FILE - In this Oct. 25, 1986 file photo, Boston Red Sox's Jim Rice is tagged out at the plate by New York Mets catcher Gary Carter during seventh inning action in Game 6 of baseball's World Series at New York's Shea Stadium. Baseball Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson said Thursday, Feb. 16, 2012, that Hall of Fame catcher Gary Carter has died. (AP Photo/Peter Southwick, File)
With the passing of Gary Carter this week, it’s hard not to think back and remember him as most of us do, as one of the greatest catchers of all time.
A Hall of Famer, Carter was epitome of tough and gave Montreal Expos and New York Mets fans some of their greatest moments in their respective team histories.
Many people grew up idolizing him and his play. “The Kid” as he was known played just like his nickname.
With his passing I’ve compiled my list of some of the greatest catchers IN MY OPINION of all-time and the catcher Latino catcher now who I feel is making the biggest impact on his team.
These are people I grew up watching or that I learned to respect from learning their history.
The 1986 Mets weren’t expected to be contenders that year much less be in the World Series but with the game on the line and much to the Boston Red Sox’s chagrin Gary Carter began the Game 6 comeback with one hit that would shape the history of the two franchises participating.
After the Mets rallied in Game 6, remember Bill Buckner, Carter lead the charge in Game 7 tying the game and making the Mets “Amazin’.”
Carter batted .262 and was an 11 time All-Star. He also took the Expos to their only playoff appearance.
In my opinion he was the definition of “clutch.”
“It ain’t over til’ it’s over.” What the hell did that mean?
That statement defines Yogi Berra, the New York Yankees great who won 13 championships, all in New York, was selected for 18 All-Star games.
Not bad for an 8th grade drop out.
Berra was tough and durable and that quote defined what type of ball player he was. He played 100% until it was over.
He was the greatest overachiever.
When the Los Angeles Dodgers decided to trade Mike Piazza to the Florida Marlins I ceased being a Dodger fan.
How could they trade a future Hall of Famer away?
L.A.’s loss became New York Mets fans’ gain as he cemented himself as the Hall of Famer most people accepted he'd be.
A 12 time All-Star Piazza, he was a leader who took the Mets to the famed Subway series of 2000 against their inner city rival Yankees.
He never got his championship but he did win my loyalty with his demeanor and style of play.
Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez
He had a rocket for an arm and chances were if you tried to steal second base on him you weren’t going to pull it off.
14 All-Star games, 13 Gold Gloves, he was synonymous with the Texas Rangers but because he played in the modern era in 2003 he was destined to reach other goals someplace else.
He signed a one year deal with the Florida Marlins where he won his only championship in six games against the mighty Yankees. He also helped the Detroit Tigers win the 2006 American League pennant.
Not bad for a kid from Puerto Rico.
The engine of the “Big Red Machine,” Johnny Bench was a prototype for what a catcher should be when he played for the Cincinnati Reds in the 70’s.
Bench was Pete Rose without the drama and the glitz.
Bench did it all, two-time World Champion, World Series MVP, 14-time All-Star, 10-time Gold Glove winner, Rookie of the year, National League MVP… name an award for the best and he’s probably won it.
He’s a baseball Hall of Famer and played his entire career in Cincinnati.
If you have a son and he says he wants to be a catcher, you should tell him to be like Johnny Bench.
Who’s the best today?
It may be too soon but I believe Puerto Rican sensation Yadíer Molina is on his way to being one of the greatest.
His bat is consistent; he already has two rings with the St. Louis Cardinals.
Yadíer is the present day catcher to look up to.