‘Hall Of Fame Debate’ – Yogi Berra VS Johnny Bench
When the conversation of the greatest catchers of all-time is brought up, there is a very small list of names that get mentioned.
But, two names appear in most conversations – Yogi Berra and Johnny Bench. Sure, the names Mike Piazza, Roy Campanella, Thurman Munson, and even Ted Simmons get mentioned, but it is the names of Berra & Bench that get mentioned the most.
So, let’s get right into it as we debate about the two players with the goal of selecting the best ever.
On to the debate!!!
Here is a look at the players’ career resumes:
|Yogi Berra||Johnny Bench|
|200 Hit Seasons||0||0|
|150-199 Hit Seasons||4||5|
|30-39 HR Seasons||2||2|
|40+ HR Seasons||0||2|
Pretty close numbers in quite a few categories.
The standout numbers for me:
- Berra has 102 more hits in 38 less games
- Berra’s (4) .300 seasons to Bench’s (1)
- Bench drew 187 more walks than Berra
- Bench struck out 864 more times than Berra in 38 less games
- On-Base % is eerily close
- 60 more doubles for Bench
- 31 more home runs for Bench
- Berra has 54 more RBI
- Postseason appearances and WS wins heavily favors Bench
Wow, talk about two very accomplished players! Both of these guys are elite, and not just at catcher…
But, who is the more accomplished player? Who is the greatest catcher of all-time??
Before I give you my vote, it is important to say that the Gold Glove Award did not exist during Berra’s career. He was a solid defender, and more than likely would have won a few GG Awards. Would he top Bench’s 10? We’ll never know.
And now for my vote….
It goes to Yogi Berra. This guy does not get anywhere close to the respect that he deserves as a former elite player. Sure, he played on some mighty teams, but so did Bench. And for Berra to capture MVP Awards on teams that boasted DiMaggio and Mantle and Maris on their squads, it says a ton about the player that he was. He was a skilled hitter with a very disciplined approach at the plate. And when he did connect, he drove in runs at a pretty solid rate.
And then you have the postseason. While no single player is solely responsible for their team’s winning ways, Yogi Berra was the foundation of the Yankee’s defense while also being a strong contributor on offense. Bench did all of this as well – but his team made it to a lot less postseasons (Yes, I know that he played in a time when there were more teams in the league). But, for me, I cannot escape the fact that Berra played in the postseason in 14 of his 19 years in the major leagues – ultimately winning the World Series an astonishing ten times.
He’s got my vote for the greatest catcher of all-time!!!!
And now it is your turn. Give me your votes now!!!