This comprehensive post showcases many of the key facts, figures and firsts for catchers in Baseball. Keep reading to take a detailed look inside the record books...
Catching Statistics - The Complete List
Baseball has a long and colorful past. Ever since the first professional team was established in 1869 (it was the Cincinnati Red Stockings), catchers have featured prominently in the game's history.
Individuals have stepped onto the diamond to man the position behind the plate for decades, and many of these individuals are very well known. Johnny Bench, Carlton Fisk, and Yogi Berra - just to name a few.
Many of these legendary catchers put up huge numbers during their careers, leaving their names in numerous record books.
Yet there were also hundreds of men who played the game who - though they aren't as well known as the Hall of Famer's - still managed to get their name in the record books.
This post focuses on those key statistics and records made by catchers since the dawn of professional Baseball. They are organized into simple categories for quick reading, starting with defense.
We hope that you'll learn something new in this post!
Please Note: All information is current as of the date of publication. Statistics, facts, figures, and records are in alphabetical order.
A catcher wearing his tools of ignorance is a defining image of Baseball. The defensive role of a catcher is one of the most important on the diamond, and defensive excellence is a notable generator of pride among backstops.
This category looks at catchers who left a mark on the game because of their defense. It showcases key defensive records, stats and leaders among catchers in Baseball history.
- Assists as Catcher - Most in a Career: Deacon McGuire, 1,860 assists.
- Assists as Catcher - Most in a Season: Bill Rariden, 238 assists in 1915.
- Caught Stealing % - Highest Career Average: Roy Campanella, 57.40%.
- Caught Stealing % - Highest Average in a Season: Shanty Hogan, 77.42% in 1933.
- Caught Stealing - Most in a Career: Deacon McGuire, 1,459 runners caught stealing.
- Caught Stealing - Most in a Season: Deacon McGuire, 189 runners caught stealing in 1895.
- Defensive Games as Catcher - Most in a Career: Ivan Rodriguez, 2,427 games.
- Defensive Games as Catcher - Most in a Season: Randy Hundley, 160 games in 1968.
- Double Plays Turned as a Catcher - Most in a Career: Ray Schalk, 222 double plays turned.
- Double Plays Turned as a Catcher - Most in a Season: Steve O'Neill, 36 double plays turned in 1916.
- Errors Committed as Catcher - Most in a Career: Pop Snyder, 685 errors committed.
- Errors Committed as Catcher - Most in a Season: Nat Hicks, 94 errors committed in 1876.
- Fielding % as a Catcher - Highest Average in a Season (with 77 or more "Games Played" at catcher): 13 MLB catchers are tied with a 1.0000% fielding percentage in a single season. They are: Lou Berberet, Yogi Berra, Rick Cerone, Pete Daley, Spud Davis, Chris Hoiles, Chris Iannetta, Charles Johnson, Mike Matheny, James McCann, Salvador Perez, Buddy Rosar, and Chris Snyder.
- Fielding % as Catcher - Highest Career Average: Chris Snyder, .9976%.
- Framing Statistics: Please note, the following statistics originated beginning with the 2015 MLB season.
- Strike Rate - Highest Average in a Season (minimum pitches called = 500/season): Jeff Mathis, 55.1% in 2018.
- Runs from Extra Strikes - Most in a Season (minimum pitches called = 500/season): Buster Posey, 30 runs from extra strikes in 2016.
- Passed Balls - Most in a Career: Pop Snyder, 763 passed balls.
- Passed Balls - Most in a Season: Rudy Kemmler, 114 passed balls in 1883.
- Pop Time Statistics: Please note, the following statistics originated beginning with the 2015 MLB season.
- Lowest Average Pop Time, Throws to Second Base (minimum number of attempts = 20/season): J.T. Realmuto, 1.89 seconds in 2019.
- Lowest Average Pop Time, Throws to Third Base (minimum number of attempts = 2/season): J.T. Realmuto, 1.42 seconds in 2019.
- Putouts as Catcher - Most in a Career: Ivan Rodriguez, 14,864 putouts.
- Putouts as Catcher - Most in a Season: Yasmani Grandal, 1,169 putouts in 2019.
- Range Factor/9Inn as Catcher - Highest in a Career: Yan Gomes, 9.537.
- Range Factor/9Inn as Catcher - Highest in a Season: Tucker Barnhart, 11.765 in 2020.
- Range Factor/Game as Catcher - Highest in a Career: Yan Gomes, 8.909.
- Range Factor/Game as Catcher - Highest in a Season: Bill Krieg, 10.462 in 1884.
- Stolen Bases Allowed - Most in a Career: Deacon McGuire, 2,532 stolen bases allowed.
- Stolen Bases Allowed - Most in a Season: Deacon McGuire, 293 stolen bases allowed in 1895.
Catchers are two-way players, meaning they not only play behind the plate but they also grab a bat and step up to the plate. Accordingly, the below contains the statistics, records and leaders among catchers for key offensive categories.
- All Star Game Appearances - Most by a Catcher: Yogi Berra, 18 All Star game appearances.
- Batting Average - Highest Career Average of a Catcher: Mickey Cochrane, .320 batting average.
- Catchers who were Batting Champions: There have been 4 catchers to claim a league batting title, and 7 different instances. They are: Buster Posey (2012 NL, San Francisco Giants). Joe Mauer (2006 AL, 2008 AL, 2009 AL, Minnesota Twins). Ernie Lombardi (1938 NL, Cincinnati Reds; 1942 NL, Boston Braves), and Bubbles Hargrave (1926 NL, Cincinnati Reds).
- Doubles - Most in a Career by a Catcher: Ivan Rodriguez, 527 doubles.
- Hits - Most in a Career by a Catcher: Ivan Rodriguez, 2,844 hits.
- Home Runs - Most in a Career by a Catcher: Mike Piazza, 427 home runs.
- Home Runs - Most in a Season by a Catcher: Javy Lopez, 42 Home Runs in 2003.
- JAWS - Career Leader Among Catchers: Johnny Bench, 61.2.
- Plate Appearances - Most in a Career: Ivan Rodriguez, 10,270 plate appearances.
- RBIs - Most in a Career by a Catcher: Yogi Berra, 1,430 RBIs.
- Runs - Most in a Career by a Catcher: Ivan Rodriguez, 1,354 runs.
- Stolen Bases - Most in a Career by a Catcher: Roger Bresnahan, 212 stolen bases. (Note: Although Buck Ewing collected 354 stolen bases in his career, he played more than 50% of his professional games in positions other than catcher).
- Stolen Bases - Most in a Season by a Catcher: John Wathan, 36 stolen bases in 1982.
- Triples - Most in a Career by a Catcher: Buck Ewing, 178 triples. (Note: See above about Buck Ewing).
- WAR - Highest in a Career as a Catcher: Johnny Bench, 75.2.
- Highest Single-Season WAR by a Catcher: Tied. Johnny Bench, 8.6 WAR in 1972 and Gary Carter, 8.6 WAR in 1982. (Note: WAR calculation from Baseball Reference).
Baseball issues many different awards during or following the course of the season and various catchers throughout history have been recipients of them. This category highlights notable awards and catchers who were recipients of those awards.
- All-Star Game MVP (Catchers): 5 catchers won the MLB All Star Game MVP award in 6 different instances. They were: Gary Carter in 1981 and 1984. Terry Steinbach in 1988. Mike Piazza in 1996. Sandy Alomar Jr. in 1997. Brian McCann in 2010.
- Baseball America High School Player of the Year Award (Catchers): Three different catchers won the Baseball America High School Player of the Year Award. They were: Ben Davis in 1994, from Malvern Prep. Joe Mauer in 2001, from Credin-Derham Hall High School. Alex Jackson in 2014, from Rancho Bernardo High School.
- Baseball America Minor League Player of the Year Award (Catchers): Three different catchers won Baseball America's Minor League Player of the Year Award. They were: Sandy Alomar Jr. in 1989, Joe Mauer in 2003, and Matt Wieters in 2008.
- Comeback Player of the Year Award (Catchers): Buster Posey won the Comeback Player of the Year Award in 2012, and Salvador Perez won the Comeback Player of the Year Award in 2020.
- Dick Howser Trophy (Catchers): Four catchers have won the Dick Howser Trophy thus far. They are: Jason Varitek in 1994, from Georgia Tech. Buster Posey in 2008, from Florida State. Mike Zunino in 2012, from Florida. Adley Rutschman in 2019, from Oregon State.
- Gold Glove Awards - Most in a Career (Catchers): Ivan Rodriguez, 13 Gold Glove Awards.
- Golden Spikes Award (Catchers): 5 catchers have won the Golden Spikes Award as of 2019. They are: Jason Varitek in 1994, from Georgia Tech. Buster Posey in 2008, from Florida State. Bryce Harper in 2010, Southern Nevada (yes, Bryce was a catcher in college!). Mike Zunino in 2012, from Florida. Adley Rutschman in 2019, from Oregon State.
- Hall of Fame Catchers: There are 19 catchers in the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, as of December 2019. They are: Bill Dickey, Biz Mackey, Buck Ewing, Carlton Fisk, Ernie Lombardi, Gabby Hartnett, Gary Carter, Ivan Rodriguez, Johnny Bench, Josh Gibson, Louis Santop, Mickey Cochrane, Mike Piazza, Ray Schalk, Rick Ferrell, Roger Bresnahan, Roy Campanella, Yogi Berra, and Ted Simmons.
- International League (IL) MVPs (Catchers): 5 catchers have won the International League MVP as of 2019. They are: Buck Crouse in 1937, Sherm Lollar in 1945, Elston Howard in 1954, Gary Allenson in 1978, and Toby Hall in 2001.
- Joe Bauman Home Run Award: No catchers have won the Joe Bauman Home Run Award, as of 2019.
- Most Valuable Player (MVP) Awards Won by Catchers: 11 catchers have won an MLB MVP award as of 2019.
- American League MVPs (Catchers): Joe Mauer in 2009, Ivan Rodriguez in 1999, Thurman Munson in 1976, Elston Howard in 1963, Yogi Berra in 1955, 1954, and 1951, and Mickey Cochrane in 1934.
- National League MVPs (Catchers): Buster Posey in 2012, Johnny Bench in 1972 and 1970, Roy Campanella in 1955, 1953, and 1951, Ernie Lombardi in 1938, and Gabby Hartnett in 1935.
- Pacific Coast League (PCL) MVPs (Catchers): 7 different catchers have won the PCL MVP a total of 8 times. They are: Ray Mueller in 1942. Earl Averill Jr. in 1958. Jesse Gonder in 1962. Duane Josephson in 1966. Sandy Alomar Jr in 1988 and 1989. Geovany Soto in 2007. J.P. Arencibia in 2010.
- Roberto Clemente Award (Catchers): Only 2 catchers have won the Roberto Clemente Award. They are Gary Carter in 1989 and Yadier Molina in 2018.
- Rookie of the Year Award (Catchers): 8 catchers have won a Rookie of the Year Award to-date.
- American League Rookie of the Year (Catchers): Carlton Fisk in 1972, Boston Red Sox. Sandy Alomar Jr. in 1990, Cleveland Indians.
- National League Rookie of the Year (Catchers): Johnny Bench in 1968, Cincinnati Reds. Earl Williams in 1971, Atlanta Braves. Benito Santiago in 1987, San Diego Padres. Mike Piazza in 1993, Los Angeles Dodgers. Geovany Soto in 2008, Chicago Cubs. Buster Posey in 2010, San Francisco Giants.
- Silver Slugger Awards - Catchers who have won Multiple Awards: 13 catchers have won more than one Silver Slugger Award.
- American League - Multiple Silver Slugger Awards (Catchers): Carlton Fisk (3), Joe Mauer (5), Lance Parrish (6), Salvador Perez, (3), Jorge Posada (5), Ivan Rodriguez (7), and Mickey Tettleton (3).
- National League - Multiple Silver Slugger Awards (Catchers): Gary Carter (5), Brian McCann (6 total - 5 of which were in the NL, and 1 in the AL), Mike Piazza (10), Buster Posey (4), Benito Santiago (4), J.T. Realmuto (2) and Craig Biggio (5). Please note, Craig Biggio won five total Silver Slugger Awards - 1 as a catcher and 4 as a second baseman.
- USA Today Minor League Player of the Year Award (Catchers): Todd Zeile won in 1989 - the only catcher to-date to win this award. Please note that Zeile played catcher, first base and third base that season.
- Wilson Defensive Player Awards - Catchers with Multiple Awards: Carlos Ruiz (2) and Buster Posey (2).
- World Series MVPs (Catchers): 7 catchers have won the World Series MVP Award. They are: Gene Tenace in 1972, Oakland A's. Johnny Bench in 1976, Cincinnati Reds. Steve Yeager in 1981, Los Angeles Dodgers. Darrell Porter in 1982, St. Louis Cardinals. Rick Dempsey in 1983, Baltimore Orioles. Pat Borders in 1992, Toronto Blue Jays. Salvador Perez in 2015, Kansas City Royals.
From the first African American catcher in professional Baseball to the first catcher to reach 400 home runs, this category showcases many of the notable "firsts" accomplished by catchers.
- First African American, Latino, and Japanese Catchers in Professional Baseball:
- African American: Moses Fleetwood Walker was the first black catcher in professional Baseball when he joined the Toledo Blue Stockings in 1884. In the modern era, Roy Campanella (shown in the above picture) became the first African American to play behind the plate when he made his MLB debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1948.
- Japanese: Kenji Johjima became the first Japenese catcher in the MLB when he made his debut with the Seattle Mariners in 2006.
- Latino: Mike González was the first Latino MLB catcher, making his debut for the Boston Braves in 1912.
- First Catcher to Reach 20 Home Runs and 20 Stolen Bases in a Season: Ivan Rodriguez in 1999.
- First Catcher to Wear Glasses Behind the Plate: Clint Courtney in 1951.
- First Catcher to Win a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger in the Same Season: Ivan Rodriguez in 1994.
- First Catcher to Win Three Batting Titles: Joe Mauer.
- First Catcher to be Inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame: Buck Ewing in 1939.
- First Catcher to go an Entire MLB season Without any Passed Balls: Bill Dickey in 1931.
- First Catcher to Have at least 180 Hits in Four Straight Seasons: Thurmon Munson.
- First Catcher in History to reach 400+ Home Runs: Mike Piazza.
- First Catcher to Lead the Majors in Doubles: Jonathan Lucroy with 53 doubles in 2014.
Other key statistics, facts, figures or just plain interesting information about catchers is listed in this category - i.e., a catch-all category for anything that doesn't easily fit into the previous ones!
- Catchers Drafted First Overall in the MLB Draft: 7 catchers were a #1 draft pick 8 different times. They were: Steve Chilcott in 1966, New York Mets. Mike Ivie in 1970, San Diego Padres. Danny Goodwin in 1971, Chicago White Sox (did not sign). Danny Goodwin in 1975, California Angels. BJ Surhoff in 1985, Milwaukee Brewers. Joe Mauer in 2001, Minnesota Twins. Bryce Harper in 2010, Washington Nationals (Bryce was a catcher in college). Adley Rutschman in 2019, Baltimore Orioles.
- Left Handed Catchers in the MLB: Since 1900, there have been 3 left handed throwers to play catcher in an MLB game. In 1958, Dale Long caught two games. In the early 80s, a First Baseman for the Chicago White Sox named Mike Squires caught two games. The last left hander to catch in a big league game was Benny Distefano. He did so in 1989 for the Pittsburgh Pirates, catching 6 innings as an emergency replacement.
- Most Games Played Without a Playoff Appearance (Catchers): Joe Torre with 2,209 games played.
- Most Games Played Without Appearing in a World Series (Catchers): Brian Downing with 2,344 games played.
- Most No Hitters Caught: Jason Varitek and Carlos Ruiz have each caught 4 no hitters in their career.
- Most Perfect Games Caught: Ron Hassey has caught two Perfect Games in his career. He is the only catcher to have caught more than one.
- Salary - Highest in a Career (Catchers): Joe Mauer, $218,025,000 total.
- Salary - Highest in a Season (Catchers): Buster Posey, $22,177,778 through 2021.
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