JUPITER, FL - FEBRUARY 19: Yadier Molina #4 of the St. Louis Cardinals poses during photo day at Roger Dean Stadium on February 19, 2013 in Jupiter, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) By Mike Ehrmann
MIAMI, FL - JUNE 15: Yadler Molina #4 of the St. Louis Cardinals celebrates scoring a run with teamate Pete Kozma #38 during the first inning at Marlins Park on June 15, 2013 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images) By Marc Serota
MIAMI, FL - JUNE 14: Yadier Molina #4 of the St. Louis Cardinals connects for an RBI single during the first inning against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park on June 14, 2013 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Steve Mitchell/Getty Images) By Steve Mitchell
By Dan Mueller
(BaseballStL) -- Are we watching Yadier Molina put together a Hall of Fame career? The four-time All-Star catcher has already cemented himself among the best in St. Louis Cardinals history. While excellent defense has always been his calling card, Molina continues to add to his resume with the best hitting season of his career. Molina has maintain a batting average of over .350 for most of this season, while already surpassing 30 multi-hit games before the All-Star break.
How does Molina’s resume shape up with some Hall of Fame catchers? Johnny Bench was one of the greatest defensive catchers of all time, after racking up 10-straight Gold Gloves from 1968 to 1977. Bench was also a two-time MVP. Carlton Fisk displayed his durability by playing in four decades (60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s). Yogi Berra hit .285, and was an 18-time All-Star in 19 seasons with the New York Yankees.
Mike Piazza is considered the best hitting catcher of all time, by slugging 427 homers to go along with a .308 career batting average. Ivan Rodriguez may be the best defensive catcher in baseball history after collecting 13 Gold Gloves, to go along with his six Silver Slugger awards.
The Cardinals have had their share of outstanding catchers over the years. Ted Simmons was one of the game’s best hitting catchers during his 13 years as a Cardinal. The switch-hitting Simmons was a six-time All-Star with the Redbirds. Simmons batted .332 with 18 homeruns and 100 RBIs in 1975.
While Tim McCarver was a two-time All Star and MVP runner-up for the Cardinals in 1967, Mike Matheny won three Gold Gloves in five seasons in St. Louis. In 2003, Matheny did not commit an error in 138 games, and completed the year with a perfect fielding percentage.
Meanwhile, Yadier Molina is aiming for his third-straight season of hitting above .300, as well as his sixth consecutive Gold Glove. Molina turns 31 years old on July 13th. Will Yadier Molina put himself in the conversation with these all-time greats when his career is finally over?