The Most Valuable Player of Major League Baseball last season was a catcher. Buster Posey of the Champion San Francisco Giants won the honor. I’m a fan of Posey but I’m not sure he is the best catcher in the game. I think that honor should go to St. Louis Cardinals backstop Yadier Molina. Time and again Molina has shown that he is one of the best players and people in baseball.
For starters, Molina has been with the same organization since he was drafted. The Cardinals knew that they had someone special and Molina has been more than willing to stay put with the Cardinals. Loyalty is so rare that it must be pointed out when we find it. We have it here with Molina and the Cardinals.
He is one of the best offensive players in the game and continues to improve every season. Last season was his best year yet with a .315 average, .373 on-base percentage and a .501 slugging percentage. The 22 homers and 76 runs driven in were also career highs. That doesn’t get into the great defense behind the plate. Base runners don’t steal bases on Molina; they steal them on his pitchers and the situation. His five straight gold glove awards speak to that fact.
Fans of other teams like Molina; he is just that cool of a guy and that good of a ballplayer. The four straight All-star game appearances speak to that truth. I think what I saw in the Wildcard playoff game last season tells everything about Molina that ever needs to be said. After the debacle that was the blown infield fly-rule call, the Atlanta Braves were basically all but done and certainly frustrated.
As frustration and excitement mounted, Chipper Jones came to the plate in the ninth inning at Turner Field for what most figured would be the final at-bat in his legendary career. The fans responded as you would imagine they would but Molina was the class act of the moment. He invented some debris out between home plate and the pitcher’s mound to go pick up. What he was doing was vacating the home plate area to give Chipper the stage one final time.
That gesture in that high stress of a situation in a close game speaks volumes to the kind of player and person Molina is. I have to give kudos to the Cardinals for locking him up for several seasons. He is worth the money and then some. You will not be sorry.