Top 10 MLB Position Players of All Time - Round 1: Catchers
Welcome to my mini-series entitled "Top 10 ____ (insert MLB Position) Of All Time!
Being a Catcher in baseball is the most difficult position in the sport. Not only do you have to call a masterful game for your pitcher, but you also have to be the captain of the Infield and make sure everyone is on the same page for each pitch/play.
On top of all that, you need to shutdown the opponents running game, block the plate, and be an consistent hitter in your career.
Catcher is my favorite position in baseball, you have so much control of the game from what pitch selection to what defensive alignment the infield plays. It's like being another manager on the field.
Here are my Top 10 Greatest MLB Catchers of All Time!
Mickey Cochrane, Philadelphia Athletics (1925-33), Detroit Tigers (1934-37).
Numbers: .320 Batting Average, 1652 Hits, 119 Home Runs, 832 RBI.
Awards: Two-Time All Star, Two-Time AL MVP.
Analysis: "Black Mike" was the best AL Catcher in his generation. He was a fiery competitor and a winner. His playing career came to a screeching halt when in 1937 he was beaned in the head. He returned only as manager and the next season he was replaced in the middle of the season.
Cochrane, was a great blocker of the plate (A lost art now in baseball). He wouldn't budge at all when a runner at third was trying to score based on contact. Arguably the best blocking catcher in MLB History.
9) Gabby Hartnett, Chicago Cubs (1922-1940), New York Giants (1941).
Numbers: .297 Batting Average, 1912 Hits, 236 Home Runs, 1179 RBI.
Awards: 1935 NL MVP and Six-time All Star.
Analysis: Hartnett was underrated in an era where catchers weren't suppose to hit. He was consummate pro and a great leader for the Cubs. In an era with Ruth, Gehrig, Foxx, Cobb, and others...Hartnett's name was always left out.
A lethal hitter with a great cannon of an arm. He was the first MLB Catcher to play both offense and defense. He led the NL in putouts, assists, and fielding average multiple times.
8) Gary Carter, Montreal Expos (1974-1984, 1992), New York Mets (1985-1989), San Francisco Giants (1990), Los Angeles Dodgers (1991).
Numbers: .262 Batting Average, 2092 Hits, 324 Home Runs, 1225 RBI.
Awards: Two-Time NL All-Star Game MVP. Three-time Gold Glover.
Analysis: "Kid" was a wizard behind the dish. He was a really hard catcher to run on. He was overshadowed my Johnny Bench, but if Carter's knees didn't go out in Montreal because of the turf, he would rank top three in every statistical category at this position.
7) Mike Piazza, LA Dodgers (1992-1998), Florida Marlins 1998, New York Mets 1998-2005, San Diego Padres 2006, Oakland Athletics 2007.
Numbers: .308 Batting Average, 2127 Hits, 427 Home Runs, 1335 RBI.
Awards: 12-Time All Star, 1993 NL Rookie of the Year, 1996 MLB All Star MVP.
Analysis: Piazza is regarded as the greatest hitting catcher of all time. In his prime, he was usually picked over Ivan Rodriguez in terms of the best catcher in the game. Piazza was never known as a great defender, he usually let opponents steal off him at a high rate in every season.
Piazza is a sure lock in the HOF in 2013.
6) Roy Campanella, Brooklyn Dodgers (1948-1957).
Numbers: .276 Batting Average, 1161 Hits, 242 Home Runs, 856 RBI.
Awards: Eight-Time All Star, Three-Time NL MVP.
Analysis: The only multiple MVP award winner at his position in NL history. Camp was a great defender and he started the tradition for the Dodgers with great catchers. Camp's career was short due to a terrible automobil
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