Let’s try this again. Game 1, I picked the A’s catcher, wanting the A’s to win. Game 2, I picked the Giants catcher, wanting the Pirates to win. As fate would have it, I don’t really care about who wins the series between the Tigers and Orioles. Choosing between these two teams should come easier than the previous games.
Quickly the rules:
1. For a player to be eligible, he must have played for the team a minimum of 3 years.
2. Only the stats and accomplishments of his tenure with that team will be looked at.
3. If the team has moved cities, previous locations will not be allowed. Players are only eligible that played at the current location.
Detroit Tigers: In looking at the history of the Tigers Franchise, there are three catchers whose careers with the Detroit have been remarkable: Mickey Cochrane, Bill Freehan, and Lance Parish.
Mickey Cochrane was a remarkable player. Though he spent the majority of his career with the Philadelphia A’s, Cochrane spent 4 years in Detroit as a player-manager, and from 1934-1937, he left an indelible impression. During his time with the Tigers, Cochrane hit .313/.444/.430, with 11 HR’s and 152 RBI’s. He was a 2x All-Star and won the MVP in 1934. Twice the Tigers were in the World Series, ’34-’35, winning in 1935. His playing days with the Tigers were past his prime, but his ability to manage pitchers, as well as the team, earned him strong consideration for this pick. Of these three catchers, he is the only one to make the Hall of Fame.
Lance Parrish was the Tigers catcher from 1977-1986. During his 10 years with Detroit, Parrish put up some monster numbers, hitting .263/.317/.469 with 212 HR’s and 700 RBI’s. Parrish was a 6x All-Star, 5x Silver Slugger, and 3x Gold Glover during his tenure with the Tigers. In 1984, when the Tigers won the World Series, Parrish was one of the most important players on the team.
While both of these men were terrific catchers, I had to go with a different one, a man who spent his entire career with Detroit: Bill Freehan.
1973 Topps #460, Bill Freehan
Bill Freehan spent his entire career with Detriot. From 1961-1976, Freehan was of the most dominating catchers in the American League. During his 15 years as a Tiger he hit .262/.340/.412, with 200 HR’s and 758 RBI’s. Freehan was an 11x All-Star, 5x Gold Glover, and was an integral part of the Tigers winning the 1968 World Series.
These three catchers had incredible careers, and while Cochrane is a Hall of Famer, his time spent with the Tigers was at the end of his career, when his worth was more as a manager than a player. Comparing the careers of Freehan and Parrish, we can see numerous similarities. Parrish was a little better offensively, while Freehan’s defense was stronger. Both were members of World Series championship teams, and both men have numerous awards. Bottom line, both catchers were great, and either one of them would be a great representative for this competition.
Baltimore Orioles: As we can only consider those players who have been a part of the team history since 1954, there is really only one catcher who has been a dominate player. While Rick Dempsey and Chris Hoiles both had nice careers, neither was an intregal part of the organization, though Dempsey did win the 1983 World Series MVP. However, his numbers weren’t great, so we must look at the current catcher to find our representative: Matt Wieters.
2014 Donruss # 172, Matt Wieters
In his 6 seasons with the O’s, Wieters has been one of the best catcher’s in the A.L. He has hit .257/.320/.423, with 92 HR’s and 346 RBI’s. He is a 3x All-Star, 2x Gold Glover, and won the Fielding Bible Award. While he won’t have any impact on the series, his worth to the O’s is beyond question.
While it was difficult to pick the representative from each team, deciding which catcher is more important is an easy decision. Bill Freehan is hands down the more dominate catcher.
My pick to win the series: Bill Freehan’s Detroit Tigers.