Enjoy 10 of the best plays made by catchers in the last 30 years
10 of the best plays by catchers in the last 30 years
The 2015 campaign is officially underway now that pitchers and catchers are reporting to Spring Training. Real-life baseball action might still be a few weeks away, but it's not too early to bask in some of the magic brought forth by pitchers and catchers in years past. The aces always seem to get the glory, so let's turn our eyes to the other half of the battery: it's time to relive 10 of the greatest defensive plays made by catchers in the last 30 years.
This list starts off with a bang because Blue Jays catcher (and current broadcaster) Buck Martinez turned one of the greatest double plays you'll ever see back in July of 1985. When Mariners DH Gorman Thomas singled to right field, Phil Bradley tried to score from second and barreled Martinez over at the plate.
Martinez dislocated his ankle and fractured his leg on the play, but still had the awareness to try to throw Thomas out from his backside. When the throw sailed past third base, Martinez caught a second throw at home (again from his butt) and tagged Thomas to complete an incredibly odd double play:
Carlton Fisk will be forever remembered for waving that iconic homer into the Fenway Park foul pole, but he also wasn't too shabby behind the plate. In August of '85, Fisk tagged two Yankees out at home … on the same play:
The 1991 World Series was an instant classic as the Braves and Twins went the distance, with Minnesota hurler Jack Morris slamming the door shut emphatically in Game 7. Behind the plate for the Twins that season was Brian Harper, who held on tight when Lonnie Smith ran him over at the plate in Game 4:
Speaking of Harper, check him out in '92, making an acrobatic play to catch a ball that careened off his pitcher's leg, then relaying it to first all in one motion:
In August of 1994, Sandy Alomar Jr. demonstrated that the Progressive Field dimensions aren't exactly set in stone:
If there's such a thing as a walk-off tag, this would be it. Ivan Rodriguez stood his ground at the plate to end Game 4 of the 2003 NLDS and help the Marlins advance:
In July of 2008, the Rangers cut down a run at the plate when catcher Max Ramirez held the ball through a brutal collision. Then, he recovered to catch an Angels runner trying to sneak into third:
On May 17, 2009, Joe Mauer was behind the plate for the Twins when Jose Mijares tried to backhand a ball up the middle. Mauer had to leave his post to field it and faked a throw to first, but turned to catch a speeding Brett Gardner at the plate:
A great catcher once said that baseball is 90-percent mental and the other half is physical, and A.J. Ellis' heads-up play from 2012 is proof of that statement. In the ninth inning of a tie game, Padres first baseman Jesus Guzman tried to pull back on a bunt attempt, but inadvertently put the ball in play with the handle of his bat. Ellis grabbed the ball and started a 1-5-4-3 triple play to get the Dodgers out of the jam:
Pirates catcher Tony Sanchez put his grace on display in 2013 when he went over the railing and into the dugout to haul in this foul ball.
Those are our 10 favorites, but the truth is that there's no shortage of phenomenal defense going on behind the plate. Think we missed one? Let us know (politely, you animals).