Left-hitting catchers are very rare in baseball. Benny Distefano, who threw and bat left, was the last true left-handed catcher to play in the majors, caught three games for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Before Distefano, there were a handful of lefty-hitting catchers. But, only five players who have spent their careers behind the plate have finished with 185 home runs or more. Two of them are Hall of Famers, and all five have helped their respected teams win a World Series title. While it remains a mystery unsolved, here are the five left-hitting catchers with the most home runs in history.
Most Home Runs By Left-Hitting Catchers
The Two Who Tied
Darrell Porter & AJ Pierszynski- 188
In 1979, Darrell Porter hit a career 20 home runs and led the league with 121 base on balls. But, he joined Mickey Cochran as the only lefty-hitting catcher in major league history with 100 walks, 100 runs scored, and 100 RBI in a single season. Right-hitting catchers also accomplished the feat, including Roy Campanella, Johnny Bench, and Carlton Fisk.
A.J. Pierzynski’s first season in Chicago was memorable. He helped the White Sox win their first World Series title since 1917. In 121 playoff plate appearances, he hit five home runs, five doubles, 16 runs, and 18 RBI. However, 2012 was a career year for Pierzynski. His 27 home runs were the most of his career. Then, he earned career highs with a .501 SLG and a .827 OPS. He’s one of only ten catchers in Major League history to reach 2,000 hits in his career.
The Top Three
Bill Dickey was the New York Yankees backstop for a lengthy time. Dickey all 202 home runs with the Yankees, hitting a career-high 29 in 1937. That same season, he set career highs with 176 hits and 35 doubles. Dickey hit the most home runs against the St. Louis Browns of all the teams Dickey faced. He hit 39 home runs with a .332 batting average in 270 games. Dickey reached double digits in home runs nine times, the 100 RBI mark four, and batted higher than .300 11-times.
Brian McCann- 282
Brian McCann spent the majority of his career with the Atlanta Braves. But, during his tenure with the Yankees, he hit a career-high 24 home runs in 2015. Out of the three teams he played for, McCann hit the most home runs of his career in a Braves uniform with 188. In his 15-year career, McCann is a World Series champion, six-time Silver Slugger, and a seven-time All-Star, winning All-Star Game MVP honors in 2010.
Yogi Berra- 358
Yogi Berra’s 358 home runs are the most by any lefty-hitting catcher. Berra never had massive power as he hit a career-high 30 home runs in 1952 and 1956. However, he was consistent at the plate, reaching the 20-home run plateau for ten consecutive seasons. Furthermore, his Home Run Percentage (percentage of all plate appearances a home run was hit) was at its highest in 1946 at 8.7%. He was able to play in the ideal home ballpark at Yankee Stadium, hitting 210 homers there and 148 on the road.
Embed from Getty Images