Baseball is a sport that has been loved by millions of fans for over a century. It has seen some of the most talented players in history, with each position having its own standout performers. Catcher, one of the most challenging and physically demanding positions on the field, is no exception. Over the years, there have been numerous catchers who have left a lasting impression on the game, setting records and achieving remarkable accomplishments. In this article, we will take a look at the top 10 best catchers of all time.
10. Bill Dickey
Bill Dickey, a player for the New York Yankees, is known for his impressive career statistics. He spent his entire 17-year career with the New York Yankees, where he won seven World Series titles.
Dickey was known for his exceptional defensive skills, as well as his ability to hit for power and average. He was a 14-time All-Star and won the American League MVP award in 1936.
Dickey’s career batting average of .313 and 202 home runs solidified his place as one of the greatest catchers of all time.
He was also a master at handling pitchers and was instrumental in the success of the Yankees during the 1930s and 1940s.
9. Mike Piazza
Mike Piazza, a 12-time All-Star and 10-time Silver Slugger Award winner played for six different teams during his 16-year career, but it was his time with the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets that solidified his legacy.
He holds the record for most home runs hit by a catcher with 427 home runs and has a career batting average of .308. Piazza’s offensive prowess and consistent production make him a top contender for the best catcher of all time.
He also holds the record for the most home runs hit by a catcher in MLB history.
8. Buster Posey
Gerald Dempsey “Buster” Posey III is an American former professional baseball catcher who spent his entire twelve-year Major League Baseball career with the San Francisco Giants, from 2009 until his retirement at the conclusion of the 2021 season.
Throughout his career, Posey was known for his exceptional hitting skills, with a career batting average of .302, 158 home runs, and 729 RBIs. He was also a key player in the Giants’ success, contributing to three World Series championships.
Additionally, Posey was a seven-time All-Star and won the National League Most Valuable Player award in 2012. His impact on the game and the Giants’ organization has solidified his legacy as one of the most accomplished catchers in baseball history
He won 2 Comeback Player of the Year awards, 1 Gold Glove award, 1 MVP award, the Rookie of the Year award, 5 Silver Slugger awards, and 3 World Series.
7. Mickey Cochrane
Mickey Cochrane (Black Mike) played for both the Philadelphia Athletics and Detroit Tigers as a catcher and is still remembered for his fiery competitive spirit and leadership qualities.
Cochrane led five teams to American League pennants during the seven-year span from 1929 through 1935, winning three World Series championships.
He was named the American League’s Most Valuable Player in 1928 and 1934 and finished with a .320 career batting average, setting a 309 batting average among catchers that stood until 2009.
Cochrane was also a master at calling pitches, treating each pitcher differently according to perceived needs, which helped to maximize pitching efforts on the mound.
His psychological knack for handling pitchers, combined with his defensive capabilities, made him one of the greatest catchers of all time
6. Carlton Fisk
Carlton Fisk played for 24 seasons in the MLB, most notably with the Boston Red Sox and the Chicago White Sox. He was a 11-time All-Star and won a Gold Glove Award in 1972.
Fisk was known for his powerful hitting, with 376 career home runs, the most by any catcher in American League history. He also holds the record for the most games caught in MLB history.
Carlton Fisk set the record for most home runs by a catcher with 351 and also set AL records for most seasons, putouts, and chances.
He finished his career with 2,356 hits, 376 home runs, 1,330 RBI, and a .269 batting average.
5. Roy Campanella
Roy Campanella, nicknamed “Campy”, was an American professional baseball player, primarily as a catcher.
Campanella was a key player for the Brooklyn Dodgers during their successful years in the 1950s. He was a three-time National League MVP and World Series champion in 1955.
Campanella was known for his powerful swing and his ability to handle a pitching staff. He also had a career batting average of .276 and was selected to eight All-Star teams. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1969.
He had a .276 batting average, 1,161 hits, 242 home runs, 856 RBIs, and 627 runs scored.
4. Iván Rodríguez
Iván Rodríguez, also known as “Pudge,” was a 14-time All-Star, a 13-time Gold Glove Award winner and won the American League MVP award in 1999.
He played for six different teams during his career, but is most remembered for his time with the Texas Rangers & Florida Marlins.
Rodríguez was known for his incredible defensive skills, and he also had a career batting average of .296 with 311 home runs. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2017.
He had a .296 batting average, 2,844 hits, 311 home runs, 1,332 runs batted in. He set an MLB record by catching his 2,227th game, passing Carlton Fisk.
He is widely regarded as the best defensive catcher in history, as evidenced by his .991 fielding percentage.
Rodríguez was also known for his ability to control the opposition’s running game with his exceptional arm, having one of the most feared arms to ever throw from behind the plate.
3. Gary Carter
Gary Carter, also known as “Kid,” was a fan favorite during his 19-year career in the major leagues. He played for four different teams and won the World Series with the New York Mets in 1986. Carter was an 11-time All-Star and won the Silver Slugger award five times.
He also had a career batting average of .262 and hit 324 home runs. Carter’s leadership and consistent production make him a top contender for the best catcher of all time.
He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2003.
Gary Carter played 19 seasons for 4 teams, including the Expos and Mets. He won 3 Gold Glove awards, 5 Silver Slugger awards, and 1 World Series.
2. Yogi Berra
Yogi Berra was a one-of-a-kind baseball legend whose role in the history of baseball is immeasurable.
He played 19 seasons in Major League Baseball, all but the last for the New York Yankees.
Berra’s legacy is defined by his remarkable achievements, including winning 10 World Series titles with the Yankees and being selected to the All-Star Game 18 times.
Known for his clutch hitting and excellent defensive skills, Berra boasted a career batting average of .285 and hit 358 home runs.
His exceptional performance led to his induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972. Additionally, Berra’s total of 59.5 WAR (Wins Above Replacement) ranks him fifth among catchers, underscoring his significant impact on the game.
1. Johnny Bench
Johnny Bench is considered the best catcher of all time due to his exceptional combination of offensive and defensive skills.
He won 10 Gold Glove Awards in a row and was known for his powerful throwing arm and ability to handle pitchers. Offensively, he hit 389 home runs and won two MVP awards.
His career WAR of 75.0 is the highest among catchers, reflecting his overall impact on the game.
He popularized the now-standard style of catching one-handed, using a hinged catcher’s glove, instead of the traditional two-handed style.
His defensive prowess was unmatched, and he was known for his catlike quickness and a powerful throwing arm that impressed both contemporaries and old-timers.