Catchers with 3,000 + Hits
One of the most elite clubs in Major League Baseball (MLB) is the 3,000 hit club.
It takes incredible talent, perseverance, grit, and consistency - not to mention good health - to make it to that number.
In the history of the national pastime, only 33 players were able to do it (through April of 2022).
We previously detailed in a different article all the catchers in baseball history to surpass 2,000 career hits.
But have any catchers reached the 3,000 hit milestone?
What's Your Definition of a Catcher?
The answer to the question of "have any catchers had 3,000 hits?" is not as straightforward as it may seem. It actually depends on your definition of a catcher.
If to you a catcher means any current or former MLB player who has played in one or more defensive games as a catcher, then yes, there have been two catchers to collect more than 3,000 career hits (more on who they are later).
However, if your perspective is that a catcher is only someone who played the majority of their games in the MLB behind the plate, then no, using this definition there have been no catchers to reach 3,000 hits.
"Career" Catchers and 2,000 Hits
For those catchers who played the majority of their defensive games behind the dish, none have gotten to 3,000 lifetime hits.
The closest to reach that mark was Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez, who amassed 2,844 hits over his 21 year career.
In total, there are 13 catchers (who played the majority of their big league careers as a catcher) who have had more than 2,000 hits, but none of them got to 3,000.
For much more detail on those 13 catchers with 2,000 or more hits, click HERE.
Part-Time Catchers With 3,000 Hits
Of the 33 MLB players to be in the 3,000 hit club, only two played big league games as a catcher.
Those two men are Cap Anson and Craig Biggio.
Arguably the best hitter of the 19th century, Cap Anson enjoyed a 27 year professional career that started at the age of 19 for the Rockford Forest Citys of the National Association.
He then moved on to the Philadelphia Athletics, where he stayed for four seasons.
In 1876, Anson joined the new National League and began playing for the Chicago White Stockings, who - despite the name - are actually the ancestors of the Chicago Cubs franchise.
He spent the rest of his playing career with the White Stockings (later called the Chicago Colts), and a significant part of that time he served as a player manager of the team.
As a side note, Anson was an excellent manager. In total, he had a 1295 - 947 managerial record over his career, good for a .578 winning percentage.
As a player, the vast majority of the professional games that Anson appeared in were spent as a first baseman.
However, Anson did appear in 105 professional games as a catcher, which comes out to about 4.5% of his total defensive games.
The interesting thing to me is that he seemed to consistently play a few games behind the plate almost every season - not just in his earlier years! Even up to his final playing season, in 1897 (at age 45), Anson still caught 11 games.
In total, Anson had a 39% caught stealing percentage (or CS%), 107 assists and 290 putouts as a catcher.
From an offensive perspective, he hit .334, won four batting titles, stole 277 bases, exceeded 2,000 career RBIs and collected 3,435 lifetime hits.
In 1939, Anson was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame by the Old Timers Committee.
Craig Biggio broke into the big leagues in 1988 and went on to spend two decades in the majors, all with the Houston Astros.
When he started his career, he was exclusively a catcher.
In fact, Biggio caught more than 110 games a season between 1989 and 1991.
He led league catchers in putouts (889) in 1991 and he finished in the top five among NL catchers in multiple seasons for major categories like caught stealing and assists.
However, Biggio moved over to second base full time beginning with the 1992 season.
Art Howe, the Astros' manager at the time, had the idea for Biggio to move positions because he thought it would better utilize his speed and possibly lengthen his career.
It turned out to be a good move for both Biggio and the Astros, as he ended up becoming one of the greatest second basemen of all time.
Biggio won four gold gloves at second base, and he led NL second baseman in categories like assists, putouts, and defensive games for five or more seasons.
Over the course of his career, Biggio batted .281/.363./433 with 291 home runs, 1,175 RBIs and a total of 3,060 lifetime hits.
He appeared in approximately 428 games behind the plate, roughly 15% of his total defensive games played.
As a catcher, Biggio maintained a .989 fielding percentage, had 2,456 putouts and threw out an average of 23% of runners attempting to steal.
In total, Biggio was named to seven all star games and he earned five silver slugger awards, one as a catcher and the others as a second baseman.
He was elected by the BBWAA into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2015.
Will any catchers in the future reach 3,000 career hits?
The only active catcher with more than 2,000 hits (through 2021) is Yadier Molina of the St. Louis Cardinals.
However, Yadi is still a far ways away from reaching 3k hits.
Considering his decision to retire after the 2022 season, it appears he won't reach the milestone.
At this point, there are no other active MLB catchers out there who are clear contenders to reach the 3,000 hit mark.
We hope one day that will change. Maybe it will!
That's A Wrap!
Hopefully this article was interesting to you and maybe even answered a few of your questions.
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