Wednesday afternoon at Busch Stadium, the St. Louis Cardinals will wrap up their three-game series with the Washington Nationals. The two clubs split their first two games Monday (WAS 5, STL 2) and Tuesday (STL 14, WAS 3), so Wednesday's finale is the rubber game.
Stalwart Yadier Molina started Wednesday's game behind the plate for the Cardinals and that's nothing new. He started 10 of the team's first 11 games this season and has been a rock behind the plate for close to two decades now. Wednesday's start is historic though. It was Molina's 2,000th career game at catcher.
The ever-knowledgeable Cardinals fans gave Molina an ovation following the first pitch Wednesday.
Here is the all-time games caught leaderboard:
- Ivan Rodriguez: 2,427 games
- Carlton Fisk: 2,226 games
- Bob Boone: 2,225 games
- Gary Carter: 2,056 games
- Jason Kendall: 2,025 games
- Yadier Molina: 2,000 games and counting
Molina is the only one of those six catchers to spend his entire career with one team. Since his MLB debut on June 3, 2004, Molina has been behind the plate for 2,000 of St. Louis' 2,608 regular season games, or 77 percent. He's also caught 101 of the team's 116 postseason games since 2004, or 87 percent. Incredible.
The 38-year-old Molina is having a fine start to the 2021 season, going 12 for 34 (.353) with two home runs in the early going. He is no longer the elite defender he was in his prime (Molina's caught stealing rate and pitch-framing numbers have been trending down for years), but he's still reliable. His durability at the most demanding position on the field is truly remarkable.
Catchers are woefully underrepresented in the Hall of Fame -- there are 19 catchers in the Hall of Fame and only two of them started their careers after 1990 (Rodriguez and Mike Piazza) -- and when the time comes, I expect Molina to be voted in on the first ballot. He's been an above-average player with near unmatched longevity for the position.