With 14,865th putout, Yadi sets MLB record

June 14th, 2022

ST. LOUIS – In a season already full of record-setting performances from retiring stars Albert Pujols and Yadier Molina, the Cardinals catcher made some landmark MLB history on Tuesday by doing what he’s done for the past 18-plus seasons: He caught a foul popup for an out.

When Molina corralled the sky-high pop off the bat of Pirates’ star Ke’Bryan Hayes in the sixth inning of Tuesday’s Game 1, the 39-year-old catcher passed Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez for first in MLB history with his 14,865th putout as a catcher.

Upon registering the record-breaker, Molina was given a standing ovation by many from the announced crowd of 31,193 fans at Busch Stadium who braved the 96-degree, 106-degree heat index temperatures. Molina acknowledged the crowd by waving his catcher’s mitt, and the game ball was thrown to the Cardinals' dugout to add to his expansive memorabilia collection.

“No doubt, that’s a sign of how long he’s been in the league,” said Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol, who at 35 years old is younger than his veteran catcher. “It seems like they’re breaking records left and right with the group that we have, but there’s another one. [Outs] are important -- regardless of who’s making them.”

Earlier this season, Molina worked with Adam Wainwright to become the winningest starting battery in MLB history with 203 combined team wins. Molina and Wainwright moved into a tie for second with Warren Spahn and Del Crandall for most starts among a battery with 316 on Saturday. They have their sights on the all-time mark of 324 starts by Mickey Lolich and Bill Freehan, and they hope to become the most accomplished battery in MLB history by season’s end.

Pujols, 42 and also in the final year of his MLB career, started Tuesday’s game at first base. That tied him with Jim Bottomley for first in Cardinals history in games played at first base at 1,340. Pujols won three MVPs and two World Series in his first stint with the Cardinals from 2001-11, and he returned to St. Louis this season in a role in which he largely splits his time between DH, pinch-hitter and reserve first baseman.