With Carlos Ruiz leading the majors in batting average and claiming a berth on his first ever National League All-Star team, we figure the time is right for a Top 10 list of the best Phillies catchers of all time:
10. (tie) Ozzie Virgil, Jr. and Tim McCarver
Virgil was the backup catcher on the 1983 pennant-winning Phillies, and hit 18 homers in 1984 and 19 in 1985, when he was selected as an All-Star.
McCarver had two stints with the Phillies and was Steve Carlton’s “personal” catcher.
9. Smoky Burgess
Burgess, a 1954 All-Star selection as a Phillie, would have had a better Phillies career, but the Fightins decided to trade him to Cincinnati to bring back an aging Andy Seminick. Burgess made the All-Star team 4 more times as a Pirate.
8. Red Dooin
Dooin is #2 on the Phillies’ all-time list with 1124 games caught, from 1902-1914.
7. Jack Clements
Clements recorded 17 home runs in the dead ball season of 1893, and ranks #5 on the Phillies’ all-time list with 956 games caught between 1884 (the second year of the Phillies’ existence) and 1897. Clements was likely the best left-handed throwing catcher of all-time.
6. Stan Lopata
Lopata teamed up with Andy Seminick to form a great catching and hitting duo from postwar and throughout most of the 1950′s and made Smoky Burgess expendable. Lopata clubbed 22 homers in 1955 and 32 in 1956, both All-Star seasons for him.
5. Andy Seminick
Andy Seminick, a 1949 All-Star and #14 in the MVP vote of 1950, was the starting catcher on the 1950 Whiz Kids and hit double-digit home runs for 6 straight years before being traded to the Reds. Seiminck returned for parts of 3 more seasons from 1955-1957.
4. Mike Lieberthal
Mike Lieberthal is the Phillies’ all-time leader in games caught (1139) and will be inducted into the Phillies’ Wall of Fame in August. He was a 2-time All-Star and a Gold Glove winner in 1999, and hit 150 homers as a Phillie – tops among Phils catchers.
3. Carlos Ruiz
Carlos Ruiz was the starting catcher for the 2008 World Champion Phillies and in fact, has been an integral part of the team-record 5 consecutive division title run. Despite never having won a Gold Glove or All-Star berth, Ruiz has been in the top 25 in the NL MVP vote each of the last 2 seasons.
2. Darren Daulton
Darren Daulton was the starting catcher on the 1993 pennant-winning Phillies, and the leader of the team’s “Macho Row.” Daulton was a 3-time All-Star and is the only Phillies catcher to lead the NL in RBI (109 in 1992). Daulton ranks fourth on the Phillies’ all-time list with 965 games caught.
1. Bob Boone
Bob Boone was the starting catcher for the 1980 World Champion Phillies, and was a 3-time All-Star and 2-time Gold Glove winner as a Phillie (he won seven career Gold Gloves and earned four career All-Star selections). Boone ranks third on the Phillies’ all-time list with 1064 games caught, and ranks third all-time in career games caught in the majors (2225, behind Ivan Rodriguez and Carlton Fisk).