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How many games will Yadier Molina catch when he retires?

St Louis Cardinals legend Yadier Molina is starting his final season behind the plate and we look at the numbers in his marvellous two decade career.

St Louis Cardinals legend Yadier Molina is starting his final season behind the plate and we look at the numbers in his marvellous two decade career.

Anyone who has ever put on the catcher’s equipment and spent time squatting in the dirt behind home knows that they are playing in the the toughest, most physical, and least appreciated job in baseball. But for those who have spent time back there, it is the only spot on the field they would want to be. Yes, the pitcher gets the renown and the short stop gets all the glory, but the catcher is the true captain of the team.

The only one facing out, with all eight of your team mates looking at you, it is the catcher who shifts players over where they need to be, knows the foibles of the hitters, and guides his pitcher to the outs that are needed. Catchers’ careers tend to be short and brutal. Half of all catchers’ careers were less than three years. And when the game is finished with you, and you think about your trashed throwing arm and your aching, stiff knees, every catcher in the world, bar none, would gladly do it all again in an instant. For they know that, for that short time, they were the lynchpin of the game.

Yadier Molina has been one of the best catchers in the major leagues for 19 years. In that he joins a short list of the truly great ones. Johnny Bench, perhaps the best catcher who ever lived, caught for 16 years. Gary Carter and Yogi Berra caught for 19. Iván “Pudge” Rodriguez, a Puerto Rican compatriot of Molina, managed it for an astounding 21 seasons.

The list of catchers who have caught over 2000 games is a short one: only six players have ever done it.

Catchers with more than 2000 games behind the plate

Iván Rodríguez


Carlton Fisk


Bob Boone


Yadier Molina

Gary Carter2,056

Jason Kendall


Molina is in an exclusive club here, and in another, related club, his exclusivity is a club of one. He is the only catcher who has caught all of his 2000+ games with the same team. No other catcher, no other player for that matter, has commanded such loyalty from the club and the fans as Yadi. Beloved by the St Louis front office as much as the adoring public, trading Molina is unthinkable. More than business concerns, they wouldn’t do it because it would be seen as rude.

In recent years, Molina has caught an average of 115 games per season. If he is able to keep that pace up this year, he will be at 2,222 games behind the dish. Competitor that he is, there is no way that he would get that close to Bob Boone or Carlton Fisk without trying to stretch to another five games. Nor would the Cardinals deny him the opportunity.

Catching up with Pudge is a non-starter, since Molina confirmed that this season would be his last. But it is very possible that Molina will move into second place in the all-time games caught list. His place in Cooperstown is all but guaranteed anyway, but climbing that peak, finishing atop the legendary Fisk, would be a fitting end to this fantastic career. The boy from Bayamón has given us so much joy over the years, that we are all, Cardinal fans or not, willing him on to do it.

Baseball doesn’t have testimonial matches, as they do in soccer, but if there were then 2022 should be the Yadier Molina testimonial season. A time to say thank you from us, the fans, to the man who has enriched our lives. Here's to you Yadi.


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