There has been a lot of catcher comparison in the HOF voting. I want to compare all the nominated catchers who were considered “catchers” during their career.
NOTE: Kareem Nunnally is in the HOF, but he had 728 games as catcher, 805 as DH and 511 at 1B. over 1300 games in a non-catcher position.
Let’s look at the candidates:
Ricardo Alomar (12 seasons)
Joel McNamara (16 seasons)
Ricky Gibbs (15 seasons)
Eduardo Silva (15 seasons)
Billy Hermansen (12 seasons)
Horacio Vallarta (18 seasons)
Luis Iglesias (9 seasons)
Phil Zheng (17 seasons)
My first step will be to eliminate Silva, Gibbs & Iglesias as they spent more time as DH/1B and less than half of their games played were at the catcher position.
That brings us down to 5:
McNamara, Vallarta, Zheng, Alomar and Hermansen.
My personal rank would be: Vallarta, McNamara, Hermansen, Zheng and Alomar.
To me, you cannot talk about a catcher going to the Hall of Fame without mentioning Vallarta in the sentence as a lock.
One NOTE: Vallarta NEVER played for my team in his career! So, this is not a favorite because he was on my team.
I think the career numbers shows he has earned the honor! This is not to take away the accomplishments of the others on the list.
Offensively, here are the numbers:
2252 G, 1023 R, 2091 H, 1068 RBI, .294 BA, .375 OBP, .455 Slg
2356 G, 1630 R, 3008 H, 1321 RBI, .340 BA, .421 OBP, .522 Slg
2217 G, 1025 R, 2066 H, 752 RBI, .340 BA, .441 OBP, .451 Slg
1637 G, 946 R, 1866 H, 845 RBI, .344 BA, .448 OBP, .526 Slg
1451 G, 774 R, 1334 H, 817 RBI, .338 BA, .421 OBP, .576 Slg
Highlights: 4 of the 5 have outstanding career batting averages and OBP, above 340. 3 of the 5 have slugging pct over 520.
Vallarta is 1 of only 3 players in Mathewson World history to have 3000 hits!
It also appears we missed out on Hermansen and what final numbers he could have put up if he was in this world for his whole career.
Next, is the defense:
note: used Games Caught Pct, Field pct, ERA while catching, SB attempts and Caught Stealing pct.
94.01% GC pct, .998 Field pct, 4.31 ERA, 1729 SB att., 27.88% CS pct
87.10% GC pct, .996 Field pct, 4.44 ERA, 1688 SB att., 29.56% CS pct
66.94% GC pct, .994 Field pct, 4.43 ERA, 1388 SB att., 26.59% CS pct
70.07% GC pct, .994 Field pct, 5.15 ERA, 1194 SB att., 23.10% CS pct
78.43% GC pct, .997 Field pct, 4.88 ERA, 744 SB att., 22.18% CS pct
McNamara appears to be best of this group defensively. He and Vallarta were workhorses when it came to being behind the plate.
The fielding percentage and ERA for that long of a career for McNamara is a great accomplishment. Vallarta and Zheng’s ERA are also worth noting as accomplishments.
Vallarta’s Caught Stealing percentage is a little over 1.5 percentage points above any of the other 4.
And finally, the awards (only used awards as a Major League player):
6 AS, 1 SS, 1 GC & 1 WS ring
11 AS, 10 SS, 1 GC & 1 MVP
3 AS, 2 SS & 1 WS ring
3 AS & 4 SS
2 AS, 1 SS & 1 WS ring
Standing out is the double digit All Star Games and Silver Slugger total for Vallarta.
Only 2 (McNamara and Vallarta) earned Gold Gloves (1 each).
3 (McNamara, Zheng & Hermensen) won a world series in their careers.
Only 1 earned a league MVP, for a catcher, a great accomplishment!
I think these numbers show why I feel Vallarta belongs in the HOF! 3000+ hits. outstanding Batting percentages & an MVP!
He earned it, not just as a catcher, but as a major league player of any position!