Written by: Curt Ashcraft (@cashcraft740)
Edited by: Matt Shock (@shockwave_music)
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For as long as I can remember, one of my favorite baseball players has always been Yadier Molina. I understand that I am a diehard Cleveland Indians fan and that most of Cincinnati probably hates me right now, but there is just something about the way he plays the game and the passion that he exudes every night that I can’t help but like.
I just remember watching the MLB Playoffs while growing up and every year the St. Louis Cardinals and their young, yet gritty catcher always made a run at the World Series. I had only watched my Tribe all season long and this was really my first exposure to the rest of the league. Well, on Tuesday, that once young and gritty catcher just received his seventh-straight Rawlings Gold Glove Award from Major League Baseball, and while he now joins a group of pretty historic catchers, Molina has already cemented himself as one of the game’s all-time best.
With receiving his seventh-straight Gold Glove, Molina now joins the likes of Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez and Johnny Bench as only the third catcher in baseball history to achieve the honor seven times in a row. Some may argue that Molina doesn’t deserve to be in the same category as Rodriguez and Bench, and offensively, he may not. After 11 seasons in the big leagues (all with St. Louis), the Puerto Rican native has only totaled 96 homeruns and 584 runs batted in. There is no doubt that he doesn’t have as much “pop” as Bench or Pudge did, but with a career batting average of .284, 1,297 hits and an on-base percentage of .339, Molina definitely has a respectable bat. Oh yeah, and judging by his Gold Gloves, the bat isn’t even his best asset.
As I was growing up and enjoying Yadi’s play, it wasn’t what he was doing with his bat that impressed me. Molina quickly became one of the best players in baseball because he was as defensively sound as they come and his throw-out move to second base was almost a guarantee every time. Along with his Gold Gloves, Molina has compiled six Fielding Bible Awards, two NL Platinum Gloves, six MLB All-Star appearances and most importantly, 2 World Series rings. Molina’s offense helped, but it was his defense that helped secure those accolades.
In a day and age that has fallen in love with massive amounts of offense, the purity of strong defensive play in baseball is overshadowed. Call me crazy, but I would rather watch a pitchers duel with a well called game by the catchers than to see a homerun-fest take the spotlight. We may be in a new era, but Molina plays with an old soul, and I’m sure if you ask the Cardinals, they would still take Molina’s lackluster amount of homeruns because it was everything else that he did that brought St. Louis two world championships.
On behalf of ‘Our Sports Report’, I would like to congratulate Yadier Molina on his seventh-straight Gold Glove Award and even though it was this accomplishment that stacks him up with the best, he has been one of the best to me for quite some time. Congrats, Yadi!