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Molina joins top four doubles-hitting Cardinals catchers of all time

As I begin to think about our annual awards for the top players across the St. Louis Cardinals system this year, the question of the major league club’s MVP is front and center.

Is it the perennial winner Albert Pujols, who has come on strongly late in the season? Could it be the cleanup hitter Matt Holliday, about whom manager Tony La Russa told me Monday, “This club is built around Matt”? Then there is surprising Lance Berkman, who may receive a majority of votes for the National League Comeback Player of the Year Award.

One who gets little notice other than for his defense, as recognized by Gold Glove Awards and All-Star Game selections, is catcher Yadier Molina. In 2011, people should celebrate his offensive contributions as well.

The 29-year-old had never hit double-digits in home runs before smacking 13 this season and needs just one more RBI to match his career-best of 62 set last year. His .298 batting average and 133 hits are highest among National League catchers.

Molina’s Tuesday night double was his 30th of the season. He is the first Cardinals catcher to collect 30 or more doubles since Ted Simmons in 1980 and is only the fourth to ever accomplish the feat. As such, it is not surprising that Molina’s current OPS of .792 is not only a career best, it is almost 100 points above his eight-season average.

Simmons remains the Cardinals catching gold standard, with six of the team’s nine seasons of 30 doubles by a catcher. (He had two other seasons of over 30 doubles, as well, but fewer than 30 were while he was stationed behind the plate.) The other 30 doubles-hitting catchers are Bob O’Farrell in 1926 and Walker Cooper in 1943.

30 or more doubles by Cardinals catchers Year As catcher All positions
Ted Simmons 1978 39 40
Ted Simmons 1973 34 36
Ted Simmons 1976 35
Ted Simmons 1974 33
Ted Simmons 1975 32 32
Ted Simmons 1980 32 33
Ted Simmons 1971 32 32
Ted Simmons 1972 30 36
Bob O’Farrell 1926 30 30
Walker Cooper 1943 30 32
Walker Cooper 1942 32
Yadier Molina 2011 30 30

Thanks to researcher Tom Orf for the above data.

Where should Yadier Molina rank in team MVP voting?

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Brian Walton

Brian Walton runs The Cardinal Nation and The Cardinal Nation Blog, covering the St. Louis Cardinals and minor league system.
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25 Responses to “Molina joins top four doubles-hitting Cardinals catchers of all time”

  1. crdswmn says:

    What do you think are Molina’s chances of winning the Silver Slugger at catcher this year? Brian McCann has been slumping, but Miguel Montero has some awesome numbers though his average is a little lower than Yadi’s. Montero has a higher OPS and more power so I’m thinking he is probably the front runner.

    • CariocaCardinal says:

      Didn’t the silver slugger used to be based solely on batting average.

    • Brian Walton says:

      Good question. McCann has the name recognition. Montero may have trouble breaking the ice. Molina may be in between. I doubt the majority of the voting managers and coaches will check stats. They may just vote on who looked best against them. I’d guess McCann remains the favorite.

      • crdswmn says:

        You don’t think Molina has “looked” as good as McCann this year? McCann has been in a pretty prolonged slump for him, and surely all those HR’s for Molina has gotten some people’s attention.

        • Brian Walton says:

          Depends on when the Braves played the other teams during the season. Was it when McCann was hot or cold?
          By the way, McCann still has more home runs, RBI and a higher OPS than Molina this season. While Molina’s homers have likely garnered attention, McCann has almost twice as many (24 to 13).

          Further, my observation over the years is that it takes awhile for past winners to lose their built-in edge in voting for these kinds of awards. In other words, even if their offensive numbers were equal, McCann may continue to win until clearly unseated.

          Not saying it is fair, just guessing how I think it might go…

          • crdswmn says:

            Well, I was just responding off your comment that coaches and managers likely won’t check stats. Which is unfortunate, because then maybe somebody who really deserved it might actually win an award (in this case I think it should be Montero).

            • Brian Walton says:

              Well, since McCann has hit almost twice as many homers as Molina and more RBI, some voters saw each of them.

              Montero has certainly had a nice year, too. By definition, these awards are subjective, so it will depend on how the voters feel. McCann has the past success edge and Molina has the defensive edge. Neither should matter, but I think they do in the minds of some, even if subliminal.

  2. crdswmn says:

    I voted for Molina for third but I have to say that of all the players on the team (and that includes the big 3), I think Molina’s offense has been the most consistent over the season. He has had very few slumps and those that he has had have been of short duration. I wonder if there is a correlation between his increased offense and his decreased defense on the season. I hope this decline in defense is not permanent.

  3. crdswmn says:

    I am thinking about going to one of the games this weekend against the Cubs. The choices are either Friday or Sunday. Friday is a night game with Carp/Dempster pitching and Sunday is a day game with Jackson/Wells pitching. Weather forecast is the same for both games. Seats will be generally in the same area but the Friday night game is more expensive.

    Anybody want to help me decide?

    • T8Ball says:

      With the chance there, I’d go to the Sunday game and possibly witness Albert’s last home game. Should be a charged atmosphere. My own opinion is he’s back with the Cards after this season, but I think given the option, I’d still go with Sunday. You know, “I was there when…….”. Can’t pass up that, IMO.

    • Brian Walton says:

      I agree. The Friday matchup is better but if the team is still in it, the Sunday atmosphere should be special as the last home game of the regular season.

      One plus for Friday is that Johnson City and Quad Cities teams will be honored before the game. On Sunday, you will get a voucher for a free 2012 ticket, which is hard to beat (Fan Appreciation Day).

  4. Brian Walton says:

    Wednesday lineup:

    1. Rafael Furcal (S) SS
    2. Allen Craig (R) LF
    3. Albert Pujols (R) 1B
    4. Lance Berkman (S) RF
    5. David Freese (R) 3B
    6. Jon Jay (L) CF
    7. Yadier Molina (R) C
    8. Skip Schumaker (L) 2B
    9. Jaime Garcia (L) P

  5. blingboy says:

    Albert is at 99R and 97RBI, so maybe we will see him reach a milestone tonight. .304 avg., incredible second half.

    Congrats to Yadi.

  6. blingboy says:

    I missed the game but see that Jackson didn’t have a great line. Would he be the odd man out of a post-season rotation?

  7. blingboy says:

    100 runs scored for Albert. Again.

  8. JumboShrimp says:

    Freese legging out a triple is astounding.

  9. JumboShrimp says:

    Freese does not have to run hard on that one. Glad to see him reach double digits on dingers.
    A couple of years ago, before the leg injuries, he had some pop. It would be nice if he could build off this year and produce more in 2012.

  10. Kansasbirdman says:

    Ooooooooohweeee! Been some. Exciting games last two nights. Baby’s bedtime hhaas been the bottom of the 7th so I have misseed the live actionv had tto watch the replays on the dvr. Beginning to think tho that they are having better luck when I’m not in the room

  11. JumboShrimp says:

    1.5 games out, with 7 left. Finding ways to win.

    There used to be nonsense here about Tony’s teams running out of gas. It all depends on your squad. This year, the Cards gelled after trades. So now they are finishing this season strong. The wins count the same in April or September, and owe more to the players and GM than to TLR. We now have a good team, so hope to make the playoffs.

    If we miss the playoffs, however, its still nice to finish on a winning note, going into the off season.

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