Best Switch Hitting Catchers of All-Time
Switch hitting catchers are pretty rare in the major leagues, as there have been less than 100 in total since the late 1800s.
Among this rare group are some lesser known guys as well as some incredibly productive MLB catchers - including one Hall of Famer.
For this article, we take a look at the top catchers all-time who were switch hitters (meaning they hit from both sides of the plate) as measured by career Wins Above Replacement (bWAR).
While we admit it's not a perfect statistic, WAR is one of the most comprehensive metrics out there for measuring a player's overall value.
So we believe it's helpful for comparing player greatness and is a great fit for this article.
With that, let's get to the list!
Top 5 Switch Hitting Catchers Based on Career WAR
An individual must have played a minimum of 500 MLB games as a catcher to be considered for this list.
#5. Mickey Tettleton, 29.3 career WAR
When I think back on watching Mickey Tettleton play when I was growing up, I remember him as a scrappy player with what seemed like a permanent wad of chewing tobacco bulging out of his cheek.
He was more than that, of course. He was actually a really good catcher and a great hitter during his time in the big leagues.
Mickey broke into the majors in 1984 with the Oakland A’s. He went on to spend 14 years in the league playing for the A’s, the Baltimore Orioles, the Detroit Tigers and the Texas Rangers.
Tettleton was a powerful guy that was known for having a strong bat. He had six seasons with 20 or more home runs, capped off by his 1993 season with the Tigers when he matched his career high of 32 home runs and a single-season best 110 RBIs.
In total, the switch hitting catcher had a total of 245 homers, 1,132 hits, 732 RBIs and a .818 OPS across his career.
Mickey’s awards include two all star game appearances (1989 and 1994) and three silver slugger awards (1989, 1991, 1992).
He also has the distinction of hitting multiple dingers out of the old Tiger Stadium and Camden Yards.
#4. Victor Martinez, 32.0 career WAR
Victor Martinez was a strong and incredibly consistent switch hitter during his 16 years in the big leagues. In total, he spent 8 seasons with the Cleveland Indians, 7 with the Detroit Tigers and 2 with the Boston Red Sox.
About half of Victor's appearances were as catcher, mostly during the first half of his career. The rest were spent as a DH and to a lesser extent, as a first baseman.
The Venezuelan catcher made 5 MLB all star teams, won 2 silver sluggers, and finished in the top 25 for MVP voting on six different occasions.
His career slash line is .295/.360/.455 and he racked up 246 career homers.
Of note, Victor is one of the rare catchers to accumulate over 2,000 career hits (2,153) and 1,000 plus RBIs (1,178).
#3. Jorge Posada, 42.7 career WAR
The rock behind the dish for the New York Yankees dynasties of the late '90s and 2000s, Jorge Posada spent 17 seasons in the major leagues - all with the Yanks.
He picked up four World Series rings (1998 - 2000, 2009), four straight silver slugger awards (2000 - 2003), and four straight all star game nods (2000 - 2003).
He also got a fifth silver slugger and all star game selection, both in 2007.
The Puerto Rican catcher collected 1,664 hits and 275 career home runs. He also owns a .848 lifetime OPS.
Posada reached the vaunted 1,000+ RBI club in 2010, which for catchers is a very select group.
He unfortunately failed to receive 5% or more of the vote in the 2016 BBWAA Hall of Fame ballot which is honestly a shame, because he deserved a higher vote outcome.
Nonetheless, Posada is recognized today as one of the great catchers in Yankees history, and the team retired his #20 jersey number in 2015.
#2. Wally Schang, 48.0 career WAR
Wally Schang was Babe Ruth's teammate for seven seasons with the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees.
His affiliation with the Great Bambino was not his claim to fame, however. Schang was an excellent player in his own right.
Schang played 19 seasons in the big leagues with the Philadelphia Athletics, St. Louis Browns and the Detroit Tigers (in addition to the Yankees and Red Sox).
Approximately 86% of Schang's career appearances were as a catcher. He played the rest of the time in the outfield, and he even played a few games at third base and shortstop.
Schang was a solid switch hitter who collected 1,506 hits, 90 triples, 59 homers and 705 RBIs over his career, while maintaining a .284 batting average.
He was the starting catcher for three World Series winning teams - the 1913 Athletics, the 1918 Red Sox and the 1923 Yankees.
Schang also was a member of the world champion Philadelphia Athletics in 1930, although he didn't appear in the Series that year.
Some other notable facts about Wally Schang include:
- He hit .287 across 111 plate appearances in the playoffs, which is pretty clutch if you ask me.
- Schang's 48.0 career WAR is among the five highest of all Red Sox, Yankees and Athletics catchers in their respective franchise histories.
- On September 8, 1916, Schang became the first catcher in history to hit a home run from either side of the plate.
- He finished in the top 20 for league MVP voting in 5 different seasons.
Considering the fantastic career that Schang had and his many accomplishments, we think he's deserving of induction to Cooperstown.
#1. Ted Simmons, 50.3 career WAR
The best of all switch hitting catchers across baseball history is Ted Simmons.
The lone Hall of Famer on our list, Simmons played 21 MLB seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals, the Milwaukee Brewers and the Atlanta Braves.
Simmons was incredibly productive at the plate, hitting .300 or better 7 times (minimum 400 at bats) and collecting 100 or more hits in 14 seasons.
He was an 8 time all star, one-time silver slugger winner and he finished in the top 20 for MVP in 7 seasons.
Across his career Simmons had a .285 batting average, 248 home runs and 1,389 RBIs. His 2,472 career hits is second most all-time among catchers.
Simmons' 50.3 lifetime WAR is the highest of any catcher in Brewers history and is in the top 3 among all Braves and Cardinals catchers.
Are There Any Switch Hitting Catchers in the Big Leagues Today?
Yes, as of the 2023 season, there are a variety of MLB catchers who are switch hitters.
The most well known is former #1 pick and current Baltimore Orioles catcher Adley Rutschman.
Others include Yasmani Grandal of the White Sox, Cal Raleigh of the Mariners, Tyler Heineman of the Blue Jays and Keibert Ruiz of the Nationals.
That's A Wrap!
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