15 Best MLB Catchers of All Time

Baseball is the 7th most popular sport in the world. In terms of sheer popularity, it is more popular than Golf and American football. Added to that, MLB is one of the oldest professional leagues in the world.

Even though the catcher’s job seems easy, you might know about the pressure on them. The best MLB catchers have to crouch behind the batter and catch the ball for almost every delivery.

MLB catcher (Source: Wikimedia.com)

The easier it seems, the tougher it is. That’s why there are very few best MLB catchers of all time. Plus, the nature of the game has also changed a lot. New types of pitches are being thrown; the speed has also increased.

The best MLB catchers of all time adjusted themselves according to the demand of the game and made a name for themselves.

15 Best MLB Catchers of All Time

The list was prepared using different sites such as Ranker and ESPN. The stats of the player were picked from Baseballreference.

RankPlayersTeams
15Joe MauerMinnesota Twins
14Buster PoseySan Francisco Giants
13Thurman MunsonNew York Yankees
12Jorge PosadaNew York Yankees
11Ernie LombardiBrooklyn Robins, Cincinnati Reds, Boston Braves, and New York Giants
10Bill DickeyNew York Yankees
9Mickey CochranePhiladelphia Athletics, and Detroit Tigers
8Josh GibsonRed Sox, Grays, Crawfords
7Gary CarterMontreal Expos, New York Mets
6Ivan RodriguezTexas Rangers, Detroit Tigers, Washington Nationals
5Mike PiazzaLos Angeles Dodgers, New York Mets
4Carlton FiskBoston Red Sox, Chicago White Sox
3Roy CampanellaWashington Elite Giants and Brooklyn Dodgers
2Yogi BerraNew York Yankees and New York Mets
1Johnny BenchCincinnati Reds

15. Joe Mauer

Minnesota Twins catcher Joe Mauer is one of the best MLB catchers of all time. The Six-time All-Star player has also won the Golden Globe award three times.

Most catchers are not very good batters. It’s also because they are specialized catchers.

However, he has won 5 Silver Slugger awards along with 3 batting titles. Most importantly, he won the Most Valuable Player award in 2009. Since then, no other catcher has won this award.

Joe’s batting average was .306. It’s a pretty good batting average for a catcher.

Read more about the 12 Best MLB Records of all Time.

14. Buster Posey

The San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey is another multi-talented catcher. Even though he is a catcher, he is also an excellent first baseman.

The seven times All-Star catcher has won the World Series Championship 3 times. In all these wins, he played a significant role.

For Posey, his best season till now was in 2012. In 2012, Posey helped his team to win World Series Championship while also winning the Most Valuable Player award.

Bosey is still playing the MLB at the age of 35. So he is an inspiration to most players, and let’s not forget about the batting average of .304.

13. Thurman Munson 

The New York Yankees are the legendary team within MLB. Thurman Munson was a legendary catcher who played for the Yankees from 1969 to 1979.

The 7 times All-Star player was also part of the 2 World Series Championship. Apart from that, he also won the Most Valuable Player award in 1976.

Similarly, he also won the Gold Glove Award three times. Munson also became the caption of the Yankees from 1976 to 1979. He was also an excellent captain as the team won two World Series Championships under his captaincy.

However, his batting average was in the low .292. Sadly, he died in 1979 at the age of 32.

12. Jorge Posada

As discussed above, the Yankees are one of the outstanding teams of MLB. They constantly find great players.

Jorge Posada is another great catcher from the Yankees stable. The 5 times All-Star Posada has won 5 Silver Slugger awards.

Jorge Posada on the field (Source: Wikimedia.com)

Posada was also a key player in winning of 4 World Series Championship. Jorge was a part of the “Core Four” player. He made his debut in 1995 but became regular in 1999.

There are only 5 catchers in the MLB with at least 1,500 hits and 275 home runs. Posada is the one among them.

11. Ernie Lombardi

In this list of best MLB catchers of all time, there are catchers from the early 20th century as well. For example, Ernie Lombardi played as a catcher for four different teams. 

Lombardi played for Brooklyn Robins, Cincinnati Reds, Boston Braves, and New York Giants. His best performance was during his stay with the Reds.

The 8 times All-Star catcher won the batting title two times. In addition, from 1936 to 1940, he was selected for the All-Star Game. Apart from that, he also won the Most Valuable Player award in 1938.

His batting average was .306, and he hit a total of 190 home runs in his career. In 1986 he was included in the baseball Hall of Fame.

Read more about 10 Shortes MLB Home Runs of the Current Year.

10. Bill Dickey

Another player from the early 20th century is Bill Dickey. Bill has an incredible record. He was selected to the All-Star games 11 times.

Bill’s career span is more than two decades. He played from 1928 to 1943. Then, he returned to New York Yankees as a coach.

Incredibly in 1946, he was also the coach and the player for the Yankees. Bill managed to perform well and be included in the All-Star even while managing the team.

As a player, he won the 7 World Series Championship. The Yankees won every year from 1936 to 1939. They were simply the best.

Later, he also helped Yogi Berra, another great catcher of all time in the MLB.

9. Mickey Cochrane

To earn the Most Valuable Player award as a catcher is rare. However, Mickey Cochrane won two Most Valuable Player awards in his career.

He played only 2 All-Star games. But that’s because the All-Star games started in 1933. So, he made the cut next year even though it was towards the end of his career.

In 1947 Mickey was included in the baseball Hall of Fame. During his career, he won 3 World Series championships. Interestingly, he won World Series with both the teams Philadelphia Athletics and Detroit Tigers.

8. Josh Gibson

During the 1930s, there were few baseball players from the African American community. Instead, the African-Americans played in the Negro league. Josh Gibson also mainly played in the Negro leagues.

The Negro league was baseball for the African-American community. There he played for different teams such as Memphis Red Sox, Homestead Grays, and Pittsburgh Crawfords.

Josh was selected for the 12 All-Star games. Apart from that, he also won 2 Negro World Series. His batting average was .359.

7. Gary Carter

The 11 times All-Star player Gary Cater is one of the legends of the MLB. In his 19 year career, he won the Golden Globe award three times.

Apart from that, he also won the Silver Slugger Award 5 times. In addition, he won a World Series with New York Mets. Carter was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2003.

6. Ivan Rodriguez

Ivan Rodriguez is often regarded as one of the best MLB catchers of all time. His stats also support the claim. 

He won the 12 Gold Gloves awards. Apart from that, he has won the Most Valuable Player award for both the American League and the National League.

Pudge Rodriguez during a game (Source: Wikimedia.com)

The 14 times All-Star player won his first World Series Championship in 2003 with the Detroit Tigers.

Ivan also has the highest catches in MLB, with 2,427 catches. His batting average was .296.

5. Mike Piazza

Now, it’s turn for the top 5 best MLB catchers of all time. At 5 there is Mike Piazza. Over his career, Piazza had a batting average of .308.

During his career, he won 10 Silver Slugger awards while playing as a catcher. He mostly played for Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets.

In his first year, he won the Rookie of the Year award. Then, for 10 continuous years from 1993 to 2002, he was selected for the All-Star matches.

Mike also holds the record for the most home runs by a catcher. He has hit 427 home runs in his career.

Read more about The 12 Most MLB Hits of All Time.

4. Carlton Fisk

This legendary catcher’s name has already come up even while discussing other players. It is impossible to talk about catchers without mentioning Carlton Fisk.

He has the second-highest number of catches along with the second-highest number of home runs. For the longest period, he was the one with all the highest stats.

Carlton Fisk Hall of Fame legend (Source: Instagram)

The 11 times All-Star player won a Gold Glove award. Apart from that, he also won 3 Silver Slugger awards. Fisk’s batting average was .269.

In 2000 he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Fisk was also nicknamed “Pudge” as he was a bit chubby. In 1972 he was voted unanimously as the Rookie of the Year.

3. Roy Campanella

There were legendary players in the Negro league as well. One such player is Roy Campanella. However, he played for both Negro league and MLB.

From 1937 to 1945, he played for the Washington Elite Giants. Then from 1948 to 1957, he played for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Unfortunately, his career ended due to an accident. After the accident, he was paralyzed.

In the MLB, he was one of the best catchers. The 8 times All-Star Roy won the 3 Most Valuable Player awards. In 1955 he helped his team to win a World Series also.

He won three World Series in the Negro league also. However, because of the lack of data, we can’t tell just how good he was. For all, we know maybe he was even better in the Negro league.

In 1969 he was included in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

2. Yogi Berra

During his initial years in the Yankees, the legendary Bill Dickey trained him. Yogi Berra was good even before that, but after that, he just became the best.

In his career spanning 19 seasons, he played the All-Star games 18 times. Apart from that, Yogi also won the Most Valuable Player award 3 times.

There are only six players with 3 MVP wins and very few with 18 All-Star records. That alone makes him the top of the class.

As a player, he won the World Series 10 times. Even as a coach, he won the World Series 3 times. Let’s say that he won everything that a coach or a player could win the MLB.

1. Johnny Bench

The best MLB catcher of all time is Johnny Bench. It’s not a surprise to many. He won 2 MVP awards along with MVP at the World Series games.

Apart from that, he won 10 Gold Glove awards. In addition to that, he was the home run reader 2 times and 3 times RBI leader.

Johnny Bench after MLB game (Source: Wikimedia.com)

It’s tough to top that. Even though he was always splendid, Bench was great in the 70s. He won two MVP awards and 2 World Series in the decade.

In 1989 he was included in the Baseball Hall of Fame on the first ballot itself. He received a 96.42% vote.

Conclusion

These players are an inspiration to all baseball fans. However, non-baseball fans can also learn a lot from these players.

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