MLB’s Best Catchers of All Time

- September 3, 2023

One of the most demanding positions on the baseball field, and possibly the most taxing one, is the catcher position. However, over the history of Major League Baseball, many great catchers have put together Hall of Fame careers, racking up both offensive and defensive statistics while earning the ‘best catchers of all time’ title. 

Ours includes catchers who were difficult to steal against and others who could hit the home run with the best hitters in baseball during their playing days.

One name that stands out is the great Johnny Bench. While some consider Bench the best catcher in baseball history, the long-time Cincinnati Reds catcher deserves to be mentioned among the all-time greats to play the game. Other MLB catchers joining the Bench among the All-Time Great MLB Catchers rankings include Ivan Rodriguez, Mike Piazza, and Yogi Berra.

The best catchers to play baseball each played the position at a high level night in and night out, handling their performance and that of the pitcher. With no further ado, here is a look at the 10 best catchers of all time.

10 Best MLB Catchers of All Time

1. Johnny Bench

Former Team: Cincinnati Reds

Bench is considered the best catchers of all time. He played his entire MLB career with the Cincinnati Reds, built a Hall of Fame resume behind the plate at catcher, making his MLB debut during the 1967 MLB season, winning 10 Gold Glove Awards from the 1968 MLB season to the 1977 MLB Season. 

A vital member of the Big Reds Machine, Bench could handle any pitching staff thrown at him while helping the Reds to win two World Series Championships. Bench finished his career at the plate among the best MLB catchers in home runs with 389, hits with 2,048, and runs batted in with 1,376.

His production at the plate earned Bench two NL MVP Awards, a World Series MVP Award, and the 1968 NL Rookie of the Year Award.

2. Ivan Rodriguez

Former Team: Texas Rangers, Florida Marlins, Detroit Tigers, New York Yankees, Houston Astros, Washington Nationals

Another great catcher, Ivan Rodriguez slides in just behind Johnny Bench as the 2nd best catchers of all time. Rodriguez, known by many as Pudge, put together a Hall of Fame career while batting .296 at the plate with 2,844 hits, 311 home runs, and 1332 runs batted in.

While his production at the plate earned him seven Silver Slugger Awards and the 1999 AL MVP, his play behind the plate ranked among the best in the history of baseball.

Pudge took home 13 Gold Glove Awards over his MLB career while helping the Florida Marlins win the 2003 World Series Championship.

While it is not a stat that is talked about, Pudge threw out 45.68 percent of the base stealers attempting to swipe a bag on him.

3. Mike Piazza

Former Team: Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Mets, Florida Marlins, San Diego Padres, Oakland A’s

Possibly the most feared power hitter among all Major League baseball catchers is the Baseball Hall of Famer Mike Piazza. While Josh Gibson of the Negro League is maybe the best-hitting catcher of all time, he did not get the opportunity of many to produce or play in Major League Baseball. 

Piazza, the 12-time All-Star, finished his career with a career .308 batting average mark, with 2,127 hits, 427 home runs, and 1,335 runs batted in. In addition, Piazza took home the 1993 NL Rookie of the Year Award while earning 10 Silver Slugger Awards as the best-hitting catcher from 1993 to 2002.

His performance on the field earns him a spot on the 10 best catchers of all time rankings.

4. Yogi Berra

Former Team: New York Yankees, New York Mets

Yogi Berra may well land at the top of the list depending on how you rank the catchers based on their performance and what statistics and accolades account for the most input.

The long-time New York Yankees catcher was an all-around great catcher who commanded a pitching staff as well as he could swing the bat among a lethal-hitting Yankees lineup.

Behind the plate, Berra was catching during Don Larsen’s perfect game in the World Series. Over his career, Berra racked up 2,150 hits, 358 home runs, 1,430 runs batted in, and a career .285 batting average.

His play behind the plate and in the field earned Berra 18 selections to the AL All-Star team, as well as helping the Yankees win 13 World Series Championships.

5. Roy Campanella

Former Team: Brooklyn Dodgers

After starting his baseball career in both the Mexican League and the Negro Leagues, Roy Campanella made the transition to the Brooklyn Dodgers minor league system in 1946.

Just two years later, Campanella broke into the majors with the Dodgers and never looked back. Campanella would play 10 years with the Dodgers while putting together a solid MLB career over that time frame.

The Dodgers catcher racked up eight All-Star appearances to go along with three NL MVP Awards while helping the Dodgers win the 1955 World Series Championship.

Campanella finished his MLB career with a .276 batting average, with 242 home runs, 856 runs batted in, and 1,161 career hits.

6. Carlton Fisk

Former Team: Boston Red Sox, Chicago White Sox

While one Pudge lands at number two, the other Pudge lands at number six among the best catchers of all time rankings list. This Pudge is the former Boston Red Sox and Chicago White Sox All-Star catcher Carlton Fisk.

Fisk finished his MLB career as an 11-time AL All-Star, taking home one Gold Glove Award and the 1972 AL Rookie of the Year Award.

Fisk, known for his game-winning home run during the 1975 World Series as he used his hands to try and push the ball fair, put together a strong career filled with accolades.

He finished his career with a career .269 batting average to go along with 376 home runs, 2,356 hits, and 1,330 runs batted in and being selected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2000.

7. Buster Posey

Former Team: San Francisco Giants

One of the youngest players to land on the list of the top catchers to play the game of baseball in Major League Baseball is the former San Francisco Giants All-Star Buster Posey.

When healthy, the Giants catcher was both a solid defensive catcher and a good hitter. Posey, who spent his entire 12-year Major League Baseball career with the Giants, finished with a long list of accolades, including winning three World Series Championships, making seven All-Star teams, winning the 2012 NL MVP Award, and taking home the 2010 NL MVP Award.

In addition, Posey won one Gold Glove Award while taking home five Silver Slugger Awards for the best-hitting catcher in the National League.

The long-time Giants catcher finished his career with a .302 batting average, with 158 home runs and 729 runs batted in.

8. Gary Carter

Former Team: Montreal Expos, New York Mets, San Francisco Giants, Los Angeles Dodgers

One of the most popular catchers in the game during his playing days and a true fan favorite was the former New York Mets catcher Gary Carter.

Carter, who brought an entirely different approach to baseball, landed his nickname “The Kid” based on that approach.

Carter spent 19 seasons in the Majors playing for five teams, including the Mets, who he helped lead to the 1986 World Series Championship.

Carter was a three-time Gold Glove Award winner and an 11-time All-Star while posting a career .262 batting average with 324 home runs and 2,092 career hits.

His play on the field ranks Gary Carter among the best catchers of all time while eventually earning a spot in the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2003.

9. Joe Mauer

Former Team: Minnesota Twins

If you’re looking for a solid all-around catcher and catcher who could hit for average and drive in runs while also playing well behind the plate, Joe Mauer is that catcher.

The Minnesota Twins great, who played all 15 MLB seasons with the Minnesota Twins, spent the primary portion of his career playing catcher for the only team he would call team.

Mauer finished his career with a career .306 batting average over those 15 MLB seasons while taking home five Silver Slugger Awards, three Gold Glove Awards, and earning six selections to the AL All-Star team.

In addition, Mauer led the AL in batting in three different seasons while finishing with 2,123 hits and 143 home runs over his MLB career.

10. Yadier Molina

Former Team: St. Louis Cardinals

His career just ended, but Yadier Molina still makes it as one of the best catchers of all time. The long-time St. Louis Cardinals catcher ranked among the best defensive catchers in all of baseball during his career and across the history of Major League Baseball.

Molina’s defensive abilities earned him nine Gold Glove Awards, including eight straight from the 2008 MLB season to the 2015 MLB season, with his last coming in 2018. His play behind the plate helped the Cardinals win two World Series Championships.

Molina finishes his career as one of the top catchers all time while posting a .277 career batting average to go along with 2,168 hits, 176 home runs, 1,022 runs batted in, and 10 All-Star selections.

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