Cardinals' 5 all-time best catchers in franchise history

jbuchheit
Wild Card Series - Philadelphia Phillies v St. Louis Cardinals - Game Two
Wild Card Series - Philadelphia Phillies v St. Louis Cardinals - Game Two / Stacy Revere/GettyImages
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1. Yadier Molina

The heir to Mike Matheny, Yadier Molina took over full-time behind the plate in 2005 and didn't relinquish the position until his retirement 17 years later. Although he began his career as a light-hitting catcher whose defense was his calling card, Molina picked up his offense in a big way in 2007, hitting .275, and his production at the plate continued to climb, with his slash line peaking in 2012 at .315/.373/.501. He won his lone Silver Slugger award in 2013, where he had his highest career average of .319.

Molina didn't sacrifice his defense when he found his hitting stride: He led the major leagues in caught stealing percentage four times in his career, and teams eventually learned to avoid running on his rifle arm. The Cardinals had by far the fewest stealing attempts against them of any team during Molina's long tenure behind the plate.

Although Molina's offensive production sagged in his later years, he was still a favorite among Cardinals pitchers for his intangibles and ability to call a game. Molina finished his career in 2022 as a 10-time All-Star, a nine-time Gold Glove winner, and a six-time recipient of the Fielding Bible Award. He is the all-time major league leader in catcher putouts and second in defensive runs saved. Molina will be eligible for the Hall of Fame in 2028.

This is the Mount Rushmore of Cardinals catchers, and with the team's greatest catcher of all time having recently retired, many younger Cardinals fans are in unfamiliar waters, as Molina was the primary catcher for most, if not all, of their lives. Regardless of the future, current Cardinals fans can say they saw the greatest catcher in the team's storied history and one of the best to ever play the position.

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