Laurila: Q&A with Joe Torre on catchers

From SABR member David Laurila at FanGraphs on October 10, 2012:

When Dave Cameron recently wrote about Yadier Molina’s MVP-quality season, he included a chart that listed the best catcher seasons in baseball history. It was based on wRC+ and the name on the top of the list probably came as a surprise to many. It was Joe Torre.

The legendary manager, and current MLB executive, was an outstanding player from 1960 to 1977. Spending the bulk of his career with the Braves and Cardinals, he hit .297/.365/.452, with 252 home runs and was a perennial All-Star. He won a batting title, an MVP award and a Gold Glove. None of them came in the season he posted the record wRC+.

Torre was at Comerica Park for last weekend’s Tigers-A’s series. Prior to Game One, he took a few minutes to talk about Molina and his own days behind the dish.


Joe Torre: “I’m a little biased, but catchers get overlooked a lot. I know, from having been a manager, how much we rely on a catcher. There is so much more responsibility associated with what he does. When I played, if I went hitless in a game that I caught, and we won, I felt that I was useful. I also played a lot of first base. [In St. Louis] we had Tim McCarver and Ted Simmons, so they played me there to keep me in the lineup.


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Originally published: October 10, 2012. Last Updated: October 10, 2012.