MLB: The 6 Best Catchers in New York Yankees History

Harold FriendChief Writer IJune 11, 2011

MLB: The 6 Best Catchers in New York Yankees History

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    Hall of Fame Catcher Bill Dickey
    Hall of Fame Catcher Bill DickeyJim McIsaac/Getty Images

    The New York Yankees have had more catching greats than any other team. From Bill Dickey to Jorge Posada, the catching position has provided excellent offense and in most instances, great defenses.

    Selecting the five greatest Yankees catchers is easy, but who is No. 6? That selection can be controversial.

1. Bill Dickey

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    Bill DIckey in 1937
    Bill DIckey in 1937

    Sportswriter Dan Daniel, speaking about Bill Dickey, wrote "Bill Dickey isn't just a catcher, he's a ball club."

    Dickey played for the Yankees from 1928-1946, missing two seasons (1944-45) defending freedom.

    His .313 lifetime batting average is topped only by Mickey Cochrane's .320. Dickey hit 202 home runs, with a high of 29 in 1937, when he hit .332/.417/.570.

    An excellent defensive catcher with a powerful arm and an expert handler of a pitching staff, Dickey played on eight World Champions.

2. Yogi

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    Yogi
    YogiJim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Everyone knows to whom one is referring when one says "Yogi."

    Most younger fans rank Mr. Berra as the greatest of all New York Yankees catchers. Even Bill Dickey, when the Yankees honored Yogi and Dickey on Aug. 22, 1988 with plaques, said that Yogi was  "considered the greatest catcher of all time."

    Yogi hit .285 with 358 home runs. He helped the Yankees win 14 pennants and 10 World Championships.

    He almost single-handedly destroyed Brooklyn Dodgers ace Don Newcombe in the World Series.

3. Thurman Munson

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    The Captain
    The CaptainJim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Thurman Munson was a six-time All-Star, named the American League Rookie of the Year in 1970 and was the American League MVP in 1976.

    With his good friend Reggie Jackson, he led the New York Yankees to the World Championship in 1977 and 1978.

    Munson's .292 lifetime batting average is higher than eight of the 13 Hall of Fame catchers.

    He was a great defensive catcher with a release that was faster than even that of Joe Namath.

4. Jorge Posada

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    Jorge Posada
    Jorge PosadaEzra Shaw/Getty Images

    There is an excellent chance that Jorge Posada will join Bill Dickey and Yogi in the Hall of Fame.

    He has a .274 lifetime batting average, is (was) a threat from both sides of the plate, and helped the New York Yankees win five World Championships.

    His at bat against Al Leiter and the New York Mets in the 2000 World Series is a classic. After falling behind in the count, no balls and two strikes, Jorge worked out a walk and eventually scored the run that won the World Series.

    Since 2000, Posada has had more home runs and RBIs than any catcher in baseball.

    The fact that Posada was no better than average defensively puts him fourth among Yankees back stops.

5. Elston Howard

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    Ellie Howard
    Ellie HowardJim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Elston Howard might have been the greatest defensive catcher the New York Yankees ever had.

    In 1964, he set American League records for putouts and total chances in a season. Ellie's .993 fielding percentage stood as a major league record until1973.

    He was the American League MVP in 1963, becoming the first black MVP in American League history.

    In 1961, he hit .348 and was one of six Yankees to hit at least 20 home runs.

    Howard helped the Yankees win 10 pennants and six World Championships.

6. Wally Schang

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    Wally Schange Before He Joined the New York Yankees
    Wally Schange Before He Joined the New York Yankees

    Wally Schang joined the New York Yankees in 1921. He was a member of the first Yankees pennant winners that year and was a member of the first World Championship Yankees team in 1923.

    A solid defensive catcher, Schang batted a solid .297 while a Yankee.

    He hit .316/.428/.453 in 1921 and followed that with .319/.405/.412 the following season.