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Leaderboarding: Best hitting catchers in baseball history

By Mike Axisa | Baseball Writer

Mike Piazza used to put up softball numbers during his playing days.
Mike Piazza used to put up softball numbers during his playing days. (USATSI)

Related: Looking at Mike Piazza's Hall of Fame case

Given everything he accomplished in his career, it's hard to believe Mike Piazza was not inducted into the Hall of Fame last year, his first year of eligibility. The suspicion of performance-enhancing drug use kept him out.

Piazza has long been considered the best hitting catcher in history, mostly because of his prodigious power output. No catcher has ever hit for as much power as him and it's not particularly close either. In the spirit of contextualizing Piazza's offensive dominance, our latest leaderboarding post looks at the best backstops in a variety of offensive catchers. Just to be clear, these are stats that have compiled strictly as a catcher. If Piazza hit a home run as a first baseman or DH, it won't be counted here.

Plate Appearances

  1. Ivan Rodriguez -- 9,916
  2. Carlton Fisk -- 8,801
  3. Jason Kendall -- 8,531
  4. Gary Carter -- 8,172
  5. Benito Santiago -- 7,352

Batting Average (min. 500 games caught)

  1. Joe Mauer -- .328
  2. Piazza -- .313
  3. Brian Harper -- .306
  4. Manny Sanguillen -- .300
  5. Joe Torre -- .300

On-Base Percentage (min. 500 games caught)

  1. Mauer -- .408
  2. Gene Tenace -- .396
  3. Dick Dietz -- .385
  4. Piazza -- .382
  5. Jorge Posada -- .380

Slugging Percentage (min. 500 games caught)

  1. Piazza -- .560
  2. Mike Napoli -- .516
  3. Javy Lopez -- .504
  4. Roy Campanella -- .499
  5. Posada -- .487

OPS (min. 500 games caught)

  1. Piazza -- .942
  2. Mauer -- .889
  3. Napoli -- .879
  4. Posada -- .868
  5. Campanella -- .858

Hits

  1. Rodriguez -- 2,749
  2. Kendall -- 2,160
  3. Fisk -- 2,145
  4. Ted Simmons -- 1,908
  5. Carter -- 1,907

Doubles

  1. Rodriguez -- 551
  2. Kendall -- 390
  3. Fisk -- 372
  4. Simmons -- 364
  5. A.J. Pierzynski -- 345

Triples

  1. Tim McCarver -- 52
  2. Rodriguez -- 51
  3. Sanguillen -- 45
  4. Fisk -- 43
  5. Santiago -- 41

Home Runs

  1. Piazza -- 390
  2. Fisk -- 351
  3. Johnny Bench -- 327
  4. Rodriguez -- 304
  5. Carter -- 298

Total Bases

  1. Rodriguez -- 4,314
  2. Fisk -- 3,656
  3. Piazza -- 3,404
  4. Carter -- 3,201
  5. Bench -- 2,976

Runs Batted In

  1. Rodriguez -- 1,290
  2. Piazza -- 1,205
  3. Fisk -- 1,197
  4. Bench -- 1,148
  5. Carter -- 1,110

Stolen Bases

  1. Kendall -- 176
  2. Rodriguez -- 123
  3. Fisk -- 121
  4. Santiago -- 85
  5. Russell Martin -- 85

Walks

  1. Posada -- 818
  2. Fisk -- 775
  3. Carter -- 751
  4. Bench -- 728
  5. Kendall -- 709

Hit By Pitches

  1. Kendall -- 250
  2. Fisk -- 129
  3. Pierzynski -- 113
  4. Sherm Lollar -- 110
  5. Bill Freeham -- 109
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