The Athletics’ Kurt Suzuki made the defense play of the year, catchers’ division, in last night’s loss to the Mariners. Check it out here.
Catching the ball would have been highlight enough. The fact that he caught it, stayed on his feet, saw Chone Figgins running and then threw a perfect strike down to Kouzmanoff at third made it nothing short of spectacular.
I caught when I played Babe Ruth baseball when I was 15. I wouldn’t have been able to run back to the backstop, pick up the ball I missed by 5 feet, and then run back to the plate before the runner at second was back in the dugout after having scored, gotten a drink and found his glove for the next half inning.
Yadier Molina has two World Series rings, multiple Gold Gloves, Platinum Gloves, All-Star appearances and a Silver Slugger award. He now has an all-time record too.
The record: the most games caught with one team. Last night he caught his 1756th career game with the Cardinals, with ties him with Gabby Hartnett of the Cubs, who last caught in 1941 and set the record in 1940, his last season with Chicago. Molina will break the record next time he dons the tools of ignorance, likely tonight against the Phillies.
Given how badly catchers get beaten up — and Molina has taken a beating at times in his career — and given how well mastery of the position leads to a catcher earning journeyman status, as it were, it’s quite a thing to catch that many games for one team.
Given that Molina is under contract with the Cardinals for two more seasons and has stated his desire to retire a Cardinal many times, he’s likely to put that record so far out of reach that it’ll likely take at least another 78 years to break it, if indeed it is ever broken.