Around the Diamond – Safe at Home

Gary Carter

In the 52 seasons the Mets have played, they have had 23 different catchers who would be considered their “primary” catcher in any given season. The following players have caught the most games in a Mets uniform. (seasons as the primary catcher in parenthesis)

10. Vance Wilson (2003) – Vance appeared in 255 games as catcher (165 starts) and also spent a couple of seasons as Mike Piazza’s backup and became their primary catcher during Mike’s injury plagued 2003 season. That year, he hit .243 with 8 HR and 39 RBI.

9. Ramon Castro – Ramon was never the primary catcher during his Mets career, but did serve as the understudy to Mike Piazza, Paul LoDuca, and Brian Schneider during his tenure. He appeared in 256 games behind the plate (185 starts) and in 2007, he hit .285 with 11 HR and 31 RBI in 35 starts. In 2007, he started a career high 57 games.

8. Mackey Sasser (1990) – Mackey appeared in 261 games as catcher (183 starts). In 1990, he hit .307 with 6 HR and 41 RBI.

7. Josh Thole (2011-12) – Josh appeared in 279 games behind the plate (247 starts). In 2011, he hit .268 with 3 HR and 40 RBI.

6. Ron Hodges (1983) – Ron played his entire 12 year MLB career as a Met, primarily as a backup to Jerry Grote, John Stearns, Alex Trevino, and Mike Fitzgerald. He caught 445 games (369 starts) and in 1983, he hit .260 with 0 HR and 21 RBI when he started a career high 73 games.

5. Gary Carter (1985-88). The Kid caught 566 games (550 starts) and in 1985 he hit .281 with 32 HR and 100 RBI. The Hall of Famer made 4 consecutive All-Star teams as a Met (1985-88) and two Silver Sluggers with the Mets (1985-86).

4. John Stearns (1977-79, 1981-82). John caught 698 games (651 starts). In 1978, he hit .264 with 15 HR, 73 RBI, and 25 stolen bases.

3. Todd Hundley (1992-97). A solid defensive catcher like his father Randy, Todd caught 745 games (647 starts). In 1996, he hit .259 with a franchise record 41 HR and 112 RBI.

2. Mike Piazza (1998-2002, 2005). The Future Hall of Famer caught 826 games (815 starts). In 2000, he hit .324 with 38 HR and 113 RBI.

1. Jerry Grote (1966-71, 1973-76). Jerry caught 1,176 games (1,105 starts). In 1969, he hit .252 with 6 HR and 40 RBI. He led a very young pitching staff to the Mets’ first World Series title in ’69.

 

* Writer note:  I missed Duffy Dyer when making out the original list – Duffy Dyer was the primary catcher in 1972, when he started 91 games behind the dish, batting .231 with 8 HR and 36 RBI.  As a Met, he caught 296 games (275 starts), which would place him 7th on the list – behind Ron Hodges, and before Josh Thole.

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Roger is a lifelong Mets fan since 1981, now married with kids and still knows that there is no such thing as a bad day at the ballpark with your child. Growing up, he wanted to be either the Second Baseman for the Mets - or their statistician. Follow him at @BigMetsFan1. email him at metsfanontwitter@aol.com
  • Though he was always a backup, I’m surprised not to see Duffy Dyer on the list. He was around for all of my early Met years. We should at least give him honorable mention. Great defense and awesome name, Duffy Dyer!

  • Flatbush0460

    Oh god, Dyer was just awful.

  • Captain America

    Except for a couple that’s a pretty low bar and the back end of the top 10 is not much

  • Joey D.

    Hi Flatbush,
    But I was at the ’69 season opener when Dyer hit a mammoth pinch hit shot to left in the ninth to bring the Mets within one in that loss to Montreal in their initial game so he did at least have his one big, shining moment. LOL

  • Hodges14

    Piazza, Carter, & Grote make up for it. They were all special in their own ways.

  • john q

    John Stearns is an underrated player in Mets’ history. He was just about the only thing worth watching during those horrible Disco era Mets of 1977-1980.

    Here’s how they rank according to their Mets’ career WAR:

    Piazza, 24.3
    Stearns, 19.4
    Grote, 15.6
    Carter, 11.3
    Hundley, 9.2
    Hodges, 6.2
    Cannizzaro, 3.5
    Pratt, 2.6
    V. Wilson, 2.6
    Lo Duca, 2.5

    Best Met Season by WAR:

    G. Carter-1985, 6.9
    Piazza-1998, 5.4
    Stearns-1978, 5.3
    Piazza-2000, 5.1
    Hundley-1996, 5.0
    Piazza-2001, 4.4
    Piazza-1999, 4.2
    Stearns-1982, 3.8
    Hundley-1997, 3.7
    G. Carter-1986, 3.6

    It’s kind of interesting that Grote is 2nd overall but doesn’t have any season in the top 10.

    Rookie Season:

    V. Wilson-2002, 1.0
    C. C. Coleman-1962, 0.7
    J. Thole-2010, 0.7
    A. Castillo-1998, 0.6
    A. Recker-2013, 0.6

    d’Arnaund could have this mark in 2014.

    HOF:
    Berra, G. Carter

    PED:
    Piazza, Hundley, V. Wilson, Lo Ducca, and Paulino.

    Future Manager:
    Berra, Bochy, J. Gibbons, S. Alomar, C. Hurdle.

    Worst Seasons:
    J. Stephenson-’66, (-1.1)
    H. Taylor-’66, (-1.1)
    J. Ortiz-’83, (-1.1)
    Goossen-’67, (-0.9)
    Sasser-’92, (-0.9)

    Longest Tenure:
    Grote, Hodges, 12 seasons.

    Best Trade:
    Mike Piazza for P. Wilson, E. Yarnall, G. Goetz
    J. Grote for T. Parsons.
    C. Johnson, R. Cendeno for T. Hundley & A. Gooch.

    Piazza was a bit of an odd in that he went to the Marlins via the Dodgers. Even if the Mets never resigned Piazza after ’98, it was still a good trade.

    Grote for Parsons was a steal. C. Johnson & R. Cendeno was a paper trade but a steal. C. Johnson was traded for A. Benitez.

    Worst Trade:

    J. Davis for Ray Searage
    T. Pratt for G. Bennett.

    Good Trade but not as great as people make it out to be:
    G. Carter for H. Brooks, F. Youmans, M. Fitzgerald, H. Winningham.

    G. Carter was outstanding in ’85 and good in 1986 but he was shot from ’87-89. He had a big 2 HR and a big hit in the ’86 WS but overall his WS wasn’t that great. His 1986 & 1988 NLCS were awful. H. Brooks and Youmans had very good 1986 seasons and some decent seasons sprinkled in between. Fitzgerald gave the Expos 6 somewhat decent seasons of part time work. Winningham was bust. Overall it’s a slight advantage to the Mets and they won 1 WS but the Mets gave up a lot to get Carter and it’s not the big lopsided trade people think it was.

  • GHW4

    Duffy Dyer played in 375 games as catcher for the Mets. Why doesn’t he make the list?

  • Ghw4

    Duffy Dyer should be on this list.

  • Flatbush0460

    Hello Joey D., my recollection of Dwyer was he was very robotic defensively, and oh man, he swung like a rusty gate. Give the man credit for his longevity, but I despised whenever Grote got the game off, lol

  • After watching Game 6 of the ’86 World Series, I really hate that I missed watching that team (being 3 back then and all). Straw and Gooden have always been my heroes from afar. But…Gary Carter was awesome man. I hate that I missed watching that guy play, lead, and compete.