TOP 15 best catchers of all time in Major League Baseball

TOP 15 best catchers of all time in Major League Baseball

Helix Odhiambo
updated at April 12, 2023 at 8:12 PM

Catchers play a crucial role in a baseball team. They must understand and analyze every situation on the pitch to help the team in decision-making. Meanwhile, baseball has produced the best catchers in history, those who have led by example and achieved a lot in their careers.

Best catchers of all time in Major League Baseball
Photo: (modified by author)
Source: UGC

In baseball, catchers are primarily responsible for catching all pitches thrown by their teams' pitchers. They often suggest pitch selection to their teammates, either by a hand signal between their legs or secretly without the opposing team knowing. This article explores the best defensive catchers of all time and in 2023.

Best catchers of all time



Team (s)



Johnny Bench

Cincinnati Reds



Yogi Berra

New York Yankees, New York Mets



Roy Campanella

Washington/Baltimore Elite Giants, Brooklyn Dodgers



Carlton Fisk

Boston Red Sox, Chicago White Sox



Mike Piazza

Los Angeles Dodgers, Florida Marlins, New York Mets, San Diego Padres, Oakland Athletics



Pudge Rodriguez

Texas Rangers, Florida Marlins, Detroit Tigers, New York Yankees, Houston Astros, Washington Nationals



Gary Carter

Montreal Expos, New York Mets, San Francisco Giants, Los Angeles Dodgers



Josh Gibson

Homestead Gray, Pittsburgh Crawford



Mickey Cochrane

Philadelphia Athletics, Detroit Tigers



Bill Dickey

New York Yankees



Ernie Lombardi

Brooklyn Robins, Cincinnati Reds, Boston Braves, New York Giants



Jorge Posada

New York Yankees



Thurman Munson

New York Yankees



Yadier Molina

St. Louis Cardinals



Joe Mauer

Minnesota Twins


Major League Baseball (MLB) has witnessed top talents like Johnny Bench, Yogi Berra, and Roy Campanella, who dominated the sport during their time. So, Who is the best catcher in MLB right now? Although most of the best catchers in MLB history had retired, the current generation also has unique talents like Will Smith, Yasmani Grandal, and J.T. Realmuto.

Below is a breakdown of the top 15 best catchers in baseball history. The list is based on their stats and achievements.

15. Joe Mauer

Richest catchers
Former Minnesota Twins Joe Mauer waves to the fans ahead of their American League Division Series against the New York Yankees at Target Field on 7 October 2019 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Photo: Elsa
Source: Getty Images

Mauer spent his MLB career playing for the Minnesota Twins. He retired in November 2018 as the seventh-best WAR for all catchers. Joe is also one of the richest catchers in 2023, with a net worth of $100 million.

Awards and honours

  • Silver Slugger awards (5)
  • Gold Glove awards (3)
  • All-Star Games (6)
  • AL MVP (2009)

14. Yadier Molina

The Puerto Rican baseball catcher has won multiple awards with the St. Louis Cardinals since joining them in 2004. He is one of the few players on the list still playing in the league.

Awards and honours

  • Gold Glove awards (9)
  • Platinum Glove awards (4)
  • Wilson Defensive Player of the Year awards (2)
  • Roberto Clemente Award
  • All-Star Games (10)

13. Thurman Munson

Best catchers of all time
Thurman Munson of the New York Yankees poses for a portrait circa 1969-79 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, New York. Photo: Louis Requena
Source: Getty Images

The former Yankees catcher was the field general for the team's two World Series titles. He is considered one of the Yankees' all-time best catchers. However, Thurman died in a tragic plane crash, and the club retired his no.15 jersey in his honour.

Awards and honours

  • Gold Glover awards (3)
  • AL MVP (1976)
  • Rookie of the Year award
  • All-Star Games (7)

12. Jorge Posada

Jorge Posada spent 17 years in MLB as the New York Yankees player. He was an outstanding catcher and one of the best in his generation during the 1900s and 2000s. Meanwhile, Posada ended his career with 275 homers and 1,065 RBIs.

Awards and honours

  • Silver Slugger award
  • World Series titles (4)
  • All-Star team (5)

11. Ernie Lombardi

Best catchers in 2022
Ernie Lombardi posed in his gear at the Polo Grounds in New York in 1945. Photo: Mark Rucker
Source: Getty Images

The MLB legend was one of the best hitters in baseball's history. Lombardi, nicknamed "Schnozz," was the first catcher to win multiple titles. He played for Brooklyn Robins, Cincinnati Reds, Boston Braves, and New York Giants between 1931 - 1947 but passed away on 26 September 1977.

Awards and honours

  • National League title (1939)
  • World Series titles (1940)
  • NL MVP (1938, 1942)
  • National League MVP (1938)
  • Hall of Fame (1986)

10. Bill Dickey

Bill Dickey played for New York Yankees during his MLB career. He is one of the top 10 catchers as of 2023. Besides, he coached the Yankees for one season after retiring.

Awards and honours

  • World Series titles (7)
  • All-Star Games (11)

9. Mickey Cochrane

Best defensive catchers of all time
Hall of Fame Baseball catcher Mickey Cochrane, shown in action with the series-winning Philadelphia Athletics in 1930. Cochrane also coached the Yankees. Photo: Bettmann
Source: Getty Images

Cochrane "Black Mike" had an outstanding baseball career as a catcher for the Philadelphia Athletics. His ability to control every game made him stand out among other stars. He played his last game on 25 May 1937 and died on 28 June 1962.

Awards and honours

  • World Series titles (3)
  • MVP awards (2)
  • National Baseball Hall of Fame (1947)

8. Josh Gibson

Gibson played for the Homestead Gray and the Pittsburgh Crawford. However, he never played in the MLB but in a different League (comprising African Americans and Latin Americans). Nevertheless, he was the second black baseball star inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Awards and honours

  • League titles (4)
  • Baseball Hall of Fame (1972)

7. Gary Carter

Best catchers in MLB
Gary Carter of the Montreal Expos poses for a photo before an MLB spring training game starts at West Palm Beach Municipal Stadium circa 1983 in West Palm Beach, Florida. Photo: Focus on Sport
Source: Getty Images

Carter dominated many statistics like total chances, put-out, double plays and assists as a catcher during the late 1970s and early 1980s. He also helped the New York Mets clinch the 1986 World Series title.

Award and honours

  • Silver Slugger awards (5)
  • Gold Glove awards (3)
  • World Series title
  • All-Star Games (11)
  • All-Star MVP (2)

6. Pudge Rodriguez

Pudge Rodriguez was one of the most consistent players in baseball history. He played 21 seasons in the MLB for several teams, including the Florida Marlins, New York Yankees, and Houston Astros. Rodriguez also has the most put-outs for a catcher of all time, with 14,864 and 2,427 games caught.

Awards and honours

  • World Series title (2003)
  • Gold Glove awards (13)
  • Silver Slugger awards (7)
  • All-Star teams (14)

5. Mike Piazza

Best catchers this year
Mike Piazza is introduced during the New York Mets Old Timers' Day ahead of the Mets game against the Colorado Rockies at Citi Field on 27 August 2022 in New York City. Photo: Jim McIsaac
Source: Getty Images

Piazza is best remembered as the best-hitting catcher in baseball history. He spent 16 seasons in the MLB, playing for different teams, including the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Met. Mike Piazza finished his career with a .308 average and 427 home runs.

Awards and honours

  • All-Star teams (12)
  • Rookie of the Year (1993)
  • Silver Slugger awards (10)

4. Carlton Fisk

Who is the best catcher in MLB right now?
Carlton Fisk of the Chicago White Sox against the California Angels at the Big A in Anaheim, California. Photo: Owen Shaw
Source: Getty Images

Fisk is one of the longest-serving players in the MLB. He spent 24 years playing for the Boston Red Sox and the Chicago White Sox. He is remembered for the game-winning home run in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series as he ran down the first base line. Carlton Fisk is also the third all-time in home runs for catchers (376) and sixth all-time in RBIs (1,330).

Awards and honours

  • All-Star teams (11)
  • Silver Slugger awards (3)

3. Roy Campanella

Campanella had a fantastic career with the Dodgers before suffering a career-ending injury through a car accident. Before that, he was an outstanding hitter and quick player. Roy ended his injury-short career with 242 home runs and 856 RBIs.

Awards and honours

  • All-Star Games (8)
  • NL MVP awards (3)
  • World Series title (1955)

2. Yogi Berra

Top 10 catchers as of 2022
Former Yankees star is the second-best catcher in baseball history. Photo: Bettmann
Source: Getty Images

Yogi is one of the most recognized and successful catchers in MLB history. He finished his career with the Yankees after managing 358 home runs and struck out 414 times.

Awards and honours

  • World Series title (10)
  • AL All-Star (18)
  • AL MVP (3)
  • Baseball Hall of Fame (1972)
  • Presidential Medal of Freedom (2015)

1. Johnny Bench

Most famous catcher
Johnny Bench looks on during a ceremony before the game between the New York Mets and Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on 19 July 2021 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Photo: Dylan Buell
Source: Getty Images

Johnny Bench, also known as the "Little General", is arguably the most famous catcher in baseball history. He had one of the strongest arms and stopped many stealers. His succesful career in the MLB began in 1967 to 1983, playing for the Cincinnati Reds. In 1989, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame on his first try with over 96% of the vote.

Awards and honours

  • World Series titles (2)
  • NL MVP (2)
  • World Series MVP
  • All-Star Game (14)
  • Gold Glove awards (10)
  • Rookie of the Year award (1967)

Who is the best catcher at the moment?

Will Smith, Yasmani Grandal, and J.T. Realmuto are the top three best catchers in 2023. They are the most outstanding, successful, and best catchers this year.

Will Smith (Los Angeles Dodgers)

The Dodgers' star is considered the best in the MLB right now. Besides, he owns the best bat out of all catchers in the league. Smith finished second in the 2021 MLB Wins Above Replacement (WAR) ranking, behind Buster Posey.

Yasmani Grandal (Chicago White Sox)

Grandal is the second-best and one of the most reliable defensive catchers in the MLB. He has proved his doubters wrong by guiding his team to several victories in 2022.

J.T. Realmuto (Philadelphia Phillies)

Realmuto is arguably the best defensive catcher in baseball in 2023. Although he is not much effective offensively, Realmuto has shown he is among the best in his position. Other top catchers in 2023 include:

  • Salvador Perez (Kansas City Royals)
  • Mitch Garver (Texas Rangers)
  • Willson Contreras (Chicago Cubs)
  • Sean Murphy (Oakland A's)
  • Mike Zunino (Tampa Bay Rays)
  • Omar Narvaez (Milwaukee Brewers)
  • Carson Kelly (Arizona Diamondbacks)

Some of the best catchers missing out on our list include Buster Posey, Gabby Hartnett, Ted Simmons, Buck Ewing, and Biz Mackey. Their roles behind the plate have always been more critical to their teams.

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Helix Odhiambo photo
Helix Odhiambo
Helix Odhiambo is an award-winning Kenyan journalist and content creator with over 6 years of experience. In 2016, he won the Goal Blaze Correspondent Award for young writers.