Ranking the Greatest Catchers of All Time
In my opinion, the catcher is the most important player on a major league team. Catchers do way more than what can be captured on a stat sheet. This is evident in some of the game’s great current catchers like Yadier Molina, Buster Posey and Joe Mauer, but it is the great catchers of the past who have paved the way for these studs.
Here is my list of the greatest catchers of all time:
1. Johnny Bench
Bench was the quintessential combination of a great hitting and fielder catcher. He won 10 straight Gold Gloves to begin his career, to go along with two MVPs and a Rookie of the Year award. He is one of the biggest reasons why the “Big Red Machine” was so potent, and he was a centerpiece to their two World Series titles. Bench and Ivan Rodriguez could have both easily been #1 on this list, but I give the slight edge to Bench because of the multiple rings and MVPs.
2. Ivan Rodriguez
He is the greatest catcher that I have ever seen with my own eyes. He won 13 total Gold Gloves to include 10 in a row, and he singlehandedly shut down team’s entire running games. Also, he won an MVP (1999) in the face of massive offensive competition. I would have loved to have seen what Pudge could have done had he played for an annual contender during the prime of his career.
3. Yogi Berra
He is certainly the most decorated catcher ever. He seemingly spent his entire career in the World Series as he played in a record 14 while winning 10. Also, he was the league MVP three times. In a perfect world, all of these guys could be number one, but Yogi says, “If the world were perfect, it wouldn't be."
4. Mike Piazza
Simply, Piazza is the greatest offensive catcher of all time. With 427 career dingers, he has more home runs than any catcher in history (51 more than Fisk), and he compiled a .308 career batting average as well. He also has the record for the most hairstyle changes in one MLB career.
5. Roy Campenella
Campenella was the first great catcher to come out of the Negro Leagues. We could very well be discussing him as the single greatest catcher ever had he started his career in MLB and if his career had not been prematurely ended by paralysis caused by a car accident. He also won the MVP three times and led the Brooklyn Dodgers to a World Series title in 1955.
Also considered: Gary Carter, Mickey Cochrane, & Carlton Fisk
Who do you think is the greatest catcher of all time? Tweet your pick to @MLBFanCave and @KyleOKC using the hash tag #MLBFC.