A total of 18 players whose primary position was catcher have been voted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. They range from the superlative Johnny Bench to the misplaced Rick Ferrell, who was not even the best player in his family. Brother Wes, a pitcher, claimed that distinction. To mark the occasion, a look at the top catchers of all time:
1. Johnny BenchBench hit cheap baseball jerseys from china
389 homers, second highest total among players whose primary position was catcher. He hit in the middle of the order for the powerful “Big Red Machine” teams that went to the World Series four times in the 1970s and won twice.
Opponents rarely ran against the Reds. From 1968 79, Bench had a caught stealing rate of 45.4 percent.
Bench won the first of 10 consecutive Gold Gloves in 1968, as a 20 year old rookie.
In 1975 76, his first seasons with Montreal, Carter started almost as many games in right field as catcher. He was a wild horse and incurred several injuries, including a broken thumb in a frightening collision with center fielder Pepe Mangual.
In 1977, new manager Dick Williams pulled Carter from the outfield and made him the front line catcher. Known as “The Kid” for his unbridled enthusiasm, Carter became the first legitimate star of the expansion Expos.
Carter was one of the first players with a muscular upper body and generated tremendous bat speed with his powerful forearms. He is tied for sixth in homers among catchers with 324 and ranks sixth in RBIs with 1,225. In 1984, he led the National League with 106 RBIs.
Carter also had a powerful arm and had a 40.5 percent caught stealing rate from 1977 84. What separated Carter from his peers was that he did not try to protect himself by calling all fastballs with men on base. He helped his pitchers by going with breaking pitches, even thought that gave an advantage to the runner.
Carter won one World Series, with the 1986 New York Mets. Teammate Ron Darling has said Carter was the “moral compass” on that rambunctious team.
3. Yogi BerraAWARDS: 15 All Star appearances, 3 MVP awards.
At 5 7 and 170 pounds, Berra did not fit the image of a stout catcher He was kind of dumpy and had an odd walk. His swing was an awkward looking hack.
Berra made it all work. He had three MVP awards and received MVP votes in 15 consecutive seasons.
The most telling fact about Berra’s career is that his team, the New York Yankees, won eight World Series with him as the primary catcher. Manager Casey Stengel liked to say “I never play a game without my man,” who was Berra.
Berra was a superb bad ball hitter, handling pitches that most batters could not reach. He leads catchers in RBIs with 1,430, is second for homers with 358 and seventh in OPS at .830. He had more walks than strikeouts (704 414) for his career.
Berra was a self made catcher whose overall defense gradually improved. He was always nimble behind the plate. From 1947 58, the Yankees had the fewest wild pitches in the majors.
4. Mickey CochraneAWARDS: 2 MVP awards, 2 All Star appearances. He was so popular during his career that many families named a son after him. That included the Mantles of Commerce, Okla.
Cochrane was the quintessential catcher as team leader. He was considered exceptional at working with the pitching staff.