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December 2009
 

Perhaps the Greatest Catcher Season ever was Joe Mauer's 2009 year. Not only did he win the A.L. Batting Championship, for the third time, equaling the total number of times (3) that all catchers have won that prize. Joe also:

  • Selected for the All-Star Game as a Starter
  • Had the Highest Single Season Batting Average ever for a catcher with a .365
  • Now is in First Place for the Catchers' Career Batting Average with .327
  • Led the A.L. in On-Base Percentage (OBP) with a .444
  • Led the A.L. in Slugging Average (SLG) with a .587 average
    (The AVG, OBP & SLG constitute the
    Sabermetric Triple Crown, which Mauer attained in 2009 and is the first catcher to do so.)
  • Led the A.L. in On-Base Plus Slugging (OPS) with a total of 1.031
  • Led the A.L. in Runs Created with 138
  • Led the A.L. in Offensive Win % with .791
  • Led the A.L. in Adjausted Batting Runs with 57
  • Earned the A.L. Gold Glove Award for excellence in fielding
  • Earned the A.L. Silver Slugger Award for excellence in batting
  • Is only the 7th catcher ever to win both the Gold Glove & Silver Slugger Awards in the same year
  • Named as the A.L. Players Choice Award Winner as an Outstanding Player by the MLB Players Association
  • Honored as the A.L.'s Most Valuable Player (MVP) and only the 11th catcher to win the award. He is the first A.L. catcher in 33 years to receive the MVP

November 2009

Congratulations to the Twin's Joe Mauer for capturing his 3rd Batting (Average) Championship. This is, indeed, a spectacular accomplishment for a catcher given the day-to-day hardships and injuries of the position plus the requirement to have at least 502 plate appearances in the season [3.1 PA's for his team's scheduled games]. Add to this is the fact that only eight other players in the history of the A.L. have won 3 or more League Batting Championships. No catcher has ever won more than two titles.

What is also significant is that Joe Mauer, in his brief 6 year career has a .327 average, which puts him Number 1 BAVG Leader all time for catchers. The below two charts show the Top 15 Catcher Batting Average Leaders for both a Season and a Career.

Batting Average (Season)

(502 Minimum Plate Appearances)

Rnk
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
Year
2009
1936
1997
1912
1930
1937
1926
1894
1933
1931
1998
2006
1938
1942
2008
  Catcher & Team
Joe Mauer, Minnesota Twins (AL) *****
Bill Dickey, New York Yankees (AL) [HOF]
Mike Piazza, Los Angeles Dodgers (NL)
Chief Meyers, New York Giants (NL)
Mickey Cochrane, Phil Athletics (AL) [HOF]
Gabby Hartnett, Chicago Cubs (NL) [HOF]
Bubbles Hargrave, Cincinnati Reds (NL) *****
Wilbert Robinson, Baltimore Orioles (NL)
Spud Davis, Philadelphia Phillies (NL)
Mickey Cochrane, Phil Athletics (AL) [HOF]
Mike Piazza, New York Mets (NL)
Joe Mauer, Minnesota Twins (AL) *****
Ernie Lombardi, Cin Reds (NL) [HOF] *****
Ernie Lombardi, Boston Braves (NL) [HOF] *****
Joe Mauer, Minnesota Twins (AL) *****
AVG
.365
.362
.362
.359
.357
.354
.353
.353
.350
.349
.348
.347
.342
.330
.328

***** Indicates Won League Batting Championship
[HOF] Indicates enshrined in Baseball's Hall Of Fame


Batting Average (Career)

(5,000 Plate Appearances Minimum)

2   Mickey Cochrane (1925-1937) [HOF] .320
3   Bill Dickey (1928-1946) [HOF] .313
4   Mike Piazza (1992-2007) .308
5   Ernie Lombardi (1931-1947) [HOF] .308
6   Buck Ewing (1880-1897) [HOF] .303
8   Gabby Hartnett (1922-1941) [HOF] .297
9   Manny Sanguillen (1967-1980) .296
10   Smokey Burgess (1949-1967) .295
11   Thurman Munson (1969-1979) .292
12   Javy Lopez (1992-2006) .287
14   Walker Cooper (1940-1957) .285
15   Ted Simmons (1968-1988) .285
CURRENT PLAYERS
1   Joe Mauer (2004- ) [stats thru 2009] .327
7   Ivan Rodriguez (1991- ) [stats thru 2009] .299
12   Jason Kendall (1996- ) [stats thru 2009] .290

October 2009

Over the last several seasons, no one compares to Yadier Molina at picking off base runners. Yadier has nabbed more runners who fell asleep on the bases than any other catcher by a wide margin. Here are the leaders in catcher pickoffs since 2003. [Data and Source by John Dewan from The Fielding Bible - Volume II]

Most Catcher Pickoffs Since 2003
CatcherPickoffs
Yadier Molina
Miguel Olivo
Jose Molina
Ivan Rodriguez
Jeff Mathis
33
19
17
13
11

Based on analyzing run values, each catcher pickoff is estimated to save the team .46 runs. Over the years, Molina's 33 pickoffs are worth 15 runs. Once again, no one compares to Yadier.

Defensive Runs Saved by Catchers Since 2003
CatcherPickoffs
Yadier Molina
Jose Molina
Ivan Rodriguez
Gerald Laird
Paul Lo Duca
45
35
35
23
21

September 2009

Perhaps the best offensive skill that a catcher (or any player) can have is the ability to "get on base" rather than make an out. The Coin Of The Realm in a baseball game is the OUT. A team, on average, has 27 of them to either conserve or to squander. Each out in an inning reduces a team's chance of getting about 1/2 of a run. Conversely, getting on base by any means (hit, walk, hit-by-pitch) increases a team's chance of getting about 1/2 of a run more. This is especially so for those batters in the "bottom of the order" (7th thru 9th), which usually includes the catcher. Getting on base (versus making an out) is a measureable statistic; it is called On Base Percentage (OBP). The Average for all players is around .320. Great On-Base players have over .400 and poor players are less than .300.

25 Best Catcher On-Base-Percentage Seasons

Catcher Year Team Name Lg OBP
MICKEY COCHRANE 1933 Philadelphia Athletics AL 0.4591
MICKEY COCHRANE 1935 Detroit Tigers AL 0.4521
ROGER BRESNAHAN 1903 New York Giants NL 0.4430
JOHNNY BASSLER 1924 Detroit Tigers AL 0.4414
CHIEF MEYERS 1912 New York Giants NL 0.4413
BOB O'FARRELL 1922 Chicago Cubs NL 0.4386
WALLY SCHANG 1919 Boston Red Sox AL 0.4360
PAT COLLINS 1926 New York Yankees AL 0.4329
SMOKY BURGESS 1954 Philadelphia Phillies NL 0.4322
CARL TAYLOR 1969 Pittsburgh Pirates NL 0.4319
MIKE PIAZZA 1997 Los Angeles Dodgers NL 0.4313
JOE MAUER 2006 Minnesota Twins AL 0.4293
WALLY SCHANG 1921 New York Yankees AL 0.4280
BILL DICKEY 1936 New York Yankees AL 0.4280
MICKEY COCHRANE 1934 Detroit Tigers AL 0.4277
DICK DIETZ 1970 San Francisco Giants NL 0.4262
JORGE POSADA 2007 New York Yankees AL 0.4261
STEVE O'NEILL 1921 Cleveland Indians AL 0.4239
MICKEY COCHRANE 1930 Philadelphia Athletics AL 0.4236
GABBY HARTNETT 1937 Chicago Cubs NL 0.4236
STEVE O'NEILL 1922 Cleveland Indians AL 0.4231
MICKEY COCHRANE 1931 Philadelphia Athletics AL 0.4228
JOHNNY BASSLER 1922 Detroit Tigers AL 0.4220
MIKE PIAZZA 1996 Los Angeles Dodgers NL 0.4216
BABE PHELPS 1936 Brooklyn Dodgers NL 0.4212

25 Best Catcher On-Base-Percentage Careers

Catcher OBP
MICKEY COCHRANE 0.4192
GENE TENACE 0.3879
BILL DICKEY 0.3821
JORGE POSADA 0.3800
RICK FERRELL 0.3778
MIKE PIAZZA 0.3765
JASON KENDALL 0.3712
GABBY HARTNETT 0.3696
SPUD DAVIS 0.3689
MICKEY TETTLETON 0.3688
CHRIS HOILES 0.3661
JOE TORRE 0.3648
SMOKY BURGESS 0.3616
ROY CAMPANELLA 0.3602
ERNIE LOMBARDI 0.3582
DARREN DAULTON 0.3571
SHERM LOLLAR 0.3567
WES WESTRUM 0.3562
ED BAILEY 0.3546
JOHNNY ROMANO 0.3543
DARRELL PORTER 0.3539
MIKE LAVALLIERE 0.3510
EARL BATTEY 0.3488
BUTCH WYNEGAR 0.3484
SHANTY HOGAN 0.3482

Best Catcher On-Base-Percentage By Age

Age Catcher Year Team Lg OBP
19 BUTCH WYNEGAR 1976 MIN AL 0.3560
20 JACK O'CONNOR 1890 CL6 AA 0.3770
21 SHANTY HOGAN 1928 NY1 NL 0.4056
22 JOE MAUER 2006 MIN AL 0.4293
23 ROGER BRESNAHAN 1903 NY1 NL 0.4430
24 FRED CARROLL 1889 PIT NL 0.4855
25 BOB O'FARRELL 1922 CHN NL 0.4386
26 SMOKY BURGESS 1954 PHI NL 0.4322
27 MICKEY COCHRANE 1931 PHA AL 0.4228
28 JOHNNY BASSLER 1924 DET AL 0.4414
29 MICKEY COCHRANE 1933 PHA AL 0.4591
30 JACK CLEMENTS 1895 PHI NL 0.4460
31 CHIEF MEYERS 1912 NY1 NL 0.4413
32 RON HASSEY 1986 CHA/NYA AL 0.4056
33 MICKEY TETTLETON 1994 DET AL 0.4189
34 CHIEF ZIMMER 1895 CL4 NL 0.4174
35 MIKE STANLEY 1999 BOS AL 0.3926
36 GABBY HARTNETT 1937 CHN NL 0.4236
37 FRED JACKLITSCH 1914 BLF FL 0.3760
38 CHIEF ZIMMER 1899 CL4 NL 0.3780
39 CARLTON FISK 1987 CHA AL 0.3215
40 BOB BOONE 1988 CAL AL 0.3525
41 CARLTON FISK 1989 CHA AL 0.3556
42 CARLTON FISK 1990 CHA AL 0.3781

 

August 2009

Since 1876 there have been only 10 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 Jorge Posada who collected his with the New York Yankees in 2000.

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 1954-2008 there were 42 catcher UDP's. Eight were of the popup variety, four were groundouts, and nineteen 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 on April 17, 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.

 

July 2009

Gabby Hartnett was the very first catcher in All-Star history to come to bat, when he appeared in the first All-Star Game in 1933.

The only player to have hit a home run in his very first at-bat (Sep 12, 1986) and his first All-Star at-bat (Jul 12, 1988) was catcher Terry Steinbach (MIN-A). Both Johnny Bench and Javy Lopez hit homers in their first All-Star at bat but not their first MLB at bat.

Sandy Alomar Jr. has the highest career All-Star batting average (for catchers) with .417 (Minimum 5 games) which Sandy accomplished in six games. Sherm Lollar is in second place with a career All-Star average of .400 (nine games).

In the 1981 and 1984 All-Star games Gary Carter was named as the Most Valuable Player. He hit two homeruns in the 1981 Summer Classic.

Ivan Rodriguez was the youngest catcher to start an All-Star Game when he was voted to start in 1993. Pudge was 21 years old at the time. He had been previously named as an alternate the year before in 1992.

The Highest Career All-Star Slugging Percentage by a Catcher is held by Gary Carter with .750 which he produced in nine games (15 Total Bases in 20 At-Bats).

Johnny Bench and Gary Carter jointly hold the catcher records for Most Career Homeruns in All-Star games with 3.

The catcher record for Most Career All-Star RBI's is held by Johnny Bench with six. Gary Carter and Mike Piazza each have five. Ivan Rodriguez holds the catcher record for Most Career All-Star Hits with 11.

Yogi Berra holds the catcher record for starting the Most All-Star Games with 17 (1948-1961). He was selected for 18 All-Star games.

June 2009

JOHNNY BENCH AWARD

A selection committee reviews all offensive and defensive statistics through the first 2/3 of the season and narrows the list to 10 semi-finalists by May 15.

At this time, information is gathered on the 10 semi-finalists and compiled into a comprehensive biography of each catcher. Additional criteria include: POP time, team ERA, GPA, leadership skills, interaction with teammates, calling their own game and community involvement.

A vote from the national selection committee then narrows the list to three finalists. Another vote, during the College World Series, is taken to determine the winner. All finalists are brought to Wichita for the awards banquet at the end of June. [See History of JB Award]

2009 Johnny Bench Award Semifinalists

Buck Afenir, University of Kansas, Sr.
Billy Alvino, High Point University, Sr.
Griffin Benedict, Georgia Southern University, Sr.
Dan Burkhart, Ohio State University, Soph
Jeffrey Farnham, New Mexico State University, Sr.
Mark Fleury, University of North Carolina, Jr.
Chris Henderson, George Mason University, Jr.
Greg Lagreid, Washington State University, Sr.
Francis Larson, University of California Irvine, Jr.
Josh Phegley, Indiana University, Jr.
Tony Sanchez, Boston College, Jr.
Matt Williams, Duke University, Sr.
J.T. Wise, University of Oklahoma, Sr.

** RED Indicates a FINALIST

May 2009

There have been 137 players who have have played both ends of a battery (pitcher - catcher) at some point in their MLB careers. Many have played other fielding positions as well. In fact one could make up a complete positional team of those versatile backstops.

P - Roger Bresnahan (HOF)
C - Buck Ewing (HOF)
1B - Jimmie Foxx (HOF)
2B - Hardy Richardson
3B - Ezra Sutton
SS - Bert Campaneris
LF - Jim O'Rourke
CF - Paul Hines
RF - King Kelly (HOF)
DH - Wayne Nordhagen
PH - Cal McVey
Mgr - Cap Anson (HOF)
Coach - Cookie Rojas

There have been 41 career catchers who have pitched in a game. Amos Booth holds the record amongst these forty-one with 95 2/3 Innings Pitched in a Career and 86 Innings Pitched in a Season.

Five times there have been catchers who CAUGHT and PITCHED in the SAME GAME: Frank Bowerman (9/23/1904), Roger Bresnahan (8/3/1910), Rick Cerone (7/19/1987 and 8/9/1987), and Rick Dempsey (7/2/1991). None of the four won these games .

The catcher career pitching records for Games Pitched (15), Games Started (9), Batters Faced (449), and Complete Games (6) are all held by Amos Booth.

Jim Keenan holds the catcher career pitching ERA record with an Earned Run Average of 2.37.

April 2009

A Major League team usually carries two and sometimes three catchers on its active roster. Within each team's Minor League organization there are 10-12 catchers at various levels (AAA, AA, A, Rookie, etc.) to provide depth and for the future. Below are each team's depth at the Major League and AAA levels coming out of the 2009 Spring Training.

Full-Time National League  
Backup ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS  
Competition ◄► Chris Snyder
Up-and-Coming Miguel Montero
On the Way Down James Skelton
In the Minors m ATLANTA BRAVES  
American League   Brian McCann
BALTIMORE ORIOLES   David Ross
Gregg Zaun Clint Sammons m
Matt Wieters m CHICAGO CUBS  
Chad Moeller Geovany Soto
BOSTON RED SOX   Koyie Hill
Jason Varitek Paul Bako
George Kottaras Jake Fox m
Dusty Brown m Welington Castillo m
CHICAGO WHITE SOX   CINCINNATI REDS  
A.J. Pierzynski Ramon Hernandez
Cole Armstrong m Ryan Hanigan
Corky Miller m Wilkin Castillo
Tyler Flowers m Craig Tatum m
CLEVELAND INDIANS   COLORADO ROCKIES  
Kelly Shoppach ◄► Chris Iannetta
Victor Martinez ◄► Yorvit Torrealba
Chris Gimenez m Wilin Rosario m
Wyatt Toregas m FLORIDA MARLINS  
Carlos Santana m John Baker
DETROIT TIGERS   Ronny Paulino
Gerald Laird Mike Rabelo m
Matt Treanor Brett Hayes m
Dusty Ryan m HOUSTON ASTROS  
Alex Avila m Ivan Rodriguez
KANSAS CITY ROYALS   Humberto Quintero
Miguel Olivo ◄► J.R. Towles m
John Buck ◄► Jason Castro m
Bryan Pena Frederico Hernandez m
LOS ANGELES ANGELS   LOS ANGELES DODGERS  
Mike Napoli ◄► Russell Martin
Jeff Mathis ◄► Brad Ausmus
Ryan Budde Danny Ardoin
Bobby Wilson A.J. Ellis
Hank Conger m Lucas May m
MINNESOTA TWINS   MILWAUKEE BREWERS  
Joe Mauer Jason Kendall
Mike Redmond Mike Rivera
Drew Butera Angel Salome m
Wilson Ramos m NEW YORK METS  
Jose Morales m Brian Schneider
NEW YORK YANKEES   Ramon Castro
Jorge Posada Robinson Cancel m
Jose Molina PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES  
Francisco Cervelli m Carlos Ruiz
Chris Stewart m Chris Coste
OAKLAND ATHLETICS   Joel Naughton m
Kurt Suzuki Lou Marson m
Landon Powell PITTSBURGH PIRATES  
SEATTLE MARINERS   Ryan Doumit ◄►
Kenji Johjima Jason Jaramillo
Rob Johnson Steven Lerud m
Jeff Clement m Robinzon Diaz m
Jamie Burke m SAN DIEGO PADRES  
Adam Moore m Nick Hundley
TAMPA BAY RAYS   Henry Blanco
Dioner Navarro Jose Lobaton m
Shawn Riggans Eliezer Alfonzo m
John Jaso m SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS  
TEXAS RANGERS   Bengi Molina
Jarrod Saltalamacchia Steve Holm
Taylor Teagarden Pablo Sandoval m
Max Ramirez m Buster Posey m
TORONTO BLUE JAYS   ST. LOUIS CARDINALS  
Rod Barajas Yadier Molina
Michael Barrett m Jason LaRue
Raul Chavez m Justin Knoedler m
J.P. Arencibia m Bryan Anderson m
FREE AGENTS   WASHINGTON NATIONALS  
Paul Lo Duca Jesus Flores ◄►
Johnny Estrada Wil Nieves ◄►
Guillermo Quiroz Josh Bard m
Rob Bowen Luke Montz m
Toby Hall    

March 2009

Noted baseball statistician Bill James has determined that around 50% of a catcher's defensive job is catching would-be base stealers. That being said, the below tables represent each league's best and worst caught stealing percentages (CS%) in 2008. (Minimum 50 stolen base attempts [SB+CS]).

American League Percent CS by Catcher
Catcher SB CS CS%
Jose Molina, NYY 42 33 44.0
Dioner Navarro, TBA 45 28 38.4
Kurt Suzuki, OAK 55 32 36.8
Joe Mauer, MIN 51 29 36.3
Rod Barajas, TOR 42 22 34.4
Kenji Johjima. SEA 52 25 32.5
Ivan Rodriguez, DET/NYY 52 25 30.7
Kevin Cash, BOS 38 16 29.6
Gerald Laird, TEX 53 21 28.4
Jeff Mathis, LAA 57 20 26.0
Greg Zaun, TOR 40 14 25.9
Jason Varitek, BOS 56 16 22.2
Ramon Hernandez, BAL 99 24 19.5
A.J. Pierzynski, CHA 96 21 17.9
Mike Napoli, LAA 52 11 17.5
Toby Hall, CHA 43 9 17.3
John Buck, KCA 59 12 16.9
A.L. Average is 26.84%
National League Percent CS by Catcher
Catcher SB CS CS%
Jason Kendall, MIL 55 41 42.7
Ben Molina, SFN 68 36 34.6
Yadier Molina, STL 34 18 34.6
Brian Schneider, NYM 42 21 33.3
Chris Snyder, ARI 49 22 31.0
Paul Bako, CIN 55 22 28.6
Ryan Doumit, PIT 68 25 26.9
Geovany Soto, CHN 69 25 26.6
Jesus Flores, WAS 47 17 26.6
Yorvit Torrealba, COL 45 16 26.2
Matt Treanor, FLO 44 15 25.4
Nick Hundley, SD 42 14 25.0
Russell Martin, LAN 70 23 24.7
Carlos Ruiz, PHI 65 20 23.5
Chris Coste, PHI 44 13 22.8
Chris Iannetta, COL 41 12 22.6
Brian McCann, ATL 93 27 22.5
Josh Bard, SD 53 10 15.9
N.L. Average is 27.15%

February 2009

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

    Ten Most Career Total Win Shares (WS)

    Catcher WS
    Yogi Berra (HOF) 375
    Carlton Fisk (HOF) 368
    Johnny Bench (HOF) 356
    Gary Carter (HOF) 337
    Gabby Hartnett (HOF) 325
    Mike Piazza 325
    Ivan Rodriguez 319
    Ted Simmons 315
    Joe Torre 315
    Bill Dickey (HOF) 314

    Ten 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

    Ten Most Career Win Shares per 100 Games

    Catcher Games WS WS/100
    Mickey Cochrane (HOF) 1,482 275 18.6
    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 1,483 226 15.2
    Bill Freehan 1,774 267 15.1

January 2009

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 37 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 18 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 39-08-17
Mike Difelice 5/28/1969 39-07-03
Gregg Zaun 4/14/1971 37-08-17
Mike Redmond 5/5/1971 37-07-26
Sal Fasano 8/10/1971 37-04-21
Jorge Posada 8/17/1971 37-04-14
Henry Blanco 8/29/1971 37-04-02
Jamie Burke 9/24/1971 37-03-07
Ivan Rodriguez 11/27/1971 37-01-04
Adam Melhuse 3/27/1972 36-09-04
Jason Varitek 4/11/1972 36-08-20
Paul LoDuca 4/12/1972 36-08-19
Gary Bennett 4/17/1972 36-08-14
Paul Bako 6/20/1972 36-06-11
Raul Casanova 8/23/1972 36-04-08
Chris Coste 2/4/1973 35-10-27
Jason Larue 3/19/1974 34-09-12
Jason Kendall 6/26/1974 34-06-05
Ben Molina 7/20/1974 34-05-11
Chad Moeller 2/18/1975 33-10-13

December 2008

There have been 1,675 career Major League Catchers (plus 426 other position players who caught one or more games). There have been 8,043 Pitchers. That makes 102,344 possible battery combinations. Of the 1,675 catchers only 13 are in the Hall Of Fame (plus 3 Negro League catchers). Of the 8,043 Pitchers only 61 are in the HOF (plus 5 Negro Leaguers). The 13 HOF Catchers and 61 HOF Pitchers are scattered across many teams and many years. But, there have been 36 TRUE HOF BATTERIES:

Hall-of-Fame Catchers Catching Hall-of-Fame Pitchers

 

Catcher

Pitcher

Starts

Shutouts

Note

Johnny Bench

Tom Seaver

94

6

 

Yogi Berra

Whitey Ford

212

24

A

Roger Bresnahan

Rube Marquard

1

0

B

Roger Bresnahan

Christy Mathewson

97

15

 

Roger Bresnahan

Joe McGinnity

106

4

 

Roger Bresnahan

Vic Willis

12

1

 

Roy Campanella

Don Drysdale

25

2

C

Roy Campanella

Sandy Koufax

18

2

 

Mickey Cochrane

Lefty Grove

224

18

 

Mickey Cochrane

Waite Hoyt

11

1

 

Bill Dickey

Lefty Gomez

247

25

D

Bill Dickey

Waite Hoyt

19

0

 

Bill Dickey

Herb Pennock

62

3

 

Bill Dickey

Red Ruffing

281

24

 

Buck Ewing

John Clarkson

1

0

 

Buck Ewing

Tim Keefe

164

15

 

Buck Ewing

Amos Rusie

16

0

 

Buck Ewing

Mickey Welch

277

28

 

Rick Ferrell

Lefty Grove

64

7

 

Rick Ferrell

Herb Pennock

2

0

 

Rick Ferrell

Early Wynn

15

1

 

Carlton Fisk

Steve Carlton

2

0

 

Carlton Fisk

Dennis Eckersley

62

4

 

Carlton Fisk

Fergie Jenkins

49

3

 

Carlton Fisk

Juan Marichal

2

0

 

Carlton Fisk

Tom Seaver

49

5

 

Gabby Hartnett

Pete Alexander

64

0

 

Gabby Hartnett

Dizzy Dean

18

2

 

Gabby Hartnett

Burleigh Grimes

20

2

 

Ernie Lombardi

Carl Hubbell

6

0

 

Ernie Lombardi

Eppa Rixey

14

2

 

Ernie Lombardi

Dazzy Vance

10

0

 

Ray Schalk

Red Faber

307

22

E

Ray Schalk

Carl Hubbell

1

0

 

Ray Schalk

Ted Lyons

48

5

 

Ray Schalk

Ed Walsh Sr.

23

4

 

 

 

 

 

 

NOTES

 

A - Also caught Ford's Debut 7/1/1950 NYA @ BOS RELIEF 4.2IP No Decision

B - Also caught Marquard's Debut 9/25/1908 NYG vs CIN START 5IP Loss 7-1

C - Also caught Drysdale's Debut 4/17/1956 BRO vs PHI Opening Day RELIEF 1IP

D - Also caught Gomez's Debut 4/29/1930 NYA @ WAS RELIEF 5IP No Decision

E - Also caught Faber's Debut 4/17/1914 CHA vs CLE START 4.1IP No Decision

November 2008

Although catchers are not known for their home run power, there have been several backstops with significant home run events or catcher record-setting milestones:

First catchers to achieve 10, 20, 30 and 40 home runs in a season

  • 1889 Duke Farrell 11 HR's
  • 1925 Gabby Hartnett 24 HR's
  • 1930 Gabby Hartnett 36 HR's
  • 1953 Roy Campanella 40 HR's

Mike Piazza holds the Career Catcher Homerun Record with 396 HR's (Piazza has 427 career HR's playing any position). He broke Carlton Fisk's record of 351. Johnny Bench has 389 playing any position and 327 as a catcher.


Catchers who Hit a Home Run in their 1st Major League At Bat
Paul Gillespie CHI-N, September 11, 1942 (3 yrs in MLB, 6 career HR's) @@
Hack Miller CLE-A, April 23, 1944 (2 yrs in MLB, 1 career HR) ##
Don Leppert PIT-N, June 18, 1961 (4 yrs in MLB, 15 career HR's)
Cuno Barragan CHI-N, September 1, 1961 (3 yrs in MLB, 1 career HR) ##
Bob Tillman BOS-A, May 19, 1962 (9 yrs in MLB, 79 career HR's)
Gene Lamont DET-A, September 2, 1970 (5 yrs in MLB, 4 career HR's) **
Mike Fitzgerald NY-N, September 13, 1983 (10 yrs in MLB, 48 career HR's) **
Terry Steinbach OAK-A, September 12, 1986 (14 yrs in MLB, 162 career HR's)
Mitch Lyden CHI-N, June 16, 1993 (1 yr in MLB, 1 career HR) ##
Miguel Olivo CHI-A, September 15, 2002 (current player, 73 career HR's) **
Mike Napoli LAA-A, May 4, 2006 (current player, 46 career HR)
** Only Homerun hit that year
## Only Homerun in Career
@@ Also hit a Homerun in Last Career At-Bat


Catchers who Hit a Home Run in their Last Major League At Bat
Johnny Schulte BOS-N, September 20, 1932 @ NY-N, ?? Inning 0 Men On ?? Outs, BSN Lost 3-13 (5 yrs in MLB, 14 career HR's, 192 Games career) **
Mickey Cochrane DET-A, May 25, 1937 @ NY-A, ?? Inning 0 Men On ?? Outs, DET Lost 3-43 (13 yrs in MLB, 119 career HR's, 1482 Games career) ##
Paul Gillespie CHI-N, September 29, 1945 @ PIT-N, ?? Inning 1 Man On ?? Outs, CHN Won 4-3 (3 yrs in MLB, 6 career HR's, 89 Games career) @@
Kevin Pasley SEA-A, October 1, 1978 vs TEX-A, 7th Inning 1 Man On, 0 Outs, SEA Lost 4-9 (4 yrs in MLB, 1 career HR, 55 Games career) Ʊ
Jeff Tackett BAL-A, August 2, 1994 @ MIN-A, 7th Inning 0 Men On 2 Outs, BAL Won 10-0 (4 yrs in MLB, 7 career HR's, 136 Games career)
Todd Zeile NY-N, October 3, 2004 vs MON-N, 6th Inning 2 Men On 0 Outs, NYN Won 8-1 (17 yrs in MLB, 253 career HR's, 2158 Games career, Began career as a catcher then switched to 3B-2B. Final Game was as a catcher)

** Only Homerun hit that year
## Hall OF FAMER
@@ Also hit a Homerun in 1st Career At-Bat
Ʊ Only Homerun in career

Catchers With Homers From Both Sides of the Plate in One Game
Wally Schang PHI-A, September 8, 1916 vs. NY-A
Ted Simmons STL-N, April 17, 1975 vs. NY-N
Ted Simmons STL-N, June 11, 1979 vs. LA-N
Alan Ashby HOU-N, September 27, 1982 vs. SD-N
Mark Bailey HOU-N, September 16, 1984 vs. SD-N
Donnie Scott SEA-A, April 29, 1985 vs. MIL-A
Mickey Tettleton BAL-A, June 13, 1988 vs. DET-A
Mickey Tettleton DET-A, May 7, 1993 vs. NY-A
Chad Kreuter DET-A, September 7, 1993 vs. CAL-A
Todd Hundley NY-N, June 18, 1994 vs. FLA-N
Todd Hundley NY-N, May 18, 1996 vs. SF-N
Raul Casanova DET-A, June 6, 1996 vs. BAL-A
Todd Hundley NY-N, June 10, 1996 vs. ATL-N
Todd Hundley NY-N, May 5, 1997 vs. COL-N
Todd Hundley NY-N, July 20, 1997 vs. CIN-N
Jorge Posada NY-A, August 23, 1998 vs. TEX-A
Jorge Posada NY-A, July 10, 1999 vs. NYM-N
Jorge Posada NY-A, April 23, 2000 vs. TOR-A
Jorge Posada NY-A, June 28, 2002 vs. NYM-N
Jorge Posada NY-A, March 31, 2004 vs. TAM-A (In Japan)
Jorge Posada NY-A, May 24, 2005 vs. DET-A

Catchers who have Hit 3 Homeruns in One Game
Mickey Cochrane PHI-A, May 21, 1925 (A)
Bill Dickey NY-A, July 26, 1939 (H) - 3 consecutive homers
Andy Seminick PHI-N, June 2, 1949 (H)
Walker Cooper CIN-N, July 6, 1949 (H)
Wes Westrum NY-N, June 24, 1950 (H)
Roy Campanella BRK-N, August 26, 1950 (A) - 3 consecutive homers
Smokey Burgess CIN-N, July 29, 1955 (H)
Ed Bailey CIN-N, June 24, 1956, first game (A)
Johnny Bench CIN-N, July 26, 1970 (H) - 3 consecutive homers
Bill Freehan DET-A, August 9, 1971 (A)
Johnny Bench CIN-N, May 9, 1973 (A)
Gary Carter MON-N, April 20, 1977 (H) - 3 consecutive homers
Johnny Bench CIN-N, May 29, 1980 (A)
Gary Carter NY-N, September 3, 1985 (A) - 3 consecutive homers
Dan Wilson SEA-A, April 11, 1996 (A)
Mike Piazza LA-N, June 29, 1996 (A)
Benito Santiago PHI-N, September 15, 1996 (A) - 3 consecutive
Bobby Estalella PHI-N, September 4, 1997 (A)
Ivan Rodriguez TEX-A, September 11, 1997 (H) - 3 consecutive homers
Tyler Houston MIL-N, July 9, 2000 (H) - 3 consecutive homers
Jason Varitek BOS-A, May 20, 2001 (A)
Mike Lieberthal PHI-N, August 10, 2002 (A) - 3 consecutive homers

Catchers who Hit an In The Park Grand Slam Home Run
Willard Brown NY-PL, August 29, 1890 (7 yrs in MLB, 6 career HR's)
Lave Cross PHI-N, July 6, 1892 (21 yrs in MLB, 47 career HR's)
Parke Wilson NY-N, September 5, 1893 (7 yrs in MLB, 3 career HR's)
Red Dooin PHI-N, October 1, 1904 (15 yrs in MLB, 10 career HR's)
Chief Meyers NY-N, September 11, 1909 (9 yrs in MLB, only HR in 1909)
Tex Erwin BRO-N, July 2, 1911 (6 yrs in MLB, 11 career HR's)
Mickey Cochrane DET-A, June 4, 1936 (13 yrs in MLB, 119 career HR's)
Wes Westrum NY-N, August 2, 1950 (11 yrs in MLB, 96 career HR's)
Tim McCarver STL-N, June 9, 1963 (21 yrs in MLB, 97 career HR's)
Jim Essian OAK-A, June 10, 1979 (21 yrs in MLB, 97 career HR's)
Ron Karkovice CHI-A, August 30, 1990 (12 yrs in MLB, 96 career HR's)
Dan Wilson SEA-A, May 3, 1998 (12 yrs in MLB, 86 career HR's thru 2003)

October 2008

When is 100 Hits not equal to other 100 Hits? The answer is when the 100 are all Singles while the other is a mixture of Singles, Doubles, Triples, and Homeruns. The difference can be measured; it is a statistic called Slugging Average (SLG). It is computed by counting all of the bases earned divided by the At-Bats. The Seasonal Average for all players is around .380. Great players have Seasons over .500 and poor players are less than .320. The Career Average for all Catchers (1876-2007) is .362 while the Career Average for Hall-Of-Fame players is .440.

25 Best Catcher Slugging Averages (Season)
(400 At-Bats Minimum)

NickName LastName Year Team Lg SLG
JAVY LOPEZ 2003 ATL NL 0.6871
MIKE PIAZZA 1997 LAN NL 0.6385
GABBY HARTNETT 1930 CHN NL 0.6299
BILL DICKEY 1936 NYA AL 0.6170
MIKE PIAZZA 2000 NYN NL 0.6141
ROY CAMPANELLA 1953 BRO NL 0.6108
MIKE PIAZZA 1995 LAN NL 0.6060
ROY CAMPANELLA 1951 BRO NL 0.5901
JOHNNY BENCH 1970 CIN NL 0.5868
WALKER COOPER 1947 NY1 NL 0.5864
CHRIS HOILES 1993 BAL AL 0.5847
ROY CAMPANELLA 1955 BRO NL 0.5830
MIKE PIAZZA 1999 NYN NL 0.5749
MIKE PIAZZA 2001 NYN NL 0.5726
BRIAN McCANN 2006 ATL NL 0.5724
BILL DICKEY 1937 NYA AL 0.5698
BILL DICKEY 1938 NYA AL 0.5683
MIKE PIAZZA 1996 LAN NL 0.5631
MIKE PIAZZA 1993 LAN NL 0.5612
RICK WILKINS 1993 CHN NL 0.5605
JOE TORRE 1966 ATL NL 0.5604
IVAN RODRIGUEZ 1999 TEX AL 0.5583
JOE TORRE 1971 SLN NL 0.5552
MICKEY COCHRANE 1931 PHA AL 0.5534
ROY CAMPANELLA 1950 BRO NL 0.5515

25 Best Catcher Slugging Averages (Career)
(5,000 PA Minimum)

NickName LastName SLG
MIKE PIAZZA 0.5452
JAVY LOPEZ 0.4911
GABBY HARTNETT 0.4888
BILL DICKEY 0.4860
YOGI BERRA 0.4822
JORGE POSADA 0.4794
IVAN RODRIGUEZ 0.4793
MICKEY COCHRANE 0.4778
JOHNNY BENCH 0.4758
WALKER COOPER 0.4636
ERNIE LOMBARDI 0.4599
CARLTON FISK 0.4567
BUCK EWING 0.4557
JOE TORRE 0.4521
MICKEY TETTLETON 0.4489
SMOKY BURGESS 0.4455
LANCE PARRISH 0.4405
GARY CARTER 0.4387
TED SIMMONS 0.4370
GENE TENACE 0.4287
ELSTON HOWARD 0.4270
TERRY STEINBACH 0.4198
BENITO SANTIAGO 0.4152
BILL FREEHAN 0.4120
THURMAN MUNSON 0.4098

September 2008

Perhaps the best offensive skill that a catcher (or any player) can have is the ability to "get on base" rather than make an out. The Coin Of The Realm in a baseball game is the OUT. A team, on average, has 27 of them to either conserve or to squander. Each out in an inning reduces a team's chance of getting about 1/2 of a run. Conversely, getting on base by any means (hit, walk, hit-by-pitch) increases a team's chance of getting about 1/2 of a run more. This is especially so for those batters in the "bottom of the order" (7th thru 9th), which usually includes the catcher. Getting on base (versus making an out) is a measureable statistic; it is called On Base Percentage (OBP). The Average for all players is around .340. Great players have over .400 and poor players are less than .300.

25 Best Catcher On-Base-Percentage (Season)

Nick Name Last Name Year Team Lg OBP
MICKEY COCHRANE 1933 PHA AL 0.4591
MICKEY COCHRANE 1935 DET AL 0.4521
ROGER BRESNAHAN 1903 NY1 NL 0.4430
MIKE PIAZZA 1997 LAN NL 0.4313
JOE MAUER 2006 MIN AL 0.4293
WALLY SCHANG 1921 NYA AL 0.4280
BILL DICKEY 1936 NYA AL 0.4280
MICKEY COCHRANE 1934 DET AL 0.4277
DICK DIETZ 1970 SFN NL 0.4262
JORGE POSADA 2007 NYA AL 0.4261
MICKEY COCHRANE 1930 PHA AL 0.4236
MICKEY COCHRANE 1931 PHA AL 0.4228
MIKE PIAZZA 1996 LAN NL 0.4216
WILBERT ROBINSON 1894 BLN NL 0.4212
DARRELL PORTER 1979 KCA AL 0.4207
JOE TORRE 1971 SLN NL 0.4207
ROGER BRESNAHAN 1906 NY1 NL 0.4192
FRED CARROLL 1890 PTP PL 0.4183
BILL DICKEY 1937 NYA AL 0.4168
JORGE POSADA 2000 NYA AL 0.4167
CHRIS HOILES 1993 BAL AL 0.4160
GENE TENACE 1977 SDN NL 0.4145
DOGGIE MILLER 1894 SLN NL 0.4144
BILL DICKEY 1938 NYA AL 0.4124
JASON KENDALL 2000 PIT NL 0.4121

25 Best Catcher On-Base-Percentage (Career)

Nick  Name Last Name OBP
MICKEY COCHRANE 0.4192
WALLY SCHANG 0.3931
GENE TENACE 0.3879
ROGER BRESNAHAN 0.3864
BILL DICKEY 0.3821
JORGE POSADA 0.3801
RICK FERRELL 0.3778
MIKE PIAZZA 0.3766
JASON KENDALL 0.3742
MIKE GRADY 0.3738
FRED CARROLL 0.3702
GABBY HARTNETT 0.3696
MIKE STANLEY 0.3695
SPUD DAVIS 0.3689
MICKEY TETTLETON 0.3688
CHIEF MEYERS 0.3668
CHRIS HOILES 0.3661
JOE TORRE 0.3648
MUDDY RUEL 0.3645
SMOKY BURGESS 0.3616
ROY CAMPANELLA 0.3602
BOB O'FARRELL 0.3602
ERNIE LOMBARDI 0.3582
JOE FERGUSON 0.3576
DARREN DAULTON 0.3571


August 2008

The sixteen catchers entered the HOF by three different committees. Eight catchers (Johnny Bench, Yogi Berra, Roy Campanella, Gary Carter, Mickey Cochrane, Bill Dickey, Carlton Fisk, and Gabby Hartnett) were voted in by the Baseball Writers Association of America - BBWAA; five were admitted through the Veterans Committee (Roger Bresnahan, Buck Ewing, Rick Ferrell, Ernie Lombardi and Ray Schalk); and three entered via the Negro League Committee (Josh Gibson, Biz Mackey, and Louis Santop).

The very first catcher elected to the HOF was Buck Ewing in 1939. His eighteen year career began in 1880 with Troy of the National League. He caught in 636 games out of the 1315 games played. He holds the catcher record for most career triples with 178 and he had a lifetime batting average of .303 which puts him 5th on the all-time catcher list.

The first catcher elected by the BBWAA was Mickey Cochrane in 1947 which was the sixth year that his name appeared on the ballot. Cochrane's thirteen year career began in 1925 with Philadelphia (AL) and he caught 1451 games out of the 1482 played. His lifetime batting average of .320 is the highest of any catcher.

The longest span of time (in years) between elections to the HOF by a catcher was 14 years. Ray Schalk & Gabby Hartnett entered in 1955 and Roy Campanella was voted in 1969. The shortest span of time was one year when Bill Dickey entered in 1954 and in 1955 when Hartnett & Schalk entered.

The thirteen non-Negro League HOF catchers have almost encompassed the entire history of baseball (1876-2006). Buck Ewing started in 1880 and the chain of HOF catcher years progressed without a break except for 1966 when no HOF catcher played. The chain went from Ewing (1880-1897) to Bresnahan (1897-1915) to Schalk (1912-1929) to Hartnett (1922-1941) to Cochrane (1925-1937) to Dickey (1928-1946) to Ferrell (1929-1947) to Lombardi (1931-1947) to Berra (1946-1965) to Campanella (1948-1957) to Bench (1967-1983) to Fisk (1969-1993) to Carter (1974-1992). When guaranteed HOF'ers Piazza (1992-n) and Rodriguez (1991-n) enter the HOF the chain will have continued. I wonder which Rookie Catcher playing this season will someday be elected to the HOF to keep the chain unbroken.

There are a few catchers that should be in the HOF and are not for a host of reasons. They are (in no particular order): Wally Schang, Spud Davis, Joe Torre, Bill Freehan, and Ted Simmons. The first four (Schang, Davis, Torre and Freehan) will never get in because their time has passed for consideration by the Veteran's Committee. However, Simmons can still be enshrined when the Veteran's Committee considers him in his VC Eligibility year (2011). Torre will probably go in as a Manager, but he should be in as a player.

July 2008

Gabby Hartnett was the very first catcher in All-Star history to come to bat, when he appeared in the first All-Star Game in 1933.

The only player to have hit a home run in his very first at-bat (Sep 12, 1986) and his first All-Star at-bat (Jul 12, 1988) was catcher Terry Steinbach (MIN-A). Both Johnny Bench and Javy Lopez hit homers in their first All-Star at bat but not their first MLB at bat.

Sandy Alomar Jr. has the highest career All-Star batting average (for catchers) with .417 (Minimum 5 games) which Sandy accomplished in six games. Sherm Lollar is in second place with a career All-Star average of .400 (nine games).

In the 1981 and 1984 All-Star games Gary Carter was named as the Most Valuable Player. He hit two homeruns in the 1981 Summer Classic.

Ivan Rodriguez was the youngest catcher to start an All-Star Game when he was voted to start in 1993. Pudge was 21 years old at the time. He had been previously named as an alternate the year before in 1992.

The Highest Career All-Star Slugging Percentage by a Catcher is held by Gary Carter with .750 which he produced in nine games (15 Total Bases in 20 At-Bats).

Johnny Bench and Gary Carter jointly hold the catcher records for Most Career Homeruns in All-Star games with 3.

The catcher record for Most Career All-Star RBI's is held by Johnny Bench with six. Gary Carter and Mike Piazza each have five. Ivan Rodriguez holds the catcher record for Most Career All-Star Hits with 11.

Yogi Berra holds the catcher record for starting the Most All-Star Games with 17 (1948-1961). He was selected for 18 All-Star games.

June 2008

Some of the Catcher Records Currently held:

  • Games Caught in a Season (160) - Randy Hundley (CHI-N) 1968
  • Games Caught in a Career (2226) - Carlton Fisk (1969-1993)
  • Most Years with 100 or More Games Caught (15) Bob Boone
  • Batting Average - Season (.362) - Bill Dickey (NY-A) 1936
  • Batting Average - Career (.320) - Mickey Cochrane (1925-1937)
  • Slugging Average - Season (.639) - Mike Piazza (LA-N) 1977
  • Slugging Average - Career (.545) - Mike Piazza (1992-2007)
  • Home Runs - Season (42) - Javy Lopez (ATL-N) 2003
  • Home Runs - Career (427) - Mike Piazza (1992-2007)
  • Highest Fielding Average - Career (1000+ Games) (.9932) Bill Freehan DET, 1,581 games
  • Most Assists - Career (1,835) Deacon McGuire
  • Most Assists - Season (214) Pat Moran (BOS-N) 1903
  • Most Assists - 9-Inning Game (Since 1900) (8) Wally Schang BOS-A 5/12/1920
  • Most Passed Balls in a Game (12) - Gid Gardner (Was-AA) 5/10/1884
  • Catching for the Most Teams Career (10) - Deacon McGuire
  • Most Consecutive Errorless Games (252) - Mike Matheny (STL-N) 8/2/2002 - 8/1/2004
  • Most Errors - Career (Since 1900) 234 Ivey Wingo
  • Most Errors - Season (Since 1900) 40 Red Dooin, PHI-N 1909
  • Most Errors - Inning (Since 1900) 3 Jeff Reed MON-N 7/28/1987; Jeff Sweeney NYA 7/10/1912; John Peters CLE 5/16/1918
  • Most Stolen Bases Off Catcher - Inning (8) Steve O'Neill (CLE-A) 7/19/1915 and Mike Gonzalez (NY-N) 7/7/1919
  • Most Runners Caught Stealing 9-Inning Game (Since 1900) (6) Bill Bergen (BRO-N) 8/23/1909 and Wally Schang (PHI-A) 5/12/1915
  • Most Runners Caught Stealing - Inning (3) Les Nunamaker (NY-A) 8/3/1914 3rd inning
  • Most No-Hitters Caught - Career (4) Jason Varitek 2001, 2002, 2007 & 2008

May 2008

11 of the 30 major league managers today are former catchers. According to Bob Brenly, sitting behind the plate directing pitchers and watching the whole field naturally grooms a baseball player to become a manager.

The 2008 managers who are former catchers are:
Bruce Bochy (Giants)
Bob Geren (A's)
John Gibbons (Blue Jays)
Joe Girardi (Yankees)
Joe Maddon (Devil Rays)
Bob Melvin (Diamondbacks)
John Russell (Pirates)
Mike Scioscia (Angels)
Joe Torre (Dodgers)
Eric Wedge (Indians)
Ned Yost (Brewers)

To date there have been 114 ex-catcher managers in the major leagues [See Complete List].

For these 114 skippers the average number of years managing is 5.2 and 670 games. They won an average of 331 and lost 342 games for a winning percentage of .492.

The Highest Career Winning Percentage (200 or more games managed) is held by Al Lopez with a .584 record (1,410 Wins out of 2,425 games). In second place is Hall Of Fame catcher Mickey Cochrane with .582 (348 out of 600 Games).

The former catcher Manager with the most years managing is Connie Mack who directed teams for 53 years in 7,755 games. He won 3,731 games and he won 5 World Series, all of which are records. Current Yankee manager Joe Torre is in 2nd place with 4 World Series victories. In all former catcher managers have won 19 World Series.

One measure of a manager's performance is WINS ABOVE/BELOW EXPECTED WINS using a team's runs scored versus the team's runs allowed. [See each manager's page).
Through 2007 the ex-catcher with the best performance as a manager is Joe Torre who has racked up 58.7 more wins than expected.

April 2008

There have been 137 players who have have played both ends of a battery (pitcher - catcher) at some point in their MLB careers. Many have played other fielding positions as well. In fact one could make up a complete positional team of those versatile batterymen.

P - Roger Bresnahan (HOF)
C - Buck Ewing (HOF)
1B - Jimmie Foxx (HOF)
2B - Hardy Richardson
3B - Ezra Sutton
SS - Bert Campaneris
LF - Jim O'Rourke
CF - Paul Hines
RF - King Kelly (HOF)
DH - Wayne Nordhagen
PH - Cal McVey
Mgr - Cap Anson (HOF)
Coach - Cookie Rojas


There have been 41 career catchers who have pitched in a game. Amos Booth holds the record amongst these forty-one with 95 2/3 Innings Pitched in a Career and 86 Innings Pitched in a Season.

Five times there have been catchers who CAUGHT and PITCHED in the SAME GAME: Frank Bowerman (9/23/1904), Roger Bresnahan (8/3/1910), Rick Cerone (7/19/1987 and 8/9/1987), and Rick Dempsey (7/2/1991). None of the four won these games .

The catcher career pitching records for Games Pitched (15), Games Started (9), Batters Faced (449), and Complete Games (6) are all held by Amos Booth.

Jim Keenan holds the catcher career pitching ERA record with an Earned Run Average of 2.37.

March 2008

There are 93 catchers on the 2008 40-man Spring Training rosters. In addition, there are 27 more with minor league contracts and an invite to vie for a roster spot this Spring. Plus, there are a few Free Agents of note looking for a team (Sandy Alomar, Damian Miller, Mike Piazza, Todd Pratt, and Kelly Stinnett). The following are some of the catcher competitions vying for an Opening Day slot or key catcher conditions:

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Kansas City Royals: John Buck and Miguel Olivo both have power and both are contending for the starting role. But, Olivo led the majors with 16 passed balls last year for Florida which won't help the Royals 11th ranked defense..
Los Angeles Angels: Starter Mike Napoli and backup Jeff Mathis need to improve if they're going to be any help to Mike Scioscia's Angels.
Minnesota Twins: Joe Mauer must stay off the disabled list and try to duplicate his 2006 MVP-type season because the Twins are depending on him to carry the offense.
Seattle Mariners: Jeff Clement will be competing with Jamie Burke to be the backup to their No. 1 guy, Kenji Johjima this season. Jeff has power potential but Jamie has the defensive skills which should give him the edge.
Tampa Bay Rays: Josh Paul was signed to a minor league contract. He had been the primary backup the last two seasons. A longtime favorite of manager Joe Maddon, Paul will compete with Shawn Riggans and Mike Difelice to be the backup to Dioner Navarro.

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Chicago Cubs: Geovany Soto was so impressive last season in his 54 games in the Majors that he's slated to open the year as the Cub's No. 1 backstop. Henry Blanco will be the backup.
Milwaukee Brewers: Damian Miller, who played for the Brewers the past three seasons was not offered an invitation for the 2008 season. He'll probably retire. The Brewers signed free agent Jason Kendall as their No. 1 catcher. The backup job will be up for grabs among the trio of Eric Munson, Mike Rivera and Vinny Rottino.
Washington Nationals
: Johnny Estrada signed a one-year deal and will enter spring training as the No. 1 catcher with Paul Lo Duca recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery. Humberto Cota will most likely be the backup with Jesus Flores returning to the minors.

February 2008

Several catchers will be striving to achieve personal, catcher or player career milestones in the 2008 season. Here are just some of them:

    OFFENSE

  • Mike Piazza (Free Agent) 400 Homeruns as a catcher (Currently has 376)
  • Ivan Rodriguez (DET) 300 Homeruns as a player (Currently has 288)
  • Ivan Rodriguez (DET) 4,000 Total Bases as a player (Currently has 3,953)
  • Ivan Rodriguez (DET) 2,500 Hits as a player (Currently has 2,495)
  • A.J. Pierzynski (CHA) 1,000 Hits as a player (Currently has 950)
    DEFENSE

  • Ivan Rodriguez (DET) 2,100 & 2,200 Games Caught (Has 2,061)
  • Ivan Rodriguez (DET) 13,000 Putouts as a Catcher (Has 12,510)
  • Brad Ausmus (HOU) 13,000 Putouts as a Catcher (Has 12,045)
  • Jason Kendall (MIL) 11,000 Putouts as a Catcher (Has 10,390)
  • Ivan Rodriguez (DET) 600 Runners Caught Stealing (Has 579)
  • Brad Ausmus (HOU) 500 Runners Caught Stealing (Has 469)
  • Jason Kendall (MIL) 400 Runners Caught Stealing (Has 397)
  • Ivan Rodriguez (DET) 17,370 Innings Caught for 3rd Place (Has 17,267)
  • Mike Lieberthal (Free Agent) 10,000 Innings Caught (Has 9,828)
  • Jason Kendall (MIL) 800 Assists as a Catcher (Has 768)
  • Paul LoDuca (WAS) 500 Assists as a Catcher (Has 484)
    MISCELLANEOUS

  • Jason Kendall (MIL) 225 Hit-By-Pitch (Currently has 218 and ranks 5th all-time behind #1 Craig Biggio with 285)

January 2008

One measure of a catcher's defensive ability is his Percentage of Base Stealers Caught (CS%). For the would-be thieves success means stealing a base more than 75% of the time. For the catcher success at stopping these thieves would be a CS rate greater than 25% (keeping the thieves below 75%).

In 2007 the Best Performance by a Catcher at stopping these thieves was by Yadier Molina of the Cardinals. He stopped 54% of these rascals. Below is a list of the Top 15 Catchers in 2007 for those backstops who had 50 or more Stolen Base Attempts (SBA)

Catcher Team G SB CS SBA CS%
Yadier Molina STL 107 23 27 50 0.5400
Kenji Johjima SEA 133 46 40 86 0.4651
David Ross CIN 108 36 25 61 0.4098
Gerald Laird TEX 119 59 39 98 0.3980
Chris Snyder ARI 103 52 29 81 0.3580
Russ Martin LAN 145 82 41 123 0.3333
Miguel Olivo FLA 119 51 25 76 0.3289
Victor Martinez CLE 121 70 33 103 0.3204
Carlos Ruiz PHI 111 57 26 83 0.3133
Brian Schneider WAS 122 53 24 77 0.3117
Ivan Rodriguez DET 127 47 21 68 0.3088
Bengie Molina SFN 129 53 23 76 0.3026
Dioner Navarro TBA 112 71 30 101 0.2970
Ronnie Paulino PIT 129 74 27 101 0.2673
Brad Ausmus HOU 114 47 17 64 0.2656

Since 1956 there have been many seasons where catchers have excelled at nabbing base runners intent on stealing. The very best performance (minimum 50 SBA's) for Catching Base Stealers 1956-2007 was by Gus Triandos of the Baltimore Orioles in 1957. He caught 2/3 (66%) of every attempt. The below list is the Top 25 Seasonal Performances in the last 52 years:

Catcher Year Tm SB CS SBA CS%
Gus Triandos 1957 BAL 21 42 63 0.6667
Bob O'Farrell 1922 CHN 41 70 111 0.6306
Jason LaRue 2001 CIN 27 42 69 0.6087
Dick Bertell 1963 CHN 29 44 73 0.6027
Larry McLean 1911 CIN 37 55 92 0.5978
Thurman Munson 1971 NYA 23 34 57 0.5965
Earl Battey 1960 WS1 29 41 70 0.5857
Henry Blanco 2000 MIL 28 39 67 0.5821
Bob Boone 1982 CAL 46 64 110 0.5818
Ellie Rodriguez 1971 MIL 30 41 71 0.5775
Rick Dempsey 1977 BAL 30 41 71 0.5775
Clay Dalrymple 1967 PHI 22 30 52 0.5769
Mike Ryan 1968 PHI 25 34 59 0.5763
Ivan Rodriguez 2001 TEX 23 31 54 0.5741
Johnny Bench 1969 CIN 30 40 70 0.5714
Johnny Bench 1972 CIN 24 31 55 0.5636
Jerry Grote 1969 NYN 31 40 71 0.5634
Ivan Rodriguez 1998 TEX 38 49 87 0.5632
Jim Sundberg 1977 TEX 43 55 98 0.5612
Clay Dalrymple 1961 PHI 36 45 81 0.5556
Yogi Berra 1957 NYA 29 36 65 0.5538
Tim McCarver 1967 SLN 30 37 67 0.5522
Jimmy Archer 1911 CHN 49 60 109 0.5505
Ray Fosse 1973 OAK 41 50 91 0.5495
Yogi Berra 1958 NYA 23 28 51 0.5490

The Career Best CS% by a Catcher is by Roy Campanella whose astounding 57% is way ahead of every other catcher in the 1956-2007 period. The following list is the Top 25 career totals:

Catcher SB CS SBA CS%
Roy Campanella 181 242 423 0.5721
Clay Dalrymple 321 306 627 0.4880
Yogi Berra 154 141 295 0.4780
Dick Bertell 150 137 287 0.4774
Ivan Rodriguez 639 579 1218 0.4754
Gus Triandos 237 207 444 0.4662
Sherm Lollar 190 163 353 0.4618
Del Crandall 275 229 504 0.4544
Steve Lake 185 154 339 0.4543
Joe Azcue 244 201 445 0.4517
Thurman Munson 533 427 960 0.4448
Elston Howard 285 221 506 0.4368
Mike Ryan 234 181 415 0.4361
Johnny Bench 610 469 1079 0.4347
Earl Battey 276 212 488 0.4344
Buck Rodgers 283 215 498 0.4317
Henry Blanco 281 210 491 0.4277
Jerry May 177 131 308 0.4253
Randy Hundley 399 293 692 0.4234
Johnny Roseboro 406 297 703 0.4225
Hal Smith 156 112 268 0.4179
Bob Kearney 224 159 383 0.4151
Ellie Rodriguez 334 235 569 0.4130
Ron Karkovice 401 281 682 0.4120
Jim Sundberg 1012 708 1720 0.4116