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Ernie Lombardi: One of the Greatest Hitting Catchers of All Time

Walker McKeoughContributor IAugust 15, 2008

Catcher: 

Ernie Lombardi

 

Ernie Lombardi caught from 1931-1947.  His major league debut was April 15, 1931. 

He first started with the Dodgers, but was traded to the Cincinnati Reds due to the Dodgers having an all star catcher of their own.  His career numbers are a .306 batting average, 1792 hits, 990 RBI, 600 R, and 190 home runs.

He was also MVP from 1936-1940, 1942, 1943, and 1945 (eight times in total). He also won two batting titles, and was the first catcher to win a batting title.  In 1938 he was named MVP.  He also played in the 1939 and 1940 World Series.

His final and possibly greatest achievement came eight years after he died: he was elected to the Hall of Fame. 

Even with all these awards some people might wonder why he was the best hitting catcher of all time.  Ernie Lombardi was notoriously slow.  He was arguably the slowest baseball player of all time.  While winning the batting title, he did not record one single infield hit.

This in itself is an astounding statistic.  Many players who receive batting tittles receive at least 50 infield hits.  Also Lombardi was so slow, a hit in the gap would only result in a single.  Even with Lombardi's fantastic career, he is an unknown player to many.  

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