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 several 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 Assists in a Career: Deacon McGuire has the most career assists as a catcher, with 1,860 assists.
- Assists as Catcher - Most Assists in a Season: Bill Rariden has the most single-season assists among catchers with 238 assists in 1915.
- Caught Stealing % - Highest Career Caught Stealing Average: Roy Campanella has the highest career caught stealing percentage (CS%) at a whopping 57.40%.
- Caught Stealing % - Highest Average Caught Stealing Average in a Season: Shanty Hogan's 77.42% CS% in 1933 is the highest ever in a single-season.
- Caught Stealing - Most Runners Caught Stealing in a Career: Deacon McGuire has thrown out the most runners attempting to steal in professional baseball history, with 1,459 runners caught stealing.
- Caught Stealing - Most Runners Caught Stealing in a Season: Deacon McGuire shows up again! McGuire's 189 runners caught stealing during the 1895 season is the most ever.
- Consecutive Games Caught - Most Consecutive Games Caught by a Catcher: Frankie Hays holds the record for most consecutive games caught with 312 games.
- Defensive Games as Catcher - Most Defensive Games in a Career: Ivan Rodriguez has the most defensive games as a catcher in a career, with 2,427 games. Rodriguez also owns the MLB record for most starts by a catcher in a career.
- Defensive Games as Catcher - Most Defensive Games in a Season: Randy Hundley of the Chicago Cubs played 160 games as a catcher in 1968, which is a single-season record.
- Defensive WAR (dWAR) - Highest dWAR as a Catcher: Ivan Rodriguez has the highest dWAR of any catcher, at 29.6 (using the baseball reference calculation).
- Double Plays Turned as a Catcher - Most Double Plays Turned in a Career: Ray Schalk of the Chicago White Sox has the most career double plays turned as a catcher, with 222 double plays turned.
- Double Plays Turned as a Catcher - Most Double Plays Turned in a Game as a Catcher: Chris Hoiles turned four double plays while catching on April 4, 1998, which is the most in a single game.
- Double Plays Turned as a Catcher - Most Double Plays Turned in a Season: Steve O'Neill turned 36 double plays in 1916, the most by a catcher in a single season.
- Errors Committed as Catcher - Most Errors Committed in a Career: Pop Snyder has the most errors committed by a catcher with 685.
- Errors Committed as a Catcher - Most Errors in an Inning by a Catcher: Doggie Miller committed four errors in one inning of an 1895 game, which is the most ever by a catcher in one inning. But let's be fair, guys at this time were working with little if any catcher's gear.
- Errors Committed as Catcher - Most Errors Committed in a Season: Nat Hicks committed 94 errors in 1876, the most ever by a catcher in a single season. See comment above about (lack of) catcher's gear...
- Fielding % as a Catcher - Highest Average Fielding Percentage 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 Fielding Percentage: Chris Snyder has the highest career fielding percentage as a catcher, with a .9976% fielding percentage.
- 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.
- Most Innings Caught in a Career: Ivan Rodriguez has the most innings caught by a catcher in a career with 20,348 innings caught.
- Most Career Pickoffs by Catcher: Ivan Rodriguez has the most pickoffs by a catcher with 88 career pickoffs.
- Passed Balls - Most Passed Balls in a Career: Pop Snyder has the most passed balls in a career of any catcher, with 763 passed balls.
- Passed Balls - Most Passed Balls in a Game as a Catcher: Gid Gardner had 12 passed balls during a game on May 10, 1884, which is the most ever.
- Passed Balls - Most Passed Balls in a Season: Rudy Kemmler had the most passed balls in a season with 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's 1.82 seconds average pop time to second in 2022 is the lowest on record.
- Lowest Average Pop Time, Throws to Third Base (minimum number of attempts = 2/season): Sean Murphy's 1.38 seconds average pop time to third base in 2021 is the lowest on record.
- Putouts as Catcher - Most Putouts in a Career: Yadier Molina passed Ivan Rodriguez on June 14, 2022 for the most putouts by a catcher in a career with 14,865 putouts.
- Putouts as Catcher - Most Putouts in a Season: Yasmani Grandal's 1,169 putouts in 2019 is the most of any catcher in a single-season.
- Range Factor/9Inn as Catcher - Highest in a Career: Roberto Perez has the highest career RF/9 as a catcher with 10.25.
- Range Factor/9Inn as Catcher - Highest in a Season: Tucker Barnhart has the highest single-season RF/9 with 11.765 in 2020.
- Range Factor/Game as Catcher - Highest in a Career: Roberto Perez has the highest career RF/G with 9.21.
- Range Factor/Game as Catcher - Highest in a Season: Bill Krieg has the highest single-season RF/G with 10.462 in 1884.
- Stolen Bases Allowed - Most Stolen Bases Allowed in a Career: Deacon McGuire has the most career stolen bases allowed of any catcher, with 2,532 stolen bases allowed.
- Stolen Bases Allowed - Most Stolen Bases Allowed in a Season: Deacon McGuire allowed 293 stolen bases in 1895, which is a single-season record.
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 MLB catcher stats, records and leaders for key offensive categories.
- All Star Game Appearances - Most All Star Game Appearances by a Catcher: Yogi Berra has the most all star game appearances by a catcher with 18 All Star games.
- Batting Average - Highest Career Batting Average of a Catcher: Mickey Cochrane had a lifetime .320 batting average, which is the highest career batting average of an MLB catcher.
- 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 Doubles in a Career by a Catcher: Ivan Rodriguez's 527 doubles are the most career doubles hit by a catcher.
- Hits - Most Hits in a Career by a Catcher: Ivan Rodriguez has the most hits by a catcher all-time with 2,844 hits.
- Home Runs - Most Home Runs in a Career by a Catcher: Mike Piazza has the most career home runs by a catcher with 427 home runs.
- Home Runs - Most Home Runs in a Season by a Catcher: There are really two answers to this question. Salvador Perez hit 48 home runs in 2021, the most ever in a season by a catcher. However, only 31 of his 48 home runs occurred in a game where he was catching (the rest were hit while he was DH). In 2003, Atlanta Braves catcher Javy Lopez hit 43 home runs, 42 of which took place during a game when he was catching. Those 42 home runs hit as a catcher is a single-season record, if you consider the record to be based on home runs hit while in the lineup as a catcher.
- JAWS - Career JAWS Leader Among Catchers: Johnny Bench's 61.2 JAWS is the highest of any catcher in history.
- Plate Appearances - Most Plate Appearances in a Career: Ivan Rodriguez has the most plate appearances of any catcher, with 10,270 plate appearances.
- Career RBIs - Most RBIs in a Career by a Catcher: Yogi Berra's 1,430 RBIs are the most among catchers.
- Single-Season RBIs - Most RBIs by a Catcher in a Season: Johnny Bench has the most RBIs by a catcher in a single-season with 148 RBIs in 1970. That season he was named NL MVP.
- Runs - Most Runs in a Career by a Catcher: Ivan Rodriguez's 1,354 runs are the most of any catcher in history.
- Stolen Bases - Most Stolen Bases in a Career by a Catcher: Jack O'Connor had 219 stolen bases, the most of any catcher in history. O'Connor played in more than 50% of his career games (59% to be specific) as a catcher. (Note: Although Buck Ewing collected 354 stolen bases in his career, he played less than 50% of his professional games as a catcher).
- Stolen Bases - Most Stolen Bases in a Season by a Catcher: John Wathan had 36 stolen bases in 1982, which is a single season record for a catcher.
- Triples - Most Triples in a Career by a Catcher: Buck Ewing's 178 triples are the most of any catcher in history (Note: See above about Buck Ewing).
- WAR - Highest WAR in a Career as a Catcher: Johnny Bench's 75.2 bWAR is the highest WAR all-time among catchers.
- Highest Single-Season WAR by a Catcher: Tied. Johnny Bench's 8.6 bWAR in 1972 and Gary Carter's 8.6 bWAR in 1982 are the highest among catchers all-time.
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 won by 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 won by 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 won by 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.
- College World Series (CWS) Most Outstanding Player Award won by Catchers: There have been five catchers that have won the CWS Most Outstanding Player award through 2023. They are:
- Tom Yewcik, Michigan State University, 1954
- Bud Hollowell, University of Southern California, 1963
- Ron Davini, Arizona State University, 1967
- Gary Hymel, Louisiana State University, 1991
- Adley Rutschman, Oregon State University, 2018
- Comeback Player of the Year Award won by Catchers: Two catchers have won the Comeback Player of the Year Award. Buster Posey won the award in 2012 and 2021, and Salvador Perez won it in 2020.
- Dick Howser Trophy won by 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 Gold Glove Awards in a Career by a Catcher: Ivan Rodriguez owns the most Gold Glove awards among catchers, with 13 Gold Gloves.
- Golden Spikes Award won by Catchers: 5 catchers have won the Golden Spikes Award as of 2023. 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 career catchers in the National Baseball Hall of Fame, as of May 2023. 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 won by Catchers: 5 catchers have won the International League MVP as of 2023. 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: MJ Melendez is the only catcher to win the Joe Bauman Home Run Award, which he won 2021.
- Most Valuable Player (MVP) Awards Won by Catchers: 12 catchers have won an MLB MVP award as of 2023.
- American League MVPs won by 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 1928 and 1934.
- National League MVPs won by Catchers: Buster Posey in 2012, Johnny Bench in 1972 and 1970, Roy Campanella in 1955, 1953, and 1951, Ernie Lombardi in 1938, Gabby Hartnett in 1935 and Bob O'Farrell in 1926.
- Pacific Coast League (PCL) MVPs won by 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.
- Platinum Gloves won by Catchers: Yadier Molina and Jose Trevino are the only catchers to win Platinum Glove awards. Molina has won four National League Platinum Gloves in total, in 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2015. Trevino has won one American League Platinum Glove Award in 2022.
- Roberto Clemente Award won by Catchers: Only two catchers have won the Roberto Clemente Award. They are Gary Carter in 1989 and Yadier Molina in 2018.
- Rookie of the Year Award won by Catchers: Eight catchers have won a Rookie of the Year Award to-date.
- American League Rookie of the Year won by Catchers: Carlton Fisk in 1972, Boston Red Sox. Sandy Alomar Jr. in 1990, Cleveland Indians.
- National League Rookie of the Year won by 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 Silver Slugger Awards: 13 catchers have won more than one Silver Slugger Award.
- American League - Multiple Silver Slugger Awards won by Catchers: Carlton Fisk (3), Joe Mauer (5), Lance Parrish (6), Salvador Perez, (4), Jorge Posada (5), Ivan Rodriguez (7), and Mickey Tettleton (3).
- National League - Multiple Silver Slugger Awards won by 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 (5), Benito Santiago (4), J.T. Realmuto (3) and Craig Biggio (5). Please note, Craig Biggio won five total Silver Slugger Awards - 1 as a catcher and 4 as a second baseman.
- Silver Slugger Awards - Most in a Career as a Catcher: Mike Piazza has the most career Silver Sluggers as a catcher with 10 awards.
- USA Today Minor League Player of the Year Award won by 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 Wilson Defensive Player Awards: Carlos Ruiz (2) and Buster Posey (2) are tied with the most Wilson Defensive Player of the Year awards as catchers.
- World Series MVPs won by Catchers: Seven 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 Japanese 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 Field Three Foul Pop Outs in One Inning: Mickey Owens became the first catcher to field three foul pop outs in the same inning on August 4, 1941.
- First Catcher to Reach 20 Home Runs and 20 Stolen Bases in a Season: Ivan Rodriguez became the first catcher to join the 20/20 club in 1999.
- First Catcher to Wear Glasses Behind the Plate: Clint Courtney became the first catcher to wear glasses in the MLB in 1951.
- First Catcher to Win a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger in the Same Season: In 1994, Ivan Rodriguez became the first catcher to win both a gold glove award and a silver slugger award in the same season.
- First Catcher to Win Three Batting Titles: Joe Mauer was the first catcher - and only, to-date - to win three league batting titles.
- First Catcher to be Inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame: Buck Ewing was the first catcher inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1939.
- First Catcher to go an Entire MLB season Without any Passed Balls: Bill Dickey had no passed balls during the 1931 season.
- First Catcher to Have at least 180 Hits in Four Straight Seasons: Thurmon Munson was the first catcher to have 180+ hits in four consecutive seasons.
- First Catcher in History to reach 400+ Home Runs: Mike Piazza was the first catcher to surpass the 400 career home run mark.
- First Left Handed Catcher in the Major Leagues: Fergy Malone became the first lefty catcher in the big leagues in 1871.
- First Major League Catcher to Throw Out a Runner Attempting to Steal Second: Bill Lennon became the first catcher in professional baseball history to throw out a runner trying to steal. It occurred during the 7th inning of the first major league game on May 4, 1871.
- First Catcher to Hit a Home Run from Both Sides of the Plate in the Same Game: Wally Schang of the Philadelphia Athletics hit a home run from each side of the plate on September 8, 1916. It was the first by a catcher.
- First Catcher to Win a MLB Batting Title: Bubbles Hargrave of the Cincinnati Reds was the first catcher to win a batting title when he led the National League with a .353 average in 1926.
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!
- How many people have played at least one major league game as a catcher?: Between 1871 and 2020, approximately 2,339 individual players have caught at least one MLB game.
- 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 Harper was a catcher in college). Adley Rutschman in 2019, Baltimore Orioles. Henry Davis in 2021, Pittsburgh Pirates.
- Catchers Who Caught Nolan Ryan's Seven No Hitters: The catchers that caught Nolan Ryan's seven no hitters are as follows:
- Jeff Torborg (May 15, 1973)
- Art Kusnyer (July 15, 1973)
- Tom Egan (September 28, 1974)
- Ellie Rodriguez (June 1, 1975)
- Alan Ashby (September 26, 1981)
- John Russell (June 11, 1990)
- Mike Stanley (May 1, 1991)
- Has Any Catcher Hit Four Home Runs in a Game?: No MLB catcher has hit four home runs in a game. It is indeed a rare feat, as only 16 players in MLB history have done so.
- 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 by a Catcher Without a Playoff Appearance: Joe Torre has the most games played by a catcher without appearing in the playoffs with 2,209 games played.
- Most Games Played by a Catcher Without Appearing in a World Series: Brian Downing has the most games played by a catcher without reaching the World Series with 2,344 games played.
- Most No Hitters Caught by a Catcher: Jason Varitek and Carlos Ruiz have each caught 4 no hitters in their career.
- Most Perfect Games Caught by a Catcher: 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 has the highest career salary earnings by a catcher with $218,025,000 in total salary.
- Salary - Highest in a Season (Catchers): Buster Posey has the highest single-season salary of a catcher with $22,177,778 per year from 2018 - 2021.
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