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Greatest Catchers of All Time - NBC Sports

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#1 Curt

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 02:53 PM

http://nbcsports.msn...=1

Pretty good choices but I got to the end and had to go through the list again to see if I just missed Roy Campanella. No, they did. Fail.

#2 Bark's Lounge

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 03:01 PM

http://nbcsports.msn...=1

Pretty good choices but I got to the end and had to go through the list again to see if I just missed Roy Campanella. No, they did. Fail.


It seems that NBS Sports dropped the ball on this one. Campanella in my opinion is better than at least a few on their list.

#3 nicksaviking

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 03:21 PM

I don't think I've ever heard a best catcher discussion where Campanella wasn't named. I'm guessing whoever compiled the list forgot him all together rather than purposfully omitted him because it's not like they left off his contemporaries in favor of new athletes. Campanella is easily top five on every other list.

#4 J-Dog Dungan

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 03:50 PM

I think Campanella could have replaced any of the last three on this list except for Johnny Bench.

#5 one_eyed_jack

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 04:04 PM

These lists are always fun. The Campanella exclusion is inexcusable. A few other guys you could make good arguments for: Ted Simmons, Elston Howard and, much as I hate to admit it, Jorge Posada

#6 Bark's Lounge

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 04:50 PM

Besides Campy being omitted, you would think that Gabby Hartnett would at least trump Rick Ferrell. They played during the same time and Hartnett was essentially the first power hitting catcher.

#7 jokin

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 05:01 PM

[quote name='Bark's Lounge;23618]Besides Campy being omitted' date=' you would think that Gabby Hartnett would at least trump Rick Ferrell. They played during the same time and Hartnett was essentially the first power hitting catcher.[/QUOTE']

Major miss on Gabby. Ferrell got in to the HOF on longevity. His own brother, Wes, a pitcher, outhit Rick: OPS .797 vs OPS .741 and Wes outslugged Rick in homers 38 to 28.

Hartnett OPS .859 with 236 HR.

#8 Bark's Lounge

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 06:59 PM

Major miss on Gabby. Ferrell got in to the HOF on longevity. His own brother, Wes, a pitcher, outhit Rick: OPS .797 vs OPS .741 and Wes outslugged Rick in homers 38 to 28.

Hartnett OPS .859 with 236 HR.


Good call on Wes. I knew he was a fairly decent pitcher in the 30's, but no clue on his batting. After checking out his lifetime hitting stats I imagine he has to be one of the better hitting pitchers of all time.

#9 Thrylos

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 07:31 PM

[quote name='Bark's Lounge;23642]Good call on Wes. I knew he was a fairly decent pitcher in the 30's' date=' but no clue on his batting. After checking out his lifetime hitting stats I imagine he has to be one of the better hitting pitchers of all time.[/QUOTE']

That would be a fun list with the Sultan of the Swat right on top.
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#10 Bark's Lounge

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 09:56 PM

That would be a fun list with the Sultan of the Swat right on top.


Obviously the Bambino would be far and away #1. I agree, that would be a fun list.

#11 Curt

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Posted 09 June 2012 - 07:00 AM

That would be a fun list with the Sultan of the Swat right on top.


I'm not nominating him for #2 but Ken Brett, George's brother, was a good hitter: .262/.291/.406 with 10 homers and spent the last half of his career in the DHing AL. He hit four homers in '73 for the Phillies and hit .310 the next year for the Pirates.

#12 Riverbrian

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Posted 10 June 2012 - 11:11 PM

Any list like this would have to be considered for how the player compared to other players of his ERA. Why do I say that... It simple. The greatest catcher of all time is playing right now. Decide who the best catcher is today and he is the best catcher of all time. The talent level has advanced so much as the years go by. The old timers on this list didn't have to face 93 MPH sinkers and the exploding sliders that long relievers on teams have today. Back in the old days. Pitchers threw until they were gassed and then they threw some more. If a Pitcher threw 90 MPH and straight back in the old days you gave him a nickname and sang songs about him. Watch the old tape... Pitchers pitched without mechanics and hitters had hitches. If Babe Ruth was transported forward and playing today... He'd be Jack Cust. This may freak you out but if you transported Nick Punto and his skill set back to the 1910's. He'd make people forget about Ty Cobb. The Nick Punto card would be sought after. The players are simply way better now and they are going to be even better in the future.

#13 Turd Furgeson

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 08:59 AM

I agree with some of that, but think some of it is way off. I do think pitchers pitch a bit faster now with an improvement in mechanics but there have been outliers in the past. Nolan Ryan was pitching in the 70s with a 100 mph fastball. Bob Feller was recorded at something like 98 MPH at home plate, which means he was probably throwing 100 mph, because today pitches are clocked from the point the ball is released at the pitchers hand. While the league, and players evolve and the league has improved because talent is being infused from all over the world rather than being exclusive to white people very early on. Athletes aren't rapidly evolving over the years. That said, I have no doubt that Babe Ruth would be a hell of a slugger today, and Ted Williams would be amazing. The only way to truly judge players today and of the past is to judge them based on how dominant they were in their own era. That doesn't mean the players of today are inherently better because this is the current era.

#14 Riverbrian

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 10:43 PM

I agree with the part that you agree with me on. I disagree with the part that you disagree with me on. You have a well thought out post. With all due respect. Babe Ruth didnt have to face a 6th inning RP guy who is the 12th pitcher of 12 on the roster yet still throws harder with break on his fastball then The top pitcher Babe Ruth had to face. If Babe Ruth was playing today with his 1920 talent. He would be whiffing on strike 3 at an alarming rate, Ruth was facing 80's heat frequently and the ball was straight. He was facing guys who were on their 27th inning on the mound in a weeks time. No Closers with triple digits or sliders at 90 plus. Ruth would still hit the ball a long way but Ruth got a lot of cookies. Bob Feller was amazing for his era but Feller didn't have to face the talent level of today's lineup. The stats can be comparable but the in no way did the 8th hitter of the 40s Pirates compare to the 8th hitter of today. Not even close. Those 1940 coaches didn't sit with stop watches in the dugout trying time the release. They didnt breakdown mechanics because the mechanics sucked, that's why someone like Ted Williams with good mechanics could hit .400. He was a rare player facing cookies. Ted Williams didn't always face Bob Gibson and Bob Feller. He also got to face a bunch of guys who wouldn't even get drafted today let alone make a MLB roster. Ben Revere would have stolen 3rd base from 1st base by the time Juan Marichel lead foot came down from that goofy delivery. Players are rapidly developing and if they are not. We should all just go home and quit trying to get better. Everything in life gets better over time. The gloves are better... The coaches are better. The medical training is better. You have the color barrier broken and the world combed over like you said plus you have players like Bryce Harper bred and trained since he was knee high. Someone invented a television when there wasnt one before. Phones used to be stuck to a wall and now it's in my pocket. People didnt know that smoking or asbestos caused cancer but they learned that it does and that's progress and some day some one will cure cancer and we will put a man on mars. I cant except your premise that baseball is not capable of advancement and improvement like every other walk of life. The greatest Catcher of all time is playing right now.

#15 Turd Furgeson

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Posted 12 June 2012 - 08:28 AM

Ultimately baseball is a game that relies on strength, contact skills, running ability, agility etc. All physical and athletic traits, and those traits are not rapidly evolving. So the argument about the invention of cell phones and what not is frivelous. Talking on the phone is not a measure of athletic ability. The differences are slight, in the way that people throw and the way that people swing the bat, the gloves people use to catch the ball (which was a bit more major) and on and on. So who is the greatest catcher of all-time. Since you are certain that he's playing today, who is it? I'd assume it was Joe Mauer a few years ago but that can't be true anymore. Who is it now? Will it be the same guy three years from now? The greatest should be determined by how well they did compared to the rest of the people they played with. That's the best way to judge talent, IMO.

#16 CDog

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Posted 12 June 2012 - 08:46 AM

Riverbrian, you are almost certainly correct in that players have gotten better nearly coninuously. Physical tools and training and conditioning and all of that have improved over the years. But if we're playing the imaginary game of plopping a player into a different era, isn't it also easy to imagine if that person also had the training and conditioning and equipment as the players from that era?

#17 Curt

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Posted 12 June 2012 - 09:11 AM

If plucked from 1936 by a time machine, Jesse Owens would finish last in this summer's Olympic games. That is irrelevant. If he was born in 1990, he would be right at the top. Many years after he retired, Ty Cobb was asked what he would hit if he were playing today. He replied, "About .300." Why so low? "Well, remember, I am seventy years old now."

#18 snepp

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Posted 12 June 2012 - 09:15 AM

What about tightly wound baseballs? Thinner bat handles? Smaller parks? Better training and conditioning? Not everything would be more difficult for hitters.

#19 Boom Boom

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Posted 12 June 2012 - 09:47 AM

The greatest Catcher of all time is playing right now.



You mean Mauer, right?

This is no slam on Mauer, but the other guys on that list - who played under the different circumstances you outlined - caught more often than Mauer. And the rigors of catching is one aspect of baseball that has remained fairly constant - except for the improved body armor that Mauer is lucky enough to have access to.

#20 CDog

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Posted 12 June 2012 - 10:36 AM

the other guys on that list - who played under the different circumstances you outlined - caught more often than Mauer.


Not all of them and not by all that much. Most had their injury issues or transitioned away from catching or both. We don't know what will happen from here on with Mauer's career, but up to this point he's actually caught more innings per year played and in at least part of more games per year played than a couple of guys on the list and isn't all that far behind others. He's about in the middle for %Innings Played at catcher (compared to other positions). Probably could get a lot deeper into that to do better analysis (like trimming off early years of guys' careers where they weren't really full-time major leaguers or starters, etc).

#21 Fire Dan Gladden

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Posted 12 June 2012 - 11:42 AM

I think Mauer has earned to right of being called "best catcher currently playing today". He has been a fairly durable catcher with mounds of strong numbers to support it. As for best of all time, I think he needs a couple more high production years before he could be in the discussion of top 10 (longevity factors into this discussion, IMO). It will be interesting to see how long the over-cautious Twins are willing to keep him there...

#22 CDog

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Posted 12 June 2012 - 12:58 PM

I think Mauer has earned to right of being called "best catcher currently playing today". He has been a fairly durable catcher with mounds of strong numbers to support it. As for best of all time, I think he needs a couple more high production years before he could be in the discussion of top 10 (longevity factors into this discussion, IMO). It will be interesting to see how long the over-cautious Twins are willing to keep him there...


Interested if you mean he's right this second the best catcher or if you mean of catchers that are currently active, he's had the best career so far. I think one of those is a debate, while the other is definitely true.

Also agree that longevity counts and was surprised, because of that, that the linked item had Mauer that high. In theory, he could have caught his last game. Of course, he could also get back there much more often than he has this year (I think a lot of his 1B time was based on Morneau not being there every day wayyyy back in the early season) and certainly more than last year. But the fact that he's only in Year 9 did make me think he wouldn't be that high (yet).

#23 DAM DC Twins Fans

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Posted 12 June 2012 - 01:17 PM

I dont think Gary Carter and Joe Mauer belong on that list Obviously, Campy and Gabby Hartnett do probably also Ernie Lombardi former Giant C. If Mauer stays at C for another 2-3 years and remains bealthy--both big IFs--then consider him. Johnny Bench is the best C of all-time. Probably Campy number 2--but that may be my Brooklyn Dodger (team I rooted for as kid) bias.