Ivan Rodriguez hit career homerun number 300 on Sunday, putting himself in a special fraternity of backstops. Entering Sunday, only seven catchers had totaled 300 or more career homeruns while playing at least 3/4ths of their game at the position. They were:
ZiPS’ latest update has Pudge finishing with an additional seven homeruns through the end of the season, putting him about 17 shy of Parrish and Carter. Rodriguez’ placement on that list is pretty amazing when you consider his defensive reputation – well earned, mind you – as perhaps the best ever. Remember, Rodriguez has played the second most games at catcher of anyone in the history of the league, just over 2,300. That’s second to Carlton Fisk at 2,499. Depending on how Rodriguez’ season goes, he could find himself challenging that record at some point next season — assuming he can find a team.
Perhaps equally impressive to Pudge’s feat is Piazza’s. Sure, Piazza had his defensive shortcomings, especially later on, but his offensive totals are still awe-inspiring given the beatings he took behind the plate. Piazza ranks 14th in total games played as a backstop. As for some other catchers and their homerun totals, here’s a look at how ridiculous 300 homeruns really is:
As for other active catchers with a shot at 300, Jorge Posada sits at 226, Jason Varitek at 166, Ramon Hernandez at 138, Bengie Molina at 127, and A.J. Pierzynski at 102. That’s it for catchers over 100. Victor Martinez is the only catcher aged 30 or younger with 90, and the next youngest is Miguel Olio at 76. Brian McCann has 73 and he’s only 25, John Buck has 65 and is 28, Mike Napoli has 52 at age 27, and Joe Mauer has 50 at age 26.
Of course, the wild card in this could be a few weeks away, when Matt Wieters eventually arrives, but a question for discussion: which of the catchers is most likely to hit 300 homeruns? Or will any of them actually stick at catcher long enough to accomplish the feat as a catcher?