Ranking Pudge Rodriguez among the greatest catchers of all-time, with seasons:
1. Johnny Bench (17 seasons, 1967-83): He hit 389 homers in a relatively dead-ball era, compared with today, second among catchers to Mike Piazza (427). Only two catchers drove in more than his 1,376 and only one catcher (Yogi Berra) played in more All-Star Games than Bench’s 14.
2. Pudge Rodriguez (21, 1991-2011): No catcher had more hits (2,844), runs (1,354), doubles (572) or caught more games (2,427). He also played in 14 All-Star Games, including 12 starts. He threw out 661 runners attempting to steal, and according to sabr.org calculations, was by far the best defensive catcher the game has ever seen when compared to other catchers in his era.
3. Yogi Berra (19, 1946-65): Among catchers, the Yankees legend is the all-time leader in RBIs with 1,430 and All-Star Games with 18. He’s in the top five among catchers in runs (1,175), hits (2,150) and homers (358), and hit .285 with a .482 slugging percentage. Of course, he also won 10 championships with the Yankees.
4. Mike Piazza (16, 1992-07): Arguably, the best-hitting catcher made up for any defensive deficiencies with 427 homers (the most by a catcher) and a .308 career batting average. His .545 slugging percentage and .922 OPS lead all catchers.
5. Gabby Hartnett (20, 1922-41): The long-time Cubs catcher hit 396 doubles, 236 homers and drove in 1,179 runs. He received MVP votes in 10 seasons, including winning the award in 1935. He played in six consecutive All-Star Games in the ’30s. Interesting note: Hartnett was born on Dec. 20, 1900, and died on Dec. 20, 1972.
6. Carlton Fisk (24, 1969-1993): Clutch Fisk set a benchmark for longevity at catcher. He held the record for games caught until Pudge passed him. His 376 homers are third most by a catcher and his 1,330 RBIs are sixth-most. Only Pudge caught more games and had more at-bats for a catcher.
7. Gary Carter (19, 1974-92): Second only to Bench in career WAR (69.9), Carter is in the top 10 of many offensive categories among catchers, including runs (1,025), hits (2,092), homers (324) and RBIs (1,225).