MLB Players

20 Best Catcher of all time

By / 25 January 2023 04:38 AM

Johnny Bench, Yogi Berra, and Ivan Rodriguez are some of the greatest catchers MLB has ever had
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Best Catcher of all time are 1. Lance Parrish 2. Yadier Molina 3. Joe Torre and 17 more. Catcher is a defensive baseball position just behind the home plate.

There have been many great players in MLB history who can claim the title of best catcher. Narrowing the list down to 20 players is a tough task.

A catcher crouches behind the hitter from the opposing offense during his team's defensive innings. A catcher's primary role is catching every ball pitched by the pitcher toward the hitter.

However, a catcher plays a much more significant role in baseball than just catching the pitch. The tandem between the pitcher and the catcher is crucial for a team and its defensive success.

Like the other game positions, the catcher and the pitcher are grouped into or defined as the battery. They are positioned on the opposite side of the home plate.

If the pitcher is considered the most important baseball position, the catcher comes in right behind at second. Although, it can be argued that catcher is the most crucial position in the field of play.

Since the catcher is behind the hitter, he has a full view of the field and everything that goes on in the game. Hence, the catcher is generally termed as the team's general, as he can guide and instruct other players on what to do and what not.

Most importantly, a catcher can direct and advise on how to throw the next pith, which can help their team's position. The catcher also acts as the extension of the coaching staff on the field as they alert the pitcher if there are any changes to the sequence moving forward.

A strong bond between the catcher and a pitcher helps build a strong defense for any team. Due to their importance in the field and their input in the play, many who played the position are often assigned the team captain thanks to their leadership in the field and relationship with other players.

Not every catcher is a good hitter on the offensive side of the game. Catchers must have extreme focus and determination for what they do behind the hitter and must be alert all inning. Hence, there aren't many catchers who are also good hitters.

But over the years, we've had some.

Listing the 20 best catchers of all time is complex, and we might miss out on some amazing ones. However, it is not to say that they aren't the best at their position. We've considered several aspects of listing these amazing athletes.

We take into account their career success as well as their impact on the game and their franchise.

20. Gabby Hartnett

We are starting our list of the greatest catchers to ever play the game of baseball with Chicago Cubs legend Gabby Hartnett.

Cubs legend Hartnett on the left pictured alongside Babe Ruth
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Coming in at number 20, Hartnett played in the league from 1922 until 1941. The six-time All-Star was with the Cubs for almost his entire career except the last season. He retired from the game in 1941 with the then MLB franchise New York Giants.

Born on December 1900, the Cubs hall of famer was named the 1935 NL MVP. Gabby was inducted into the baseball hall of fame in 1955 as a 12th-ballot hall of famer. This just goes to show how tough it is to get inducted into the baseball HOF.

With 236 home runs to his name, he had a .536 winning percentage in his career. He passed away in 1972 at the age of 72 in Illinois.    

19. Lance Parrish

At number 19 we have the Pennsylvania native Lance Parrish. Parrish played for seven teams during his playing career.

Born on June 15, 1956, the 66-year-old was in the league for 19 seasons. The eight-time All-Star also won a World Series in 1984 with the Detroit Tigers, the team that drafted him in 1974.

Parrish won a World Series with the Detroit Tigers
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The three-time Gold Glove Award and six-time Silver Slugger Award winner, he had a batting average of .252 and managed to register 324 home runs to his name.

18. Yadier Molina

At number 18 we have someone who the modern fans of the game should recognize. Yadier Molina takes the next spot on our list of the greatest catchers.

Drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals via the 2000 MLB draft, he made his proper major league debut in June 2004. Molina played his entire career with the Cardinals.

Molina played out his entire career with the Cardinals
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The ten-time All-Star helped his team win two World Series championships. Moreover, Yadier has nine Gold Glove Awards to his name, with eight back-to-back wins from 2008 to 2015.

2013 Silver Slugger Award winner Molina played his last game on October 5, 2022.

17. Joe Torre

Coming in at 17 we have the 9 time All Star Joe Torre. Torre played for three different teams in his career.

Signed by the Milwaukee Braves, now known as Atlanta Braves as an amateur free agent in 1959, he made his proper major league debut in September 1960.

Torre also had some fruitful years with the St. Louis Cardinals and ended his career with the NY Mets. The 1971 NL MVP and the 1965 Gold Glove Award winner, Joe also was named as the NL batting champion in 1971.

Joe Torre (C) is inducted into the Atlanta Braves Hall of Fame
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Joe also had a very successful post-playing career as a manager. He managed five teams, of which his tenure with the Yankees was the most successful. He led the Yankees to four World Series Championships while being named the AL manager of the year twice.

For his honor, The NY Yankees retired jersey number 6 while he is inducted into the Braves and Cardinals hall of fame. Torre was also inducted as a baseball hall of famer in 2014.

16. Ted Simmons

Ted Simmons lands at the number 16 spot on our list of the greatest baseball catchers of all time. The 73 year old had an impressive career.

The 2020 baseball hall of fame inductee played for three teams during his 20 years in the league. Ted spent most of his career and had the better production at the franchise that drafted him, the St. Louis Cardinals.

Simmons had an amazing stint with the Cardinals
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Selected into the All-Star game eight times, he also had a productive spell at the Milwaukee Brewers. Regarded by many as one of the best-hitting catchers to play the game, he has 248 home runs to his name with a batting average of .285.

Simmons played his last game on October 2, 1988, and retired with the Atlanta Braves. The 1980 Silver Slugger Award winner has been honored with induction into the hall of fame of both the Cardinals and the Brewers. Cardinals also retired his number 23 jersey for the rafters.

15. Jorge Posada

We have the 52 year old Yankee legend Jorge Posada next on our list at number 15.

Drafted by the Yankees via the 1990 MLB draft in the 24th round, he spent his entire 17 seasons in the league with the New York team.

Posada has four World Series Championships with the Yankees
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Initially drafted as an infielder, he later excelled as an amazing catcher for the team. The five time All-Star also has four World Series chamionship to his name.

The right handed thrower of the ball used both the right and left hand during his batting. With a total of 275 home runs to his name, his batting average clocks at .273.

Yankees retired the number 20 jersey to honor their five time Silver Slugger Award Winning catcher in August, 2015.

14. Bill Freehan

William Ashley Freehan better known as Bill Freehan is our pick at number 14 for the greatest basebal catchers of all time.

Freehan was in the league for 15 total seasons, during which he was selected as an All-Star for 11 years. Born on November 29, 1941, in Detroit, he was signed by his hometown franchise.

Bill was signed by the Detroit Tigers in 1961 with a bonus amount of money even before he graduated college. His father was against the idea of the Tigers signing his son until he completed college.

Freehan made his debut with the Tigers on September 1961 and played his last game on October 1976. During this time, he helped his team win the 1968 World Series while winning five Gold Glove Awards in the process.

Bill Freehan has five Gold Glove Awards to his name
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With a batting average of .262, he blasted 200 home runs during his career. Unfortunately, the legendary catcher passed away recently on August 2021.

13. Bill Dickey

Our next all time great catcher played in the MLB during the 1920s until 1940s. Bill Dickey was in the league for a total of 19 seasons.

Yet another Yankees legend, he spent his entire major league career with them. Dickey was purchased by the pinstripers from a minor league team in 1927.

Dickey joined the Yankess in 1927
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The eleven-time All-Star helped his team win seven World Series championships. For his exploits with the Yankees, the team retired his number 8 jersey and had him honored as a Monument park honoree.

Inducted into the baseball hall of fame in 1954, Dickey had a batting average of .313 and registered 202 home runs to his name.

12. Mike Piazza

Another great catcher we have on our list and claiming the number 12 spot is Mike Piazza. The 54 year old played for 16 seasons in the MLB.

Drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 62nd round via the 1988 MLB amateur draft, Piazza played for five teams during his career.

Piazza was the NL rookie of the year in 1993 thanks to his impressive showings in his first-ever season at the major league. The 12-time All-Star and the 10-time Silver Slugger Award winner has his number 31 jersey retired by the NY Mets. Mike is also inducted into their hall of fame.

Piazza was inducted into the baseball Hall of Fame in 2016
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With a batting average of .308, Piazza scored 427 home runs in his career. For his contribution to the game, he was inducted into the baseball hall of fame in 2016 as a fourth-ballot entry. 

11. Thurman Munson

New York Yankees standout player and star during the 70s era Thurman Munson has the 11th spot reserved for him on our list of greatest catchers.

Munson played in the league for just 11 seasons due to his untimely and unfortunate demise at the age of 32. However, during his short time in the league, he left an undeniable mark.

Drafted by the Yankees via the 1968 MLB draft as the fourth overall pick, he won the 1970 AL rookie of the year. Thurman went to the All-Star game seven times while helping his team win two World Series championships as a captain.

Munson led the Yankees to two World Series Win as their captain
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The three-time Gold Glove Award winner was also the AL MVP in 1976. Munson had a batting average of .292 and scored 113 home runs during his short career marred by tragedy.

Immediately upon his passing, the Yankees retired his number 15 jersey in his honor and dedicated his plaque at monument park.

10. Mickey Cochrane

Coming to the midway point of our list Mickey Cochrane takes the number 10 spot as the greatest catcher in baseball history.

Cochrane played in the league from 1925 until 1937. He only played for two teams in his entire career.

Mickey made his major league debut in April 1925, for the then MLB team Philadelphia Athletics, now identified as the Oakland Athletics. He left the Athletics to join the Detroit Tigers as their player manager in 1934.

The two-time world champion also won three World Series championships, including one with the Tigers as their player manager. With a batting average of .320, Cochrane has 119 home runs to his name.

Mickey Cochrane registered 119 home runs in his career
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Two-time AL MVP, Mickey was inducted into the baseball hall of fame in 1947. He is also a part of the Philadelphia baseball wall of fame and the Athletics hall of fame.

9. Buster Posey

legendary San Francisco Giant Buster Posey takes the number 9 spot on our greatest catchers list. Posey was in the league for 12 years.

Born as Gerald Dempsey Posey III in 1987, he is better known as Buster Posey. Posey was initially drafted in the 50th round of the 2005 MLB draft by the Los Angeles Angels. However, he decided to not sign a professional contract yet and decided to continue his studies.

Posey recently retired from the game in 2021
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He entered the draft again in 2008 and was drafted by the San Francisco Giants as the 5th overall pick. Gerald played out his entire major league career with the Giants.

The seven-time All-Star had a batting average of .302 and managed to smash 158 home runs. Having played his final game in October 2021, Posey helped his team win three World Series championships during his time there.

Buster was awarded the rookie of the year in 2010 and he went on to add one NL MVP, a 2016 Gold Glove Award, as well as five Silver Slugger Awards to his trophy self among many others.

8. Joe Mauer

With Joe Mauer at number 8 we have the first catcher to win three batting awards to his name. Mauer spent his entire 15 year career with Minnesota Twins.

Born on April 19, 1983, in Saint Paul, Minnesota, he had the opportunity to play for his hometown franchise. Aside from being a catcher, Mauer was also a first baseman.

Mauer played out his entire 15 year career with his hometown team, Twins
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Drafted by the Twins as the first overall pick via the 2001 amateur draft, he made his debut in April 2004. During his career, Joe was selected to the All-Star game six times and also won the 2009 AL MVP.

The three times Gold Glove Award winner and the five-time Silver Slugger Award winner, Mauer was also named AL batting champion on three occasions.

Having retired in 2018, his jersey number 7 has been retired by the Twin Cities team. 

7. Roy Campanella

Pennsylvania born Roy Campanella is the 7th pick for our greatest catchers in baseball history list. Apart from the MLB Roy also featured in other leagues.

Campanella spent his entire MLB career with the Brooklyn Dodgers from 1948 to 1957. He was an All-Star for eight years and helped his team win the 1955 World Series during this period.

The three-time NL MVP also was the NL RBI leader in 1953. Inducted into the baseball hall of fame in 1969, his jersey number 39 is retired by the Los Angeles Dodgers, then called the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Roy Campanella number 39 jersey is retired by the LA Dodgers
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Apart from the MLB, he also played for teams in Washington and Baltimore in other leagues and also played overseas in Venezuela. With a batting average of .283, he has 260 total home runs in his career.

6. Josh Gibson

Josh Gibson is regarded as one of the greatest baseball players of all time even though he never palyed a game in the MLB.

In a career spanning 16 years, he featured for five different teams. His most prominent stint was with the Pittsburgh Crawfords and the Homestead Grays.

Selected as an All-Star 12 times, he won the championship twice. Gibson had the Triple Crown twice in his career and was the National League batting champion thrice.

Josh Gibson played in the All Star game 12 times
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1972 baseball hall of fame inductee, he has also been inducted into the hall of fame of the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Ring of Honor of Washington Nationals.

With a batting average of .374, he had 165 home runs during his playing career.

5. Carlton Fisk

Entering the top 5 we have Carlton Fisk as the fifth greatest catcher of all time on our list. Fisk is the second highest home run hitter among catchers.

Fisk was the first player in league history to be named AL rookie of the year unanimously in 1972. He played for the Boston Red Sox and the Chicago White Sox during his career and had a legendary outing for both franchises.

11-time All-Star, Carlton was inducted into the baseball hall of fame in 2000. Fisk also has three Silver Slugger Awards to his name, along with the 1972 Gold Glove Award.

Red Sox legend Carlton Fisk was the first unanimous rookie of the year in 1972
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Both the Red Sox and White Sox retired his jersey in his honor. He is also in the Boston Red Sox hall of fame. With a batting average of .269, he has 376 home runs registered to his name, second all-time among catchers in MLB history.

Fisk also has a record for hitting most home runs after turning 40. He has 72.

4. Ivan Rodriguez

Coming in at number four on our list of the greatest catchers of all time is Ivan Rodriguez. Ivan Is of Puerto Rican nationality.

Rodriguez played for six different teams during his 21-year major league career. However, his most significant stint was with the Texas Rangers, for whom he played 13 years across two stints. Ivan also had a fruitful four years with the Detroit Tigers.

Ivan Rodriguez had his most significant spell with the Rangers
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The 14-time All-Star won his only World Series Championship with the Flordia Marlins, now known as Miami Marlins, in 2003. The 1999 AL MVP and the 2003 NLCS MVP was inducted into the baseball hall of fame in 2017.

Texas Rangers have retired the number 7 jersey to honor the 13 times Golden Glove Award and 7-time Silver Slugger Award-winning catcher. Rangers have Ivan in their hall of fame, and so does the Washington Nationals in their Ring of Honor for his time with the franchise in 2010-2011.

3. Gary Carter

The legendary Gary Carter is next on our list as one of the greatest catchers in baseball history.

During his 19 years in the league, the three times Gold Glove Award winner was selected to the All-Star team 11 times. Carter spent most of his impressive career with the Montreal Expos, the team that drafted him in 1972.

However, he won his only World Series championship with the Mets in 1986. Nonetheless, Gary is considered a legend throughout the league, and both the Expos and the Mets regard him for what he did. He was also considered a great offensive player with 324 home runs and a .262 batting average.

Carter won his only World Series with the Mets
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The five-time Silver Slugger Award winner is inducted into the NY Mets hall of fame while having his jersey retired by the Expos. The legendary catcher was finally inducted into the baseball hall of fame in 2003.

2. Yogi Berra

The penultimate pick for our greatest catchers lists before we reveal our number one pick is the late great Yogi Berra.

During his 19 years in the league as a player, Berra managed to feature in the All-Star game for 18 years. The St. Louis native played for the New York Yankees for the entirety of his career bar his last season, when he was with the Mets.

The 13-time World Series champion and the three-time AL MVP is regarded as one of the greatest Yankee and viewed as a paramount legend within the league.

Berra is regarded as one of the greatest Yankee to ever play
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Yogi has hit 358 home runs in his career and has a batting average of .285.

The 1972 baseball hall of fame inductee is also a part of the MLB all-century team. Not only was he a good catcher, but he was also a good hitter of the ball. Yogi registered 358 home runs during his playing tenure.

1. Johnny Bench

We've finally come to the end of our list, and the greatest catcher to ever grace the baseball pitch is undoubtedly the legendary Johnny Bench.

Born on December 7, 1947, as John Lee Bench, he is a former professional baseball player who played in the MLB for 17 seasons.

Drafted into the league by the Cincinnati Reds via the 1965 amateur draft, he played his entire league tenure with them. The 75-year-old Oklahoma native is regarded by many as the greatest catcher ever to play the game. He was so good in his first-ever year in the major league that he was recognized as the NL rookie of the year in 1968.

Johnny Bench is regarded as the greatest catcher to ever play the game
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During his 17-year-old career, Bench was selected for the All-Star game 14 times, including 13 straight years from 1968 to 1980. The two times World Series champion and 1976 World Series MVP also has two NL MVP awards to his name.

With a batting average of .267, Bench has 389 home runs registered to his name across his playing career.

Johnny had a sizeable impact on the game during his playing years, for which his iconic number 5 jersey has been retired by his team. The 10-time Gold Glove Award winner and the two-time NL home run leader was inducted into the baseball hall of fame in 1989 and had a spot on the MLB all-century team drafted in 1999.

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