The 9 Best Catchers of All Time

There are only 18 Major League Baseball (MLB) catchers in the Hall of Fame but true baseball fans know the list of the best catchers of all time is much longer. Many famous catchers are remembered for their role in leading their teams to victory. Some excel more at the plate than the field, and vice versa, but the top catchers of all time have been great no matter their position. Below is a compilation of who we consider the best catchers in MLB history.

1. Johnny Bench

When a player is elected to the Hall of Fame on the first ballot, you know he is considered one of the greatest catchers of all time. Many consider Johnny Bench the best catcher in MLB history. A 16-year career (1967 – 1983) with the Cincinnati Reds saw Johnny Bench inducted as a Hall of Famer in 1989. The ‘“Little General” of the Big Red Machine led his team to two World Series wins in the mid-70s and in the process collected two NL MVP awards, 14 selections to the All-Star Game, 10 Gold Gloves and a Rookie of the Year award. ... Read More

Baseball All Star Games Favorite Moments

Of all the All-Star games, I enjoy watching baseball’s version the best. I’ve been fortunate to attend eight of the Mid-Summer Classics. It’s very exciting to see all of the current stars on the field at once.

Nothing will compare to last year’s All Star game in New York, which will go down in history as one of the all-time greats. First of all, anytime you have a big event in New York, it’s going to be special. Secondly, the night was filled with tributes to Yankee Stadium, which was being closed at season’s end to make room for the new ballpark next door. Lastly, the game was an absolute classic with the American League defeating the National League, 4-3, in 15 innings. The game took 4 hours, 50 minutes and was the longest All-Star Game in history.

Commissioner Bud Selig and Major League Baseball have attempted to make the game relevant by giving home-field advantage during the World Series to the winning league. Back in the day, the game was full of intensity and it really meant something to the winning players. Over time, the game’s importance diminished as it became more of a show than a game. You hear a lot of debate as to whether this is good or not. Personally, I think it would be more fair to give the team with the best record home-field advantage but I don’t have much of an issue since it’s brought a bit of intensity back to the game.

A few of my favorite moments from previous All-Star games…

1) In 1970, Pete Rose, playing at home in Cincinnati, attempted to score but had to get past catcher Ray Fosse. The ensuing collision not only helped solidify Rose’s reputation as “Charlie Hustle”, it had the unfortunate consequence of injuring Fosse’s shoulder. Rose was called safe at home and the National League won the thriller, 5 -4. Fosse went onto play nine more seasons but was never the same.

2) In 2001, Cal Ripken Jr. played in the last of his 19 All-Star games. The game was basically a Cal Ripken lovefest. In the third inning, Ripken made his first plate appearance and was greeted with a standing ovation. Ripken then homered off the first pitch from Chan Ho Park and ended up with All Star MVP honors.

3)  In 1999, baseball honored the All-Century Team prior to the game at Fenway Park, with such greats on-hand as Mike Schmidt, Brooks Robinson, Bob Gibson and Johnny Bench. However, the highlight of the evening occurred when the great Ted Williams was driven out to home plate and threw out the first pitch with the help of Tony Gwynn.

Will this year’s game produce any classic moments? I can’t guarantee that. However, St. Louis is rolling out the red carpet and, at the very least, I’m sure the pre-game ceremony will produce a goose-bump moment or two. Plus, Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols is having one of the greatest years in the history of baseball, so I assume he’s going to be a big part of the game and broadcast.

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