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January 11, 2007

Best Seasons By Yankees Catchers

Continuing with the WasWatching.com Yankees "ten best seasons" (ever) series, today we look at catchers. Here is what I believe are the top ten seasons for Yankees catchers, with stats via the Complete Baseball Encyclopedia:

Click on the list below for a larger view ~

Is anyone shocked to see Dickey and Berra dominate this list?

But, just as much as we expected to see those two famous # 8's on the board, I would bet that most are surprised to see Mike Stanley '93 crack the top ten - with a season just as good as Jorge Posada's best season ever with the bat (to date).

What about since the days of Berra and Dickey - what does that list look like? Here's how this top ten broke down after the 1963 season:

Click on the list below for a larger view ~

Posada and Munson own this list as much as Dickey and Berra own the overall list.

Some may be thinking here "Shouldn't Elston Howard appear more often on these lists?" Well, Ellie had three huge seasons with the stick: 1961, 1963 and 1964. That last year made the cut for this Post-'63 group. But, 1961 and 1963 missed the cut because I used 1964 as the starting year on this second group. That was a mistake - since Yogi was really done being a catcher after 1960. To fix that error, here's how this top ten broke down after the 1960 season - tweaked to only include those who played in 100+ games in a season (sorry Johnny Blanchard '61):

Click on the list below for a larger view ~

Ah, there's Elston Howard in his glory - right up there with Posada and Munson.

This is what you would expect here, in total: Dickey and Berra being # 1 (A) and # 1 (B) in terms of the best Yankees catchers ever - with Posada, Munson and Howard rounding out the top five.

When he's said and done, Jorge Posada should have locked up the # 3 all-time slot (behind Dickey and Berra) for Yankees great catchers. Not bad for a guy who didn't start playing full-time until he was 28-years old.

Here's something to noodle: If Posada puts up three more seasons like he had in 2006, does that give him enough of a resume for Cooperstown consideration? Or, does that just make him this generation's Ted Simmons? It probably makes sense to wait and see if Jorge can post those additional numbers before banging our heads on the wall trying to figure this one out.

Posted by Steve Lombardi at January 11, 2007 09:52 PM

Comments

They put Gary Carter in. So I would say Jorge's chances are pretty good (hopefully he'll also have about five or six rings to flash).

Posted by: baileywalk [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 11, 2007 11:19 PM

Great work on a topic close to my heart. On Jorge, I'd bet most fans wouldn't recognize that he's performed at a near elite level. Most wouldn't have thought to include him as one of the "Big 5" backstops to ever wear pinstripes. He clearly belongs. 8 & 8 are in the top 10 catchers of all time. Posada belongs in a class with Thurman, Ellie, Carter, Simmons and Fisk. Fisk's 24 years are insane and got him over the HOF hump. The last 5 years of Carter's career were just enough padding on his stats (he's borderline in my mind - if he belongs, then Simmons belongs). The way Thurman's knees were failing, I don't think he'd have caught much longer, but his bat still had several years left in it. He was within a one week hot stretch of hitting .300 when he died. He lacked the power numbers that attract HOF votes. Bench, Pudge and (regrettably) Piazza (can't deny his stick, can't overlook his poor defense) are in that top 10 with 8 & 8. Funny thing about Ellie...compare his '63 MVP season with just about every season for Jorge!!! Ellie and Thurman end up shy of HOF stats. Jorge has a lot of work to do in the next 5 years to push him up into that top group. He'll need ~100+ homers and 400+ RBI's. That's less than he's done in the last 5, but not common for a catcher at his age. He's capable if he can play till 39. His late start is really hurting him. If he wants to get there, he'll have to double up on the conditioning at this stage in his career. I think he has the drive. I've said it before about Jorge..."You’re gonna miss me when I'm gone."

Posted by: #15 [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 12, 2007 12:09 AM

In the pre-Posada/Girardi days, I really had a soft spot for Mike Stanley and I was sad to see him leave the club. What really cracks me up is seeing Ron Hassey on the list. I came of age as a Yankee fan when our backstop was an endless parade of 80's stiffs - Hassey, Wynegar, Salas, Geren, Slaught, and Cerone. I'm sure any Yankee fan my age knows all these names and just chuckled.

Posted by: MJ [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 12, 2007 07:04 AM

There's been some winners..don't forget the unforgetable Frank Fernandez, as well as Fran Healy, Mike Heath, Jerry Narron, and Johnny Oates. A long and distinguished list, with Buffet Fasano as the newest member.

Posted by: #15 [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 12, 2007 07:54 AM

Don't forget Matt Nokes and Bob Geren!

Posted by: mehmattski [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 12, 2007 08:43 AM

And Rick "10 Jeans" Cerone!

Posted by: rbj [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 12, 2007 09:58 AM

More on Cerone and those jeans:

http://www.netshrine.com/cerone.html

Posted by: Steve Lombardi [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 12, 2007 10:08 AM

Here's the list of bad Yankees catchers, FYI:

http://www.waswatching.com/archives/2005/11/see_more_skinne.html

Posted by: Steve Lombardi [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 12, 2007 10:13 AM