Hall of Fame Tracker – Catchers

In this investigation, we will rank Hall of Famers, future eligible Hall of Famers, and active players at each respective position through generating a formula that captures how talented a particular player is relative to the other best players in that specific era.

Numerous conditions will be in effect:

  • PED/Steroid users Javy Lopez, Jim Leyritz, and Benito Santiago will be excluded from the 5 year interval averages (which will be explained below)
  • Player must have played at least 5000 innings at primary position in order to be eligible for the list
  • Player must have amassed at least 4000 career PA in order to be eligible for the list
  • If a player is no longer eligible for the list (was not voted into the HOF), he will be excluded
  • When a player accumulates less than 150 PA in a season, stats from that year will be excluded.
  • If a player registers less than 250 PA in his penultimate season, offensive stats from that year will be factored out so long as he accrues less than 250 PA in his final season (in which case stats from that year would also be ruled out)
  • When a player plays less than 300 innings at his primary position, stats from that year will be excluded.
  • If a player plays less than 500 innings at his primary position in his 5th to last season (of playing his primary position – in this case catcher), defensive stats from that year will be factored out so long as he accrues less than 500 innings in each of his final 4 seasons (in which case stats from those years would also be ruled out)
  • If a player plays less than 10% of their games at a secondary position, the defensive stats he accumulated at that position will be unaccounted for
  • If a player qualifies for a secondary position, their stats (during a particular season) at that position will never be excluded (even if they play less than 300 innings at that secondary position)
  • Under the circumstances that a player’s secondary position is the OF — and the OF position he played is not listed — the positional adjustments (see below) for the 3 OF spots will be averaged
  • If a player plays his last year before 2002, TZ will be used as the fielding metric
  • If a player plays his first year after 2001, Fielding Value (which is based on UZR and can be found on FanGraphs; framing added for years 2008 – present) will be used (a player’s UZR at secondary positions will be subtracted from his overall Fielding Value)
  • If a player plays his first year before 2002 and his last year after 2001, Fielding Value (based on TZ before 2002) will be used (once again, a player’s TZ and/or UZR at secondary positions will be subtracted from his all-encompassing Fielding Value)
  • HOF members who played solely in the NL (Negro Leagues) will be excluded from the comprehensive rankings because it would be illogical/imprecise to compare numbers from one league (NL) to another (MLB)

The following positional adjustments will be instituted (using FanGraphs’ Positional Adjustment tool as a basis tool) in regards to secondary positions:

  • DH: -2.5 (per 162 games)
  • 1B: +1
  • LF and RF: +2.5
  • CF, 2B, and 3B: +5
  • SS: +7.5
  • C: +10

To view the “Hall of Fame Tracker – Catcher” spreadsheet (which I highly recommended viewing), click here

The equation used to calculate a player’s FINAL HOF SCORE (blue cells in spreadsheet) incorporates the following:

  • OFF-DEF Score – compares Player A’s AVG, OBP, HR, RBI, SB, and TZ/UZR/FIELDING VALUE to the ^average of a top 10 player in each category (in 5 year intervals) for the duration in which Player A played, plus any regular season MVPs, World Series MVPs, and/or AL/NLCS MVPs Player A won

^ = the averages (which are outlined in the left side of the spreadsheet) are calculated within 5 year intervals (the first one being 1880 – 1884 and the most recent one being 2015 – Present — 2019 will be the 5th year of the latter interval)

  • Preliminary HOF Score – Player A’s OFF-DEF Score * (0.01 * PA)
  • Adjusted HOF Score – Player A’s Preliminary HOF Score / (&Average Preliminary HOF Score / &Average WAR (according to Baseball Reference)

& = the average of all the catchers that are in the HOF (who played in the MLB)

  • Final HOF Score – (Player A’s Adjusted HOF Score + Player A’s WAR) / 2

Here are the Final HOF Score rankings (KEY: Italicic = in the HOF; Bold = active player; Italic and Bold = retired player who is HOF eligible)

No.Player NamePrimary/Current TeamFinal HOF Score
1Johnny BenchCincinnati Reds83.5
2Yogi BerraNew York Yankees75.4
3Ivan RodriguezTexas Rangers73.8
4Gary CarterMontreal Expos61.8
5Carlton FiskChicago White Sox60.8
6Gabby HartnettChicago Cubs60.3
7Bill DickeyNew York Yankees57.7
8Mike PiazzaNew York Mets51.5
9Joe MauerMinnesota Twins50.8
10Mickey CochranePhiladelphia Athletics 48.4
11Roy CampanellaBrooklyn Dodgers46.4
12Buck EwingNew York Giants43.2
13Ernie LombardiCincinatti Reds38.3
14Ray SchalkChicago White Sox37.7
15Yadier MolinaSt. Louis Cardinals37.5
16Buster PoseySan Francisco Giants37.3
17Russell MartinLos Angeles Dodgers36.0
18Roger BresnahanNew York Giants35.0
19Brian McCannAtlanta Braves34.5
20Victor MartinezCleveland Indians33.7
21Rick FerrellBoston Red Sox27.2
22A.J. PierzynskiChicago White Sox24.5
23Jonathan LucroyLos Angeles Angels19.8
24Kurt SuzukiWashington Nationals17.7
25Matt WietersSt. Louis Cardinals17.0
26Chris IannettaColorado Rockies13.6

1. Johnny Bench, Cincinnati Reds

Photo: Baseball Hall of Fame
  • Career Duration: 1967 – 1983
  • Induction Year: 1989
  • Stats (factoring out excluded offensive and/or defensive seasons (except for TZ/UZR/FIELDING VALUE at secondary position[s] for all players when pertinent)
    • PA: 8576
    • AVG: .268
    • OBP: .343
    • HR: 388
    • RBI: 1370
    • SB: 68
    • TZ at primary position: 97
    • MVPs: 2
    • WS MVPs: 1
    • Final HOF Score: 83.5
      • WAR: 75.7
      • Adjusted HOF Score: 91.3

2. Yogi Berra, New York Yankees

  • Career Duration: 1946 – 1965
  • Induction Year: 1972
  • Stats
    • PA: 8168
    • AVG: .285
    • OBP: .348
    • HR: 348
    • RBI: 1398
    • SB: 29
    • TZ at primary position: 29
    • TZ at secondary position (LF) + positional adjustment (per 162 games): 1.1
    • MVPs: 3
    • WS MVPs: 0
    • Final HOF Score: 75.4
      • WAR: 58.1
      • Adjusted HOF Score: 92.6

3. Ivan Rodriguez, Texas Rangers

  • Career Duration: 1991 – 2011
  • Induction Year: 2017
  • Stats
    • PA: 10133
    • AVG: .297
    • OBP: .335
    • HR: 308
    • RBI: 1313
    • SB: 127
    • TZ/Fielding Value at primary position: 167.0
    • MVPs: 1
    • AL/NLCS MVPs: 1
    • Final HOF Score: 73.8
      • WAR: 68.3
      • Adjusted HOF Score: 79.2

4. Gary Carter, Montreal Expos

  • Career Duration: 1974 – 1992
  • Induction Year: 2003
  • Stats
    • PA: 8990
    • AVG: .262
    • OBP: .335
    • HR: 323
    • RBI: 1219
    • SB: 37
    • TZ at primary position: 106
    • MVPs: 0
    • WS MVPs: 0
    • Final HOF Score: 61.8
      • WAR: 69.6
      • Adjusted HOF Score: 54.0

5. Carlton Fisk, Chicago White Sox

  • Career Duration: 1969 – 1993
  • Induction Year: 2000
  • Stats
    • PA: 9617
    • AVG: .271
    • OBP: .343
    • HR: 370
    • RBI: 1299
    • SB: 125
    • TZ at primary position: 34
    • MVPs: 0
    • WS MVPs: 0
    • Final HOF Score: 60.8
      • WAR: 68.3
      • Adjusted HOF Score: 53.3

6. Gabby Hartnett, Chicago Cubs

Photo: wgntv.com
  • Career Duration: 1922 – 1941
  • Induction Year: 1955
  • Stats
    • PA: 6949
    • AVG: .299
    • OBP: .373
    • HR: 229
    • RBI: 1138
    • SB: 26
    • TZ: 12
    • MVPs: 1
    • WS MVPs: 0
    • Final HOF Score: 60.3
      • WAR: 59.0
      • Adjusted HOF Score: 61.5

7. Bill Dickey, New York Yankees

  • Career Duration: 1928 – 1946
  • Induction Year: 1954
  • Stats
    • PA: 6889
    • AVG: .314
    • OBP: .383
    • HR: 200
    • RBI: 1197
    • SB: 37
    • TZ: 19
    • MVPs: 0
    • WS MVPs: 0
    • Final HOF Score: 57.7
      • WAR: 57.2
      • Adjusted HOF: 58.2

8. Mike Piazza, New York Mets

  • Career Duration: 1992 – 2007
  • Induction Year: 2016
  • Stats
    • PA: 7745
    • AVG: .309
    • OBP: .378
    • HR: 426
    • RBI: 1328
    • SB: 17
    • TZ at primary position: -36.4
    • MVPs: 0
    • WS MVPs: 0
    • Final HOF Score: 51.5
      • fWAR: 59.5
      • Adjusted HOF Score: 43.6

9. Joe Mauer, Minnesota Twins

  • Career Duration: 2004 – 2018
  • Eligibility Year: 2024
  • Stats
    • PA: 7838
    • AVG: .306
    • OBP: .388
    • HR: 137
    • RBI: 906
    • SB: 52
    • Fielding value at primary position: 10.0
    • TZ at secondary position (1B) + positional adjustment: 21.8
    • MVPs: 1
    • WS MVPs: 0
    • Final HOF Score: 50.8
      • WAR: 53.6
      • Adjusted HOF Score: 48.0

10. Mickey Cochrane, Philadelphia Athletics

  • Career Duration: 1925 – 1937
  • Induction Year: 1947
  • Stats
    • PA: 5902
    • AVG: .322
    • OBP: .417
    • HR: 115
    • RBI: 803
    • SB: 63
    • TZ at primary position: -2
    • MVPs: 2
    • WS MVPs: 0
    • Final HOF Score: 48.4
      • WAR: 46.4
      • Adjusted HOF Score: 50.3

11. Roy Campanella, Brooklyn Dodgers

Photo: roycampanella.com
  • Career Duration: 1948 – 1957
  • Induction Year: 1969
  • Stats
    • PA: 4816
    • AVG: .276
    • OBP: .360
    • HR: 242
    • RBI: 856
    • SB: 25
    • TZ at primary position: 17
    • MVPs: 3
    • WS MVPs: 0
    • Final HOF Score: 46.4
      • WAR: 37.0
      • Adjusted HOF Score: 55.7

12. Buck Ewing, New York Giants

  • Career Duration: 1880 – 1897
  • Induction Year: 1939
  • Stats
    • PA: 5668
    • AVG: .304
    • OBP: .352
    • HR: 71
    • RBI: 860
    • SB: 349
    • TZ at primary position: 51
    • TZ at secondary positions (1B and OF) + positional adjustments: 18.4
    • MVPs: 0
    • WS MVPs: 0
    • Final HOF Score: 43.2
      • WAR: 47.6
      • Adjusted HOF Score: 38.8

13. Ernie Lombardi, Cincinnati Reds

  • Career Duration: 1931 – 1947
  • Induction Year: 1986
  • Stats
    • PA: 6231
    • AVG: .306
    • OBP: .359
    • HR: 186
    • RBI: 969
    • SB: 8
    • TZ at primary position: -21
    • MVPs: 1
    • WS MVPs: 0
    • Final HOF Score: 38.3
      • WAR: 46.2
      • Adjusted HOF Score: 30.4

14. Ray Schalk, Chicago White Sox

  • Career Duration: 1912 – 1929
  • Induction Year: 1955
  • Stats
    • PA: 6112
    • AVG: .253
    • OBP: .340
    • HR: 11
    • RBI: 583
    • SB: 174
    • TZ at primary position: 47
    • MVPs: 0
    • WS MVPs: 0
    • Final HOF Score: 37.7
      • WAR: 32.5
      • Adjusted HOF Score: 43.0

15. Yadier Molina, St. Louis Cardinals

  • Career Duration: 2004 – Present
  • Stats
    • PA: 0.282
    • AVG: .282
    • OBP: .334
    • HR: 146
    • RBI: 859
    • SB: 60
    • Fielding value at primary position: 234.1
    • MVPs: 0
    • WS MVPs: 0
    • Final HOF Score: 37.5
    • WAR: 38.9
    • Adjusted HOF Score: 36.1

16. Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants

  • Career Duration: 2009 – Present
  • Stats
    • PA: 4691
    • AVG: .306
    • OBP: .375
    • HR: 133
    • RBI: 635
    • SB: 23
    • Fielding value at primary position: 136.8
    • TZ at secondary position (1B) + positional adjustment: 7.1
    • MVPs: 1
    • WS MVPs: 0
    • Final HOF Score: 37.3
      • WAR: 41.3
      • Adjusted HOF Score: 33.2

17. Russell Martin, Los Angeles Dodgers

Photo: Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images
  • Career Duration: 2006 – Present
  • Stats
    • PA: 6399
    • AVG: .249
    • OBP: .349
    • HR: 185
    • RBI: 751
    • SB: 100
    • Fielding value at primary position: 193.2
    • MVPs: 0
    • WS MVPs: 0
    • Final HOF Score: 36.0
      • fWAR: 37.2
      • Adjusted HOF Score: 34.8

18. Roger Bresnahan, New York Giants

  • Career Duration: 1897 – 1915
  • Induction Year: 1945
  • Stats
    • PA: 5231
    • AVG: .278
    • OBP: .385
    • HR: 25
    • RBI: 512
    • SB: 208
    • TZ at primary position: -1
    • TZ at secondary position (OF) + positional adjustment: 2.8
    • MVPs: 0
    • WS MVPs: 0
    • Final HOF Score: 35.0
      • WAR: 41.8
      • Adjusted HOF Score: 35.0

19. Brian McCann, Atlanta Braves

  • Career Duration: 2005 – Present
  • Stats
    • PA: 6534
    • AVG: .263
    • OBP: .338
    • HR: 270
    • RBI: 714
    • SB: 25
    • Fielding value at primary position: 198.1
    • MVPs: 0
    • WS MVPs: 0
    • Final HOF Score: 34.5
    • WAR: 31.5
    • Adjusted HOF Score: 37.5

20. Victor Martinez, Cleveland Indians

  • Career Duration: 2002 – 2018
  • Eligibility Year: 2024
  • Stats
    • PA: 8130
    • AVG: .295
    • OBP: .360
    • HR: 245
    • RBI: 1173
    • SB: 7
    • Fielding value at primary position: -34.4
    • TZ at secondary positions (1B and DH) + positional adjustment: -6.6
    • MVPs: 0
    • WS MVPs: 0
    • Final HOF Score: 33.7
      • WAR: 32.3
      • Adjusted HOF Score: 35.0

21. Rick Ferrell, Boston Red Sox

Photo: Baseball Hall of Fame
  • Career Duration: 1929 – 1947
  • Induction Year: 1984
  • Stats
    • PA: 6957
    • AVG: .281
    • OBP: .378
    • HR: 28
    • RBI: 722
    • SB: 29
    • TZ: -4
    • MVPs: 0
    • WS MVPs: 0
    • Final HOF Score: 27.2
      • WAR: 33.7
      • Adjusted HOF Score: 20.7

22. A.J. Pierzynski, Chicago White Sox

  • Career Duration: 1998 – 2016
  • Eligibility Year: 2022
  • Stats
    • PA: 7680
    • AVG: .280
    • OBP: .318
    • HR: 186
    • RBI: 894
    • SB: 14
    • Fielding value at primary position: -68.2
    • MVPs: 0
    • WS MVPs: 0
    • Final HOF Score: 24.5
      • WAR: 23.2
      • Adjusted HOF Score: 25.7

23. Jonathan Lucroy, Los Angeles Angels

  • Career Duration: 2010 – Present
  • Stats
    • PA: 4240
    • AVG: .277
    • OBP: .337
    • HR: 100
    • RBI: 509
    • SB: 30
    • Fielding value at primary position: 141.3
    • MVPs: 0
    • WS MVPs: 0
    • Final HOF Score: 19.8
      • fWAR: 19.0
      • Adjusted HOF Score: 20.6

24. Kurt Suzuki, Washington Nationals

  • Career Duration: 2007 – Present
  • Stats
    • PA: 5319
    • AVG: .258
    • OBP: .315
    • HR: 114
    • RBI: 619
    • SB: 19
    • Fielding value at primary position: -87.2
    • MVPs: 0
    • WS MVPs: 0
    • Final HOF Score: 17.7
      • WAR: 19.8
      • Adjusted HOF Score: 15.7

25. Matt Wieters, St. Louis Cardinals

  • Career Duration: 2009 – Present
  • Stats
    • PA: 4092
    • AVG: .249
    • OBP: .314
    • HR: 130
    • RBI: 501
    • SB: 8
    • Fielding value at primary position: 20.5
    • MVPs: 0
    • WS MVPs: 0
    • Final HOF Score: 17.0
      • WAR: 17.1
      • Adjusted HOF Score: 16.9

26. Chris Iannetta, Colorado Rockies

  • Career Duration: 2006 – Present
  • Stats
    • PA: 3996
    • AVG: .229
    • OBP: .346
    • HR: 133
    • RBI: 471
    • SB: 11
    • Fielding value at primary position: -105.0
    • MVPs: 0
    • WS MVPs: 0
    • Final HOF Score: 13.6
      • WAR: 15.9
      • Adjusted HOF Score: 11.3

1. Josh Gibson, Homestead Grays

Photo: Baseball Hall of Fame
  • Career Duration: 1930 – 1946
  • Induction Year: 1972
  • Stats
    • PA: 2119
    • HR: 113
    • RBI: 361
    • SB: 26

2. Biz Mackey, Hilldale Giants

  • Career Duration: 1920 – 1947
  • Induction Year: 2006
  • Stats
    • PA: 3969
    • HR: 57
    • RBI: 403
    • SB: 72

3. Louis Santop, Hilldale Daisies

  • Career Duration: 1911 – 1926
  • Induction Year: 2006
  • Stats
    • PA: 1312
    • HR: 16
    • RBI: 208
    • SB: 33

2 comments

    • I only included catchers currently in the HOF or guys who are eligible in the future. I will calculate Burgess’ score (so you can see where he stands amongst his peers) at some point in the coming days and I’ll get back to you then.

      Like

Leave a Reply to MaxG Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s