • Johnny Peacock 9/23/1937 & 9/23/1945
  • Alex Sabo 8/1/1936 & 8/1/1937
  • Carl Sawatski 9/29/1948 & 9/29/1963
  • Admiral Schlei 4/24/1904 & 4/24/1911

120 catcher's birth month was the same month as was his month of death (ie. June 1920 and June 1985).
50 catcher's birth day was the same day as was his day of death (ie. April 4 and July 4).
Only 7 of these catchers had the same month and day for their births and their deaths (ie. died on their birthdays):

  • Medric Boucher 3/12/1886 & 3/12/1974
  • Bill Delancey 11/28/1911 & 11/28/1946
  • Gabby Hartnett 12/20/1900 & 12/20 1972
  • Chico Hernandez 1/3/1916 & 1/3/1986
  • Hickey Hoffman 10/27/1856 & 10/27/1915
  • Eddie McGah 9/30/1921 & 9/30/2002
  • Abe Wolstenholme 3/4/1861 & 3/4/1916

266 catchers died in the same city as their birth. 3 of these also died on their birthday:

  • Chico Hernandez - Havana, Cuba on 1/3/1916 & 1/3/1986
  • Eddie McGah - Oakland, CA on 9/30/1921 & 9/30/2002
  • Abe Wolstenholme - Philadelphia, PA on 3/4/1861 & 3/4/1916

2 catchers had the thrill of debuting on their birthday:

  • Rene Lacheman - born 5/4/1945 & debuted 5/4/1965
  • Bruce Benedict - born 8/18/1955 & debuted 8/18/1978

March 2010

The skills of a catcher are developed over time with much practice, game experience, and study. The SKILLS & DRILLS section of this web site contains numerous tips and instructions to help you, the young catcher, develop into a backstop that everyone wants on their team. They have been created by numerous coaches and Major Leaguer catchers, some of whose articles appear on this site.

The following are just a few tidbits that you'll find on this site:

  • The Catcher should be the first one on the practice field and the last one to leave it. Good catchers are the leaders on the team and show it by example, both at practice and at games, on and off the field. [Catcher/Manager Rene Lachemann]
  • The most important aspect of framing is to frame strikes and borderline pitches. Don’t waste your or the umpire's time by trying to frame balls that are not in the zone. Simply catch the ball and return it to the pitcher and get ready for the next pitch. By framing pitches that are not strikes, you make yourself look like a bad catcher, and you may make the umpire look bad. If you make the umpire look bad, he will not be anxious to help you on a borderline pitch. [Coach Dave Weaver]
  • A catcher must always assume a bad throw to the plate. In his mind he must be ready to move in any direction to catch a thrown ball, or be ready to drop to his knees and block a poorly thrown ball to keep runners from advancing and still giving himself a chance to pick up the ball and tag out the runner. The catcher must keep the ball in front of him at all costs. [Coach Rosciam]
  • No Blaming. When things go wrong during a game, do not blame anyone. Just remember the wrong so that things can be gone over in practice so that it will not happen again. Remember, that when you point a finger at someone, you are aiming three fingers back at yourself. [Catcher/Manager Mike Scioscia]
  • Good grip. You want the trajectory of the ball to stay true and straight. The rotation which results from using a four-seam grip will consistently create this path. [Catcher Brent Mayne]
  • The exchanging of the baseball from the mitt to the throwing hand, and getting your throwing arm and mitt arm into proper throwing position as quickly as possible, is crucial to the success of throwing out base runners. [Catcher/Coach Todd Coburn]
  • The good catchers keep book on every player in the league. Collecting and filing this information is vitally important. Recalling it is a must. It's the difference between winning and losing. Start by using a small 3"x5" spiral notebook, even one with a little loop to hold a stubby pencil. [Coach Rosciam]
  • A good battery is not because of luck. If the coach says to be at practice at five, you and your pitcher(s) be there at four. Warm up and then do all of your "bullpen" exercises, over and over. When the two of you (the battery) are in sync, keep at it. Talk about what works and what doesn't work. Become one mind and it pay off in your games. [Catcher Matt Walbeck]
  • Successful catchers understand (instinctively) what pitch or pitch options they have to throw when getting a batter to a specific count during an at-bat. What you throw to “get ahead,” what to throw “when behind,” and most importantly, what to throw to “get the out.” [Coach Roy Anderson]
  • Consistently throwing out base stealers involves proper timing, quickness, pinpoint accuracy and velocity... in that order. [Catcher Brent Mayne]
  • Catchers must take the appropriate angle to back-up first base. He will need to sprint towards the warning track; getting as deep as he can so the ball will not get by him. Run to a spot that the ball will go to if missed by the first baseman. [Catcher Andy Seminick]
  • Remember, Johnny Bench had to start somewhere when he was young. He practiced and honed his skills to become one of the greatest catchers ever. He never quit practicing. He tried to improve his skills even in the last years of his Major League, Hall-of-Fame career.

February 2010

Bill James developed a statistic called Win Shares, which is essentially a method of taking a team's win total, and assigning Shares of the Wins to individual players. Each team has 3.0 Win Shares for each win, a 3-to-1 ratio being the basis of the system. This is the only system which is team-based rather than derived from individual stats. Most systems build from the performance of individuals. The Bill James' system breaks down the performance of the team.

Win Shares system DOES NOT discriminate against players on weak teams. A player who hits .300 with 30 home runs on a bad team rates exactly the same as a player who hits .300 with 30 homers on a good team. Win Share assignments from team to player are divided on the basis of "claim points." Overall 48% of Win Shares are assigned to hitters/baserunners, 35% are assigned to pitchers, and 17% are assigned to fielders.

The following tables show the Catchers with: (1) The Most Career Win Shares; (2) The Most Win Shares in a Season; (3) The Most Win Shares per 100 Games Played and (4) Most Win Shares in 2009. The first group gives advantage to catchers with very long careers and the third group identifies those with consistently good performances.

    Most Career Total Win Shares (WS)

    Catcher WS
    Yogi Berra (HOF) 375
    Carlton Fisk (HOF) 368
    Johnny Bench (HOF) 356
    Gary Carter (HOF) 337
    Ivan Rodriguez (thru 2009) 326
    Gabby Hartnett (HOF) 325
    Mike Piazza 325
    Ted Simmons 315
    Joe Torre 315
    Bill Dickey (HOF) 314
    Mickey Cochrane (HOF) 275
    Bill Freehan 267
    Lance Parrish 248
    Jorge Posada (thru 2009) 245
    Wally Schang 245

    Best Seasonal Total Win Shares (WS)

    Catcher - Year - Team WS
    Mike Piazza 1997 LA-NL 39
    Johnny Bench 1972 CIN-NL 37
    Bill Freehan 1968 DET-AL 35
    Yogi Berra 1954 NY-AL 34
    Johnny Bench 1970 CIN-NL 34
    Johnny Bench 1974 CIN-NL 34
    Carlton Fisk 1972 BOS-AL 33
    Bill Dickey 1937 NY-AL 33
    Roy Campanella 1951 BRO-NL 33
    Roy Campanella 1953 BRO-NL 33
    Gary Carter 1985 NY-NL 33
    Mike Piazza 1996 LA-NL 33
    Yogi Berra 1950 NY-AL 32
    Elston Howard 1964 NY-AL 32
    Gene Tenace 1975 OAK-AL 32
    Joe Mauer 2009 MIN-AL 32

    Most Career Win Shares per 100 Games

    Catcher Games WS WS/100
    Joe Mauer 699 141 20.2
    Mickey Cochrane (HOF) 1,482 275 18.6
    Buck Ewing (HOF) 1,315 241 18.3
    Yogi Berra (HOF) 2,120 375 17.7
    Bill Dickey (HOF) 1,789 314 17.6
    Roy Campanella (HOF) 1,215 207 17.0
    Mike Piazza 1,912 325 17.0
    Johnny Bench (HOF) 2,158 356 16.5
    Gabby Hartnett (HOF) 1,990 325 16.3
    Roger Bresnahan (HOF) 1,446 231 16.0
    Jorge Posada 1,594 245 15.4
    Bill Freehan 1,774 267 15.1
    Johnny Romano 905 136 15.0

    Most 2009 Win Shares

    Catcher Team Lg G WS WS/100G
    JOE MAUER MIN AL 138 32 23.2
    BRIAN McCANN ATL NL 138 20 14.5
    YADIER MOLINA SLN NL 140 20 14.3
    JORGE POSADA NYA AL 111 19 17.1
    KURT SUZUKI OAK AL 147 17 11.6
    RUSSELL MARTIN LAN NL 143 16 11.2
    GERALD LAIRD DET AL 135 14 10.4
    VICTOR MARTINEZ CLE AL 99 13 13.1
    CARLOS RUIZ PHI NL 107 13 12.1
    JOHN BAKER FLO NL 112 13 11.6
    MIGUEL MONTERO ARI NL 128 13 10.2
    ROD BARAJAS TOR AL 125 12 9.6
    BEN MOLINA SFN NL 132 12 9.1
    RAMON HERNANDEZ CIN NL 81 11 13.6
    NICK HUNDLEY SDN NL 78 10 12.8
    CHRIS IANNETTA COL NL 93 10 10.8
    MIKE NAPOLI LAA AL 114 10 8.8
    A.J. PIERZYNSKI CHA AL 138 10 7.2

    January 2010

    With several aging backstops on the Free Agent market (ie. Ivan Rodriguez, Brad Ausmus, Gregg Zaun, Jason Varitek among others) just how long can these guys continue to catch?

    Gabby Street (technically) holds the record for the Oldest Catcher having squatted at age 48 years, 11 months and 20 days. However, his last year as a catcher (1 game) was as a player-manager for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1931. His true last year catching was in 1912 at the age of 30. Deacon McGuire is the True Oldest Active Catcher having caught his last game (#1781) at age 48 years, 6 months and 0 days. He caught for 26 seasons over 29 years (1884-1912).

      Ten Oldest Catchers

      Catcher BornLast Game YY-MM-DD
      Deacon McGuire
      Grover Hartley
      Carlton Fisk
      Jack Ryan
      Merv Shea
      Clyde Sukeforth
      Rick Dempsey
      Johnny Riddle
      Bob Boone
      Chief Zimmer
      11/18/1863
      7/2/1888
      12/26/1947
      11/12/1868
      9/5/1900
      11/30/1901
      9/13/1949
      10/3/1905
      11/19/1947
      11/23/1860
      5/18/1912
      9/30/1934
      6/22/1993
      10/4/1913
      8/19/1944
      6/7/1945
      9/27/1992
      9/11/1948
      9/27/1990
      9/27/1903
      48-06-00
      46-02-28
      45-05-26
      44-10-22
      43-11-14
      43-06-07
      43-00-14
      42-11-08
      42-10-08
      42-10-04

    Catching in the big leagues can be grueling for an old guy. In this era, we see more pitches. More pitching changes. More time taken between pitches. More opposing hitters to study. It's not a get-in, get-out business.

    When a team relies on a catcher in his mid- to late-30s to carry the load in a 162-game schedule, along with six weeks of warming up dozens of arms in spring training, and maybe the playoffs, that's some high-level squatting.

    Imagine how many times in his big-league career Ivan Rodriguez, who turned 38 in November, has bent down, stuck out his mitt and stopped a pitch from knocking him out. A conservative estimate, including spring training, postseason, pregame and between innings: 45,000 squats a year over 19 years, a total of about 800,000, excluding his stints in winter league.

    The following table lists the 20 Oldest Active Catchers and their ages at year's end. These all are well-known catchers beyond their primes, some relegated to backup roles. There's only so much squatting a guy can do and it is doubtful that any on this list will find themselves on the above Ten Oldest Catchers list.

    Catcher Born YY-MM-DD
    Brad Ausmus 4/14/1969 40-08-17
    Gregg Zaun 4/14/1971 38-08-17
    Mike Redmond 5/5/1971 38-07-26
    Jorge Posada 8/17/1971 38-04-14
    Henry Blanco 8/29/1971 38-04-02
    Jamie Burke 9/24/1971 38-03-07
    Ivan Rodriguez 11/27/1971 38-01-04
    Adam Melhuse 3/27/1972 37-09-04
    Jason Varitek 4/11/1972 37-08-20
    Paul Bako 6/20/1972 37-06-11
    Chris Coste 2/4/1973 36-10-27
    Jason Larue 3/19/1974 35-09-12
    Jason Kendall 6/26/1974 34-06-05
    Ben Molina 7/20/1974 35-05-11
    Chad Moeller 2/18/1975 34-10-13
    Jose Molina 6/3/1975 34-06-28
    Rod Barajas 9/5/1975 34-03-26
    Javier Valentin 9/19/1975 34-03-12
    Ramon Castro 3/1/1976 33-09-30
    Matt Treanor 2/3/1976 33-09-28