St. Louis Cardinals: Yadier Molina, the backstop of the century
By Hunter Ives
There are two words, (one name) in the city of St. Louis, that can send chills down the spine of nearly any resident; a booming icon of importance, that has the ability to shock an entire stadium. That subject, is none other than St. Louis Cardinals Catcher Yadier Molina.
A staple household name in St. Louis Baseball, St. Louis Cardinals fans have truly become accustomed to the overwhelming dominance of the 35-year-old catcher. Since his Major League appearance in 2004, “Yadi” has put together not only an impressive resume behind the plate, but in the batters box as well.
To begin, (Per Baseball Reference; As of March 7th.) In his 15 total MLB seasons with St. Louis, Yadier Molina has compiled a career total 37.1 WAR in 6,119 at-bats. 605 total runs scored, 1,737 hits, and a rather impressive .284 overall batting average. To dig even deeper, he also has 129 home runs to go along with 791 RBI. His slugging percentage has been subtly satisfying at .404.
Although stats and baseball saber metrics are very easily distributed and reported on, it is the personal demeanor and impact of an MLB player that truly sets them apart.
The decade-long presence of Yadi for the St. Louis Cardinals has been nothing short of significant. For the St. Louis fans and franchise as a whole, these things have often times been taken for granted. A truly reliable catcher for an organization is often times rare and uncommon. But as for the St. Louis Cardinals, they have received reliability tenfold, and then some out of Molina.
Approaching his final three years within contract (through 2020), Yadier Molina has also racked up some substantial defensive awards in the Majors that should not be overlooked.
Yadier Molina’s Awards/Achievements (Per Baseball Reference):
- 8-time All-Star
- 2-time World Series Champion (2006, 2011)
- 8-time Gold Glove Recipient
- Silver Slugger
- 4-time Platinum Glove Winner
Clearly, the takeaways from the career of Yadi Molina are already enough to leave almost any baseball fan appreciating such commitment. Another aspect that truly sets him apart from the others at his level is the constant reliability in postseason games.
Secondly, Yadier Molina has appeared in 89 total playoff games. Here, he has a BA of .286 with 4 runs scored, 7 hits, 3 home runs, and 6 RBI. The “speedy catcher?” Yep, he also has 1 stolen base in postseason play (57 for his career).
From a common outsiders perspective, a catcher in the game of baseball can oftentimes be perceived as “just the guy who catches the balls.” While this is indeed true, it is not completely the case. A catcher works (in a sense) similarly to a manager: they call pitches, control the running game, and even at times have the ability to pick an entire team up, and carry them.
Potentially the most “modeled” example in the game today, is without a doubt Yadi. The commitment to his team, shows not only on the field, but also off the field. His body has taken a beating, but the mental capacity of the man himself has not.
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Yadier Molina controls the game. He takes pride in each move he makes, with each pitch called. Without a doubt, he has created a significant impact throughout not only St. Louis, but within the game of baseball over the many years. As a pitcher, you live for relationships that allow you to be able to trust your catcher, no matter the circumstance. As for Molina, he has shown this time and time again, without any controversy.
Lastly, if you are a St. Louis Cardinals fan: admire his commitment with appreciation. Even if you are not a Redbird fan, respect him. A truly legendary catcher within his caliber has the ability to impact the game of baseball even after his departure, for many years to come.
At 35 years old, Yadier Molina has without a doubt defied the aging ailments that often surface within an MLB Athlete. He has stood up against the “odds,” and took a stab at Father Time. Turning back the hands of the clock, he has proven time and time again that it truly isn’t over until the uniform has been hung up at last.
The chants of “YADI,” the famous “O” formation above the head after throwing out a runner, the clutch doubles down the right-field line to give his team a lead, from controlling the running game to scoring on a walk-off hit, the legacy of Yadi will forever live within the city of St. Louis.
With three MLB seasons left under contract, the future is uncertain. However, one thing remains a given: Yadier Molina will continue to give his all; until he walks off the field at Busch Stadium for his very last time.
Next: Wacha Settles in Against the Diamondbacks
The Cardinals kick off a 4-game series against the Reds at Great American Ballpark starting April 12th. Keep an eye out; Yadier Molina is back in action THIS WEEK, in Cincinnati.