Top 10 Best MLB Catchers of All Time


Who are the ten best MLB catchers of all time? To answer a question like this, we need to look through the ages and find the standout players in baseball history. Usually, we look at the Hall of Fame to get an idea of what players were the greatest. But, did you know that out of the 270 former players in the HOF, only 19 of them were primarily a catcher?

Plus, if you are only scouring the Hall of Fame, you could miss out on some fantastic talent from the most recent years. Players like Buster Posey have not had the chance to make it into the HOF yet. Taking all of this into account, we created a list of various excellent pitchers over the years.

How did we end up with a top ten? To help us create our list, we looked at a collection of player stats and various other aspects. That includes how influential each player was on the game plus the honors, such as the Gold Glove and any World Series rings. In the end, we have a collection of the best catchers to play the game. Without further delay, let’s examine the best MLB catchers of all time.

10. Buster Posey


We begin with the most recently active MLB player on our entire list. Buster Posey began his career in 2009 and retired from pro baseball in 2021. He spent his entire career with the San Francisco Giants but opted out of the short 2020 season largely because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Posey had a fantastic career winning three World Series and making seven All-Star appearances. He also won five Silver Slugger awards and the NL Comeback Player of the Year on two occasions.

Looking at Posey’s stats reveals why he is up there with the best catchers of all time. He has an impressive fielding percentage of .995 across his entire career. His offensive stats are equally monumental, with a career batting average of .302. His last season batting average was .304, the highest ever by a catcher in their last season. Plus, he is the sixth player to hit over .300 in their final MLB season since 1969. Buster Posey has to be part of the discussion if you are looking for the best catchers of all time.

  • Years Active: 2009-2019, 2021
  • Putouts: 8,359
  • Errors: 44 
  • Fielding Percentage: .995
  • Batting Average: .302
  • Home Runs: 158

9. Gary Carter


The ninth-best catcher in MLB history is Gary Carter. Unlike Posey, Carter did not spend his entire career with one team. Instead, he bounced between four MLB franchises, beginning and ending with the Montreal Expos. His professional career began in 1974 before moving to the New York Mets in 1985. He stayed with the Mets until a 1990 move to the Giants. Carter was only with the Giants for one year before a year with the Dodgers and then one final season with the Expos before retiring.

There were probably a few games I played where I should not have played, because of some nagging injuries or something. I used to always talk the managers into playing me because I wanted to play so badly.

- Gary Carter

They inducted Carter into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2003, one year before the Expos folded. Looking at his stats, Carter had an unbelievable WAR of 70.1 and a batting average of .262. He had 324 home runs in his career, more than double Posey in the tenth position. Looking at his fielding percentage, he had an average of .991 across his 19 seasons. That includes 76 appearances as a first baseman and an average of .996. Carter only won one World Series, but he made 11 All-Star games, including a consecutive run from 1979 to 1988. 

  • Years Active: 1974-1992
  • Putouts: 11,785
  • Errors: 121 
  • Fielding Percentage: .991
  • Batting Average: .262
  • Home Runs: 324

8. Carlton Fisk


Next on our list is Carlton Fisk, a catcher who spent his MLB career with two teams. He made his debut in 1969 but was involved with the Army Reserve from 1967 to 71 because of the Vietnam War. In 1971, he was once again called up from the minors and played with the Boston Red Sox until 1980. He moved to the Chicago White Sox in 1981 before retiring in 1993. Fisk was the first player to be voted unanimously AL Rookie of the Year and was the MLB record holder for most home runs by a catcher. Mike Piazza would later pass his 376 home run tally.

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Diving into Fisk’s stats, you can see what type of player he was. The man has a WAR of 68.4, 376 home runs, and a batting average of .269. He also had 1,276 runs, 1,330 RBIs, and a fielding percentage of .988. Fisk was an 11 times All-Star, three-time Silver Slugger, and one-time winner of the Gold Glove. They inducted him into the Hall of Fame in the year 2000 and both the Red Sox and White Sox retired jerseys after he finished his MLB career. That should tell you how special Fisk was.

  • Years Active: 1969, 1971-1993
  • Putouts: 11,369
  • Errors: 155
  • Fielding Percentage: .988
  • Batting Average: .269
  • Home Runs: 376

7. Mike Piazza


Most baseball fans would have seen Mike Piazza play as he only retired from the MLB in 2007. However, that was 16 years ago. But let's not dwell on how old we feel at Bet Station, and instead focus on Piazza. His pro career began in 1992 with the Los Angeles Dodgers before a move to the Florida Marlins in 1998. The move was because the Dodgers lowballed an extension, but many believe Piazza was greedy. He lasted one week in Florida before being traded again with the Mets. It was with the Mets where Piazza made a name for himself, but he managed one season with the Padres and the Athletics before retiring.

Across his entire MLB career, Piazza had a fielding percentage of .989 over around 1,700 games. He has a WAR of 59.5, the joint fifth-highest of any player on our list. Also, Piazza is one of four catchers with a career batting average of over .300 and he holds the home run record for his position. He managed 427 home runs, 2,127 hits, and 1,335 RBIs. Unfortunately, Piazza never won a world series, but he is a 12-time All-Star and ten-time Silver Slugger. The Mets retired the number 31 jersey in honor of Piazza and they inducted him into the baseball hall of fame in 2016.

  • Years Active: 1992-2007
  • Putouts: 10,844
  • Errors: 124
  • Fielding Percentage: .989
  • Batting Average: .308
  • Home Runs: 427

6. Mickey Cochrane


We have spoken about some fantastic catchers so far, but as we near the top five, the quality only gets better. Narrowly missing fifth place is Mickey Cochrane. Cochrane began his professional career in 1925 with the Philadelphia Athletics before moving to the Detroit Tigers in 1934. His time with the Tigers was remarkable, considering the fact he was a player-manager until 1937. An injury forced him to retire as a player before giving it all up in 1938.

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Cochrane has the highest batting career average for catchers with .320. Plus the .419 on-base percentage is up there with the best players in MLB history. He made history in 1932 when he became the first catcher to produce 100 runs batted in and score 100 runs in the same season. Just to give you an idea of how inspirational he was, Cochrane won the 1934 MVP award ahead of one of the best baseball players of all time, Lou Gehrig. Even though Gehrig completed a Triple Crown that year. It’s unlikely any of us still around today ever saw Mickey play in person. However, his stats do not lie. He took the Tigers to their first pennant in 25 years in 1934 and went one better in 1935 when he won the World Series. It is safe to say they don’t make people like Mickey Cochrane nowadays.

  • Years Active: 1925-1937
  • Putouts: 6,414
  • Errors: 111
  • Fielding Percentage: .985
  • Batting Average: .320
  • Home Runs: 119

5. Roy Campanella


Roy Campanella was an amazing catcher who achieved a lot in his short nine seasons in the MLB. Because of the baseball color line, Campanella could not play for the MLB. Instead, he played in the Negro leagues between 1937 and 1945. He also had stints in Mexico and Venezuela. Jackie Robinson broke the color line in 1947 and Campanella followed one year later after proving himself in the minor leagues.

They selected Campanella in every All-Star Game from 1949 to 1956. During that time, he would set several records, most of which survived several decades after he retired. He is one of five Brooklyn Dodgers players to hit home runs in five consecutive games for the franchise. Also, Campanella threw out 57% of the base runners who tried to steal his base, the most by any catcher in MLB history.

I never want to quit playing ball, They'll have to cut this uniform off me to get me out of it

- Roy Campanella

Looking at the stats, Campanella had a fielding percentage of .987 and 7,295 putouts in 1,364 games. He managed a career batting average of .283, one Batting Title, and three MVP awards. Roy played an instrumental part in the Dodgers’ first-ever World Series win. Campanella would help turn around a two-game deficit by hitting home runs in games three and four of the series. At this point in history, you can’t help but look back and wonder what more he could have achieved if rules such as the color line were not in place. Unfortunately, they were, and we can only wonder what could have been.

  • Years Active: 1937-1942, 1944-1945, 1948-1957
  • Putouts: 7,295
  • Errors: 104
  • Fielding Percentage: .987
  • Batting Average: .283
  • Home Runs: 260

4. Iván Rodríguez


If you are hoping for some players from recent history, then look no further than Iván Rodríguez. The legendary catcher played for several teams over his lengthy career. He began in the MLB with the Texas Rangers in 1991, where he stayed until 2002. He then had one season with the Marlins before a move to the Tigers in 2004. In 2008 he joined the Yankees, then the Astros and Rangers in 2009. He finally finished his MLB career with the Washington Nationals in 2011.

The stats show how good Rodríguez was. He had a fielding percentage of .991 and 14,864 putouts across 21 seasons. He has the second most putouts in MLB history as a catcher and managed nine seasons with a caught-stealing rate of 50% or higher. Rodríguez is a 14-time All-Star with one World Series victory in 2003. He was AL MVP in 1999 and NLCS MVP in 2003. Just as impressive as his 13 Gold Glove awards and seven Silver Slugger awards. Rodríguez finished his career with a WAR of 68.7 and a batting average of .296, cementing his place as one of the best catchers of all time.

  • Years Active: 1991-2011
  • Putouts: 14,864
  • Errors: 142
  • Fielding Percentage: .991
  • Batting Average: .296
  • Home Runs: 311

3. Bill Dickey

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William Malcolm Dickey is a baseball legend. He was a member of the iconic Yankees team that featured some of the best baseball players of all time. Dickey played alongside Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Joe DiMaggio. His career with the Yankees began in 1928 until he retired after a series-winning home run in 1943. He then served in WWII and returned to the Yankees in 1946 as a player-manager. He would resign later that season but returned to coach Yogi Berra and later Elston Howard.

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Dickey had a fantastic career as a catcher. Not only did he win eight World Series and make 11 All-Star Games, but he was a threat both defensively and offensively. He finished his career with a batting average of .313 and a WAR of 56.3. Dickey had a fielding percentage of .988 and 7,965 putouts. He came second in the MVP vote back in 1938, which is still a remarkable achievement given the quality of players in the league. Dickey earned his place in MLB catcher history. That is especially true when you consider he had a tremendous influence on Yogi Berra.

  • Years Active: 1928-1943, 1946
  • Putouts: 7,965
  • Errors: 108
  • Fielding Percentage: .988
  • Batting Average: .313
  • Home Runs: 202

2. Yogi Berra


Many widely considered Lawrence Peter Berra as the best baseball catcher of all time. Although he sits at number two on our list, that does not devalue Berra’s achievements in the MLB. For starters, Berra won ten World Series as a player; the most of anyone in history. He would win three more World Series as a manager. Plus, he is one of six MLB players in history to win AL MVP on three occasions.

Berra began pro baseball in 1946 with the New York Yankees. He spent almost his entire career with the Yankees until 1963. He managed the team for a year before becoming a player-coach for the Mets. Berra later managed both sides and coached a couple of seasons for the Houston Astros. At the end of his career, Berra had a fielding percentage of .989 across 19 seasons. He also had 8,738 putouts in his career, with only 110 errors made.

For those of you who don’t know, Berra served in WWII before becoming a baseball star. He was a gunner’s mate in the Normandy Landings, earning a Purple Heart for his bravery. Besides being a war hero, Berra provided us with countless iconic moments over his career. Including being the catcher for Don Larsen’s perfect game in the 1956 World Series and the record for shutouts caught. Perhaps his best feature was his personality, providing a range of entertaining quotes such as “It ain’t over ‘till it’s over”.

I didn’t say everything I said

- Yogi Berra
  • Years Active: 1946-1963, 1965
  • Putouts: 8,738
  • Errors: 110
  • Fielding Percentage: .989
  • Batting Average: .285
  • Home Runs: 358

1. Johnny Bench


The best MLB catcher of all time is Johnny Bench. He made his MLB debut in 1967 with the Cincinnati Reds and his last game was in 1983. He was one of a select few catchers to spend their entire career with one franchise. They inducted him into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1989 with 96.42% of the vote. Bench set many records during his career, several of which no longer stand. However, he still holds the record for a catcher's most grand slam home runs.

Bench was an incredible player. He made 13 consecutive All-Star games from 1968 to 1980. Plus, he got one final All-Star appearance in his final MLB season. He is a two-time World Series champion, and he won the NL MVP twice. His career started bright with the NL Rookie of the Year award and he continued achieving trophies until he retired. That includes ten Gold Glove awards, Word Series MVP, and three-time NL RBI leader.

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If you are interested in his stats, Bench had a career WAR of 75.1, the highest on our list. He also had a batting average of .267 and 389 home runs. He has a fielding percentage of .990 across 1,742 games. That includes 9,249 putouts, 850 assists, and only 97 errors across a 17-season career. If you are looking for the best, it has to be Johnny Bench. He is the only catcher on this list to make it in the top 15 baseball players of all time.

  • Years Active: 1967-1983
  • Putouts: 9,249
  • Errors: 97
  • Fielding Percentage: .990
  • Batting Average: .267
  • Home Runs: 389

Honorable Mentions

Johnny Bench is our number one best MLB catcher of all time. We came to that decision based on what he achieved and his impact on the game. He popularized the hinged catcher’s mitt that professionals use to this day. His impact on baseball was more than just inspiring youngsters to pick up a glove; he set a new level that all other professionals tried to imitate. If you could make a team featuring the best players to live, many would pick Bench as the catcher.

There you have it, the ten best catchers in MLB history. If you are curious about the best players to play the game, make sure you check our list of the 15 best baseball players of all time. Plus, we also have the 15 best ballparks to watch an MLB game. However, no list at Bet Station is complete without some honorable mentions.

We feel obliged to point out Josh Gibson, who was an outstanding catcher in the Negro Leagues. Unfortunately, because of the rules regarding race, he never played in the MLB. But he deserves a spot in baseball history.

  • Josh Gibson
  • Yadier Molina
  • Joe Mauer
  • Thurman Munson
  • Ted Simmons

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