While there are no Major League Baseball games taking place right now due to the coronavirus pandemic, sports media outlets have the luxury of reaching out to some of the league's best players for fun interviews. On Thursday, St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina told ESPN's Marly Rivera that he wants to be remembered as the greatest catcher to ever play baseball. While Molina is a solid catcher and a future Hall of Famer, he's never going to be known as the best of all time.
Here are six catchers who are better than Yadi.
6. Buster Posey
When it comes to the greatest catcher in the league currently, it's not Molina. It's Buster Posey of the San Francisco Giants. Posey made an immediate impact upon entering the league in 2009. He won the NL Rookie of the Year in 2010 and the 2012 NL MVP Award, while securing six All-Star Game nods and four Silver Slugger Awards. But perhaps more importantly, he's a three-time World Series champion, and he accomplished that feat by the age of 27. Oh, and he has a .302 batting average and .826 OPS throughout his entire career. Sorry Yadi, Buster's got you beat.
5. Carlton Fisk
Of course, we have to include "The Commander" on this list! Carlton Fisk became the prodigal son of the Boston Red Sox, since he grew up in New Hampshire. While he put up impressive hitting numbers, he's best known for his importance behind the plate. That's evidenced by his career WAR of 68.4, which only ranks lower than the likes of Johnny Bench, Ivan Rodriguez, and Gary Carter. Throughout his 24-year career, Fisk was named to the All-Star Game 11 times, won AL Rookie of the Year and Gold Glove honors in 1972, and received three Silver Sluggers. While he was never able to win a World Series with the Red Sox and Chicago White Sox, he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2000.
4. Mike Piazza
How can you not include the greatest hitting catcher of all time? Mike Piazza wasn't the greatest defensive player during his career, but he made up for it with his bat. In his 16-year career, Piazza holds a staggering .308 overall batting average and .922 OPS, along with 427 home runs and 1,335 RBI. Shockingly, he never won an MVP Award with those numbers. Even so, he was a fan favorite in the league, as evidenced by his 12 All-Star Game appearances. Not bad for a 62nd round pick in the 1988 MLB Draft.
3. Ivan Rodriguez
The last elite catcher before Buster Posey was Ivan Rodriguez. The man known as "Pudge" possessed superb hitting power, but also flashed some serious leather. In fact, he threw out over 50% of baserunners who tried to steal on him. That's 404 players! Rodriguez's 21-year career spanned across six teams, where he hit 311 home runs and 1,332 RBI on a .296 batting average. His trophy case includes a 2003 World Series title (with Florida Marlins), a 1999 AL MVP Award, 13 Gold Gloves, and seven Silver Sluggers. That's legendary stuff from the first ballot Hall of Famer.
2. Yogi Berra
Of course, this list wouldn't be complete without the most quotable catcher of all time, Yogi Berra. Many will remember him for his funny anecdotes and his television commercials. But man, was he a great ballplayer. Berra began his career with the New York Yankees in 1946, and, let's just say he had plenty of sips of champagne through his 19-year playing career. 10 World Series titles will definitely play a factor in that. Berra won the AL MVP three times (1951, 1954-55), while appearing in 18 All-Star Games! You simply can't deny that Berra was the most successful catcher in MLB history. It's not even a debate.
1. Johnny Bench
When it comes to all-around great catchers in baseball's illustrious history, Johnny Bench is that guy. Bench made a name for himself for his unorthodox catching stance. He would catch with his right arm behind his back, with the purpose of preserving it once he had to make a throw to the infield. The method worked for Bench, because his career lasted a full 17 years with the Cincinnati Reds. He was a key figure in the Reds' "Big Red Machine" days. He would bat cleanup behind Pete Rose and Joe Morgan because he could easily clear the bases. Bench posted a .269 batting average and .812 OPS throughout his career, along with 389 home runs and 1,376 RBI. Additionally, Bench won two World Series titles (1975-76), a World Series MVP (1976), 10 Gold Gloves, two NL MVP Awards (1970. 1972), and the 1968 NL Rookie of the Year Award. Make no mistake about it, Johnny Bench is the GOAT.