Greatest Catcher of all time?

Discussion in 'Baseball' started by Babe_Ruth, Jan 22, 2009.

  1. Babe_Ruth

    Babe_Ruth Sultan of Swat Staff Member V.I.P.

    Alright I've done this in the past, but I am trying to revive this section and I got a few new members, so I would love to have their input as well.

    So were going to do every positions, hopefully we'll get enough participation to finish it.

    We start with the catcher position.

    Who do you think is the best catcher of all time? PLEASE EXPLAIN WHY YOU CHOSE THIS CATCHER OVER SOMEONE ELSE. Also please list the best season of the catcher you've selected.


  2. Millz

    Millz LGB Staff Member V.I.P.

    I'll jump in and go with Johnny Bench on this one. He might be the greatest defensive catcher of all time. When he retired he had more home runs then any catcher in history (389 Hrs) and was a proven clutch, playoff performer.

    He had a couple of eye-poping seasons with the Cincinnati Reds. For example: 1970, his third full season in the majors he hit a career best .293, a career best 45 home runs, and had a career best 148 rbis. (I am not counting his .309 average from 1981 due to lack of plate appearances) He wasnt the kind of guy who was going to beat you stealing bases but how many catchers could?

    The offensive numbers are pretty ridiculous for a catcher but look at the defense. He won an amazing 10 straight gold gloves from 1968 to 1977. At that position of so much wear and tear that is very impressive.

    Other notable accomplishments include:

    1968 Rookie of the Year
    1970 Most Valuable Player
    1972 Most Valuable Player
    1976 World Series MVP
    14 Time All-Star (13 straight)

    In all, Bench played in ten post-season series — four World Series and six NL playoff series. He hit at least one homer in every series but one. In 45 post-season games he drove in 20 runs.

    So in conclusion I think Johnny Bench was easily the best catcher in history because of his awesome offensive numbers and more importantly, his awesome defensive capabilities. He was clutch, he was a winner.
    Babe_Ruth likes this.
  3. Babe_Ruth

    Babe_Ruth Sultan of Swat Staff Member V.I.P.

    I think Johnny Bench is the guy. Great defensively, great offensively and was really one of first catchers to be both great at the plate and behind it. And of course, he was a tough guy. Most of you may know this story but a pitcher was getting annoyed at Bench for not allowing him to throw his fastball. Finally, Bench relented and caught the pitcher's fastball with his bare hands, just to prove his point.

    Piazza and Carter might be better offensively, and Pudge might have been be better defensively at his prime(which is debatable), but Bench had the best balance than anyone who has ever played.

    1972 was defenitely his best season, he finished with 40 home runs, 125 runs batted in finished with a batting average of .270. Slugging Percentage .541 and OPS of .166.

    Just incredible numbers all around.
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2009
  4. Ryuk

    Ryuk Registered Member

    Agree with everything noted above, it's Bench. Most pundits out there are going to say Piazza but there's one problem with that choice - as great a hitter as he was, he was a lousy catcher (and that's being kind).

    SHOELESSJOE3 Registered Member

    Not to take anything away from Piazza, a great hitting catcher but he played in an era that favored the hitter, more so then in the era Bench played in, suspect ball, lowest strike zone ever and expansion.

    Even if we put all of the above aside, when we say catcher we mean much more than hitting. John was and still is near the top of the list when we consider the term "catcher", throwing arm, calling a game and the role of a field general, John ranks high in all of those.
    He ranks high in a very important position on the field.
  6. Statman

    Statman New Member

    I love the accolades for Bench and I believe he is 2nd all-time. However I would put Yogi Berra first. The position demands natural leadership and his teams won 10 championships. That's pretty amazing. Not to mention his individual accomplishments (358 HR, 1430 RBI's and a .285 lifetime BA, along with his MVP's), really makes one pause to reflect just how good he is.
  7. Babe_Ruth

    Babe_Ruth Sultan of Swat Staff Member V.I.P.

    I consider Yogi Berra the second best catcher to play the game. Even though he has won more World Series then any other catcher, I still consider Bench a better overall catcher, especially on the defensive side. Also Yogi played on better teams then Bench did in my opinion. Bench played on good teams as well, but not like Berra.

    He was a great caller of the game, he rarely made bad decisions behind the plate, he also had a cannon of an arm. Compile all that with a good effensive game and great leadership, that makes for the best catcher to play the game in my opinion.

    Piazza was a good offensive catcher, but he wasn't all that great defensively, that's the only reason I don't put him on the top of my list. If we only looked at the best offensive catchers to ever play the game than Piazza would defenitely be on top, no questions ask.
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2009
  8. Millz

    Millz LGB Staff Member V.I.P.

    I'm with you in that I'd put Berra second. 10 Championships is ridiculous but there's a lot of luck in being on so many winners and being associated with so many other great players.
  9. Babe_Ruth

    Babe_Ruth Sultan of Swat Staff Member V.I.P.

    Congratulations to Johnny Bench, he's the best catcher of all time according to General Forum members.

    Thanks for the participation, now lets move on to Greatest First Baseman of all time.
  10. Rapier

    Rapier Registered Member V.I.P. Lifetime

    Berra by a MVP landslide. His votes for 7 straight years says it all.


    MVP (yr-lg-rk-shr)

    3 MVPs
    3.98 Career Shares (15th)


    MVP (yr-lg-rk-shr)
    2 MVPs
    2.77 Career Shares (41st)

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