After some technical difficulties, I am finally able to continue this series. This week we will look at the catchers. Full disclosure, in my brief and inauspicious baseball career, I was a catcher. At first, it was a combination of me big a big (code word: fat) kid, and nobody else wanted to do it, so it meant I got to play if I did. They say the “tools of ignorance” are the quickest route to the big leagues. Obviously that didn’t happen for me. The catcher positions has evolved over time. It used to be mostly a defensive position, with any offense you got being a bonus. But guys like Johnny Bench and Mike Piazza changed that.

I will remind you that these are not in any particular order.

The Contenders

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Michael Barrett. Barrett played 3 full seasons with the Cubs, and hit .284 in that stretch. He also hit at least 16 home runs and had at least 25 doubles in those 3 years. Barrett is most remembered for punching A.J. Pierzynski in the face during a crosstown game with the White Sox. And really, who among us wouldn’t have loved to have done that?

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Jody Davis. Davis spent  8 seasons in the blue pinstripes. He reached double digits in home runs in 6 of those. Twice he lead the league in throwing out would-be base stealers, and captured a Gold Glove in 1986. A 2-time All Star, Jody, like many Cubs, had his best season in 1984 when he drove in a career high 94 runs and hit .389 with 2 homers and 6 RBI in the National League Championship Series against the Padres.

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Randy Hundley. Durability was synonymous with Hundley. He won a Gold Glove in 1967 and lead the league in throwing out runners twice. Offensively, Hundley’s best season was 1969 when he hit 18 home runs and was named an NL All Star.

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Geovany Soto. Soto took NL Rookie of the Year honors in 2008, hitting .285 with 23 homers and 86 RBI. He also hit 17 home runs twice, in 2010 and 2011. He also led the league with 36 caught stealings in 2011.

And the Winner Is….

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Gabby Hartnett. Hartnett played an incredible 19 seasons with the Cubs, appearing in 4 World Series. He hit .297 lifetime with 236 home runs and drove in 1179 runs. In 190 he hit .339 with 37 homers and 122 RBI. He was a  6-time All Star and the National League’s MVP in 1935. In 1938, Hartnett hit the famous “homer in the gloamin'” against the Pirates, late in the game with darkness looming (remember no lights in Wrigley Field until 1988). Hartnett was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1955.

So there you have it. Once again, I was not a prisoner of the modern day, going back, way back, in time to find the man I deemed worthy of holding the position. BUt who did I leave out? Is there somebody you’d have chosen that I didn’t? Or maybe you disagree with my selections.

Feel free to let me know as I take next week off and select the All Time Cubs shortstop. (Hint: It rhymes with Bernie Shanks).

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