Blog Entry

Vote for the Greatest Catcher of All-Time

Posted on: March 21, 2009 5:53 pm

 Ok, I'm going in a different direction from rock and roll music.   What I want to do is to assemble the best major league team ever.  I'm going to start with the men who wear the tools of ignorance...the beloved catchers.   I'll post the career stats of what I feel are the twelve best catchers of all time.   I want to make a couple notes concerning the defensive numbers on catchers.  Since catching is a very important position to a team defensively, I want to alert you all on some defensive ratings.  Prior to 1956 stats weren't kept on stolen bases against and caught stealing as far as catchers were concerned.   So catchers on this list who played prior to 1956 will have no stats for this and players such as Yogi Berra and Roy Campanella will have incomplete numbers as their stolen base/caught stealing stats will only reflect 1956 and afterward.  One other thing I want to note is on fielding percentage.   Don't take that number too seriously.  Every couple of decades, official scorers tend to give fewer and fewer errors to players.   For instance, Mike Piazza has a career fielding percentage of .989, but the average fielding percentage over his era was .990, making him slightly less than an average fielder.   Mickey Cochrane's lifetime fielding percentage was .985, but that is compared to the norm of .980 during the course of his career.   I also will not be making any mention of gold glove players.   Players before the 60s didn't get gold gloves, and I am one of many who believe that the gold glove award in many cases is a popularity award rather than a true study of defensive achievement.    Without further ado, here is the list of my top 12 catchers

          NAME               Games   Runs    Hits     HR    RBI     BB     SB     AVE    OBP    Slug      Fldg Pct   SB Against    Caught Stealing

  • J. Bench             2158     1091   2048   389    1376   891    68    .267   .342    .476      .990          610            469
  • C. Fisk               2499     1276   2356   376    1330   849   128   .269   .341    .457      .988         1302           664
  • T. Munson          1423      696    1558   113     701   438     48   .292    .346    .410     .982           533           427
  • I. Rodriguez        2267     1253   2605   295    1217  469    124   .301   .339    .475     .991           691           604
  • M. Piazza            1912     1048   2127   427    1335   759     17   .308   .377    .545     .989          1400           423
  • Y. Berra              2120     1175   2150   358    1430   704     30    .285   .348   .482      .989           154           141
  • R. Campanella    1215       627   1161   242     856    533     25    .276   .360   .500      .988            45              35
  • G. Carter            2296      1025   2092   324    1225   848     39    .262   .335   .439      .991         1498           810
  • M. Cochrane       1484      1041   1652   119      832   857     64    .320   .419   .478      .985
  • B. Dickey            1789       930   1969    202    1209   678    36    .313   .382    .486      .988
  • E. Lombardi        1853       601   1792    190      990   430      8    .306   .358    .460      .979
  • G. Hartnett         1990       867    1912   236     1179   703    28    .297   .370    .489      .984

I'll leave this blog up for a week for voting.   Next weekend I'll have a vote for the greatest 1st basemen of all time, so I'll take any suggestions you folks may wish to render to put on that list.   For all of you who voted on my rock blog, thank you very much and I hope you'll also enjoy this as well.  Since I'm providing the career numbers for the players, I'm trying to help those of you who don't consider yourselves very baseball savvy to render an educated vote.  Happy voting all.   I'll refrain from voting on my blogs unless it is to break a tie. 



Since: Mar 8, 2008
Posted on: March 23, 2009 8:08 pm

Vote for the Greatest Catcher of All-Time

Gary Carter is probley so under rated but as a kid i loved the Expos and he was an idol with his unique batting stance,as a Canadian I vote for Gary . 

Since: Oct 12, 2007
Posted on: March 23, 2009 3:30 pm

Vote for the Greatest Catcher of All-Time

I would like to have seen what Munson could have done in a full career. Statistically, it looks like the three best on the list are Bench, Berra and Fisk, and I would rate them in that order. When I think "catcher," I think Johnny Bench, and if I had to pick one to be behind the plate for my team in a critical situation, Bench would be that catcher.

Nice survey, Lazer.



Since: Aug 15, 2006
Posted on: March 23, 2009 3:12 pm

Vote for the Greatest Catcher of All-Time

Yogi Berra,

the WS titles say it all , also including helming the perfect game by Larsen . 

Since: Apr 11, 2008
Posted on: March 23, 2009 2:45 pm

Vote for the Greatest Catcher of All-Time

Sweet new idea Lazer.  Im voting for Johnny Bench

Since: Aug 8, 2008
Posted on: March 23, 2009 9:35 am

Vote for the Greatest Catcher of All-Time

Offensively, several compare to each other, and without knowing what Yogi's overall stats were defensively, I'll give the slightest of edges to Johnny Bench, the caught stealing percentage is too impressive. 

Since: Sep 10, 2008
Posted on: March 22, 2009 11:48 pm

Vote for the Greatest Catcher of All-Time

i actually got a chance to watch a few of these guys play.  fisk was good and underrated.  gary carter seemed to always be in the middle of something.  I-rod has it all but has imho played in a seriously depleted talent pool (more teams translates into major leaguers who would have been in the minors before imho). piazza could hit but defensively was a liability.  bench was certainly one of my favorites growing up.  i never got a chance to see campy, cochrane, dickey, lombardi, or hartnett.  i also didn't get a chance to see much of munson before he died.  yogi berra imho has got to be the best all time catcher.  defensively (although in an era with less base stealing) he got the job done and with the bat he was a serious threat.  his success as a winner is unmatched by any other catcher.  berra for sure in my book with josh gibson getting honorable mention.

Since: Dec 11, 2006
Posted on: March 22, 2009 11:04 pm

Vote for the Greatest Catcher of All-Time

Hey Lazer,

What, no Bob Boone for a Phillies homer?  lol.  kidding.  Would have liked to see Josh Gibson at least on this list.  A shame segregation kept him out of the majors.

I would say that based on reputation it would probably be Yogi Berra.  But that's not my vote.  Didn't see him really play other than a clip here or there.  While I have mad respect for Johnny Bench, Carlton Fisk and Thurman Munson, all excellent backstops, the one in my opinion with the best overall game is still around.  My vote goes to Ivan Rodriguez.   Better than good hitter and great defensively as well as gunning out runners.  For years, few would even try to steal on the guy.

As far as first baggers, I'm sure you will come up with a great list.  You always do.  Homer picks for Dick Allen.  And although I am a Phillies (and Twins) guy, I wouldn't mind seeing "Pops" Stargell on it, before seeing Steve Garvey.  Willie McCovey and Lou Gehrig of course.  Hank Greenberg and Jimmie Foxx as well.  Eddie Murray also.

Since: Dec 5, 2008
Posted on: March 22, 2009 6:29 pm

Vote for the Greatest Catcher of All-Time

After careful consideration, Yogi Berra, Johnny Bench, and Carlton Fisk, were the finalists.  I will leave them in the order I mentioned with Yogi Berra in the number one position.

1.  Yogi Berra

2.  Johnny Bench

3.  Carlton Fisk.

Winner, Yogi Berra. 


Since: Feb 1, 2009
Posted on: March 22, 2009 5:43 pm

Vote for the Greatest Catcher of All-Time

 I take Bench then

Since: Dec 4, 2007
Posted on: March 22, 2009 2:16 pm

Vote for the Greatest Catcher of All-Time

Personally, I'd say that Mike Piazza's name shouldn't even be anywhere close to being included on this list.  Johnny Bench, Carlton Fisk, and Yogi Berra, are heads and shoulders above the rest -- they were phenomenal both offensively, and defensively (something Piazza can never claim).  It's a really tough call between those three.  Most people that I've ever talked with would say that it was Johnny Bench, but, as much as it pains me to give adulation to any Yankee, I'm going to have to go with Yogi Berra. 

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or