A bit of history was made last night as Yadier Molina set the record for most games caught for one team with 1,757. Those games have been behind the plate for the St. Louis Cardinals. Molina broke Gabby Hartnett‘s record of 1,756 games with the Chicago Cubs which should make it a bit sweeter. Signed through 2020, Yadi should surpass 2,000 games as a catcher and solidify his place among the Cardinals all-time greats.
Yadier Molina Sets Catching Record
A Little History
Molina was selected in the fourth round of the 2000 MLB Draft by the Cardinals. By that time his two older brothers, Bengie and Jose were already in the major leagues. However, Yadi didn’t get called up until 2004. He played 51 games that year and showed he had talent while hitting .267. He also showed the beginnings of a catcher who was going to make a mark defensively, throwing out 47% of the runners attempting to steal. The league average that year was 28%. The Cardinals knew they had something special.
Molina became the starting catcher the following season. Although his bat would take a couple years to be an asset, his defense and handling of pitchers were undeniable. His cannon of an arm also showed as he threw out 52% of would-be base stealers in his first three years. In 2008, his bat started to show up. He hit .304 and walked more than he struck out. Molina also won the first of eight consecutive Gold Glove awards.
While Molina’s career isn’t over, he will be at the end of his contract with the Cardinals after the 2020 season. He will be 38-years old at that point. Here is a bit of context of where he stands at CS%:
Molina should reach 2,000 games played at catcher and will also likely reach 2,000 hits. He has a .284 lifetime batting average and has struck out in less than 10% of his plate appearances. While he may not have the overall power numbers or the counting stats, Hall of Fame voters would be remiss if they didn’t take a serious look at Molina as a legitimate candidate for the hall.
Main Credit Image: Embed from Getty Images