Truth be told, Josh Gibson was probably the best catcher of all-time but I'm limiting my choices to Major League players. Some older players like Ty Cobb and Cy Young may be given less weight in my rankings because they did not always play against the best.
Nothing scientific about my choices, just a few stats and a few thoughts to go with them. Any thoughts are appreciated.
#3 Johnny Bench - 126 OPS+, .267 Avg, 389 HR, 1376 RBI, 14 All-Star games, 4 years of finishing in the top 4 in MVP voting including 2 MVP awards, and 2 World Series Championships
I was an avid baseball bunch fan! And one of my favorite Letterman Top 10 List items: Least favorite Pepperidge Farm cookie flavors - Johnny Bench Nut Cups! Bench was on some really good Big Red Machine powered Cincinnati teams. Each year the nation's best collegiate catcher receives the Johnny Bench Award. (You can get a card signed by Johnny for $60.)
#2 Mike Piazza - 142 OPS+, .308 Avg, 427 HR, 1335 RBI, 12 All-Star games, 7 years of finishing in the top 10 in MVP voting including 3 MVP awards, and 1 World Series appearanceGreatest hitting catcher of all-time! After Seaver, he's the best Met of all-time. And does anybody believe that Roger Clemens didn't throw that bat at Piazza on purpose. First ballot HOFer.
#1 Yogi Berra - 125 OPS+, .285 Avg, 358 HR, 1430 RBI, 15 straight All-Star games, 7 Straight years of finishing in the top 4 in MVP voting including 3 MVP awards, and 10 World Series ChampionshipsThe MVP stats are staggering! He is a legend, even if he did look tiny that final night at Yankee Stadium. 10 championships is incredible. He was Bill Russell before Bill Russell was Bill Russell. (That's right, I said Bill Russell 3 times in that sentence!) (You can get a card signed by Yogi for $50.)
Other catchers considered: Campy, Gabby, Dickey, Cochrane, Fisk
Current catchers who may be great: Mauer, but he won't be a catcher for long, McCann, perrenial All-Star for what that's worth. Pudge doesn't have a job yet but will be a HOFer, just not in the same class as my top three. Wieters is projected to be great. I'll wait and see.
Are you Buck Ewing's great-great-grandson and have a beef with my list? Does your Jason Kendall refractor collection's value hinge on my putting him in my top 3? Let me know what you think.