4th Inning: Munson ’s Post season Batting Performance Compared with Hall of Fame Catchers
Where Munson stands the tallest, and where his contribution to the game of baseball is most unique, is his postseason productivity in the 3 postseasons and 6 postseason series that he played in. A close look at his productivity in these 30 games provide conclusive data that Thurman Munson definitively and unambiguously holds the best postseason record of any Catcher in the history of the game. As a starting point, let’s note that only one Hall of Fame Catcher has a postseason batting average above .300 (Roger Bresnahan in the 1905 World Series, his only postseason appearance). Let’s also point out that only three Hall of Fame Catchers have a higher postseason average than their regular season average, those being Ray Schalk, Gary Carter, and, again Bresnahan. It is worth noting, however, that only Gary Carter, within this group, played as many postseason games as Munson with exactly the same number at 30.
Further still, while the average Hall of Fame Catcher delivered a .288 regular season batting average, their collective
postseason average rests a full 25 points below at .263. With Thurman Munson’s own .357 postseason average being a full
94 points above that of the average Hall of Fame Catcher, this puts his performance in his team’s most critical and pressure- packed games in a very favorable light. As a final point, not even one Hall of Fame Catcher has a postseason average within 40 points of Munson and only 3 are within 75 points!
Thurman Munson’s POSTSEASON Batting Average and Hits Per Game
Compared with Hall of Fame Catchers
Analytical Point 1: Hall of Fame Catchers Josh Gibson, Biz Mackey, and Louis Santop played in the Negro Leagues.
Analytical Point 2: HOF Catcher Rick Ferrell did not play in the postseason, but his Regular Season AVG of .281 is included in the Hall of Famer AVG.
But importantly, it is not just his postseason batting average where he stands tall compared with the all-time greats at his position. He also delivered more hits per postseason game (1.53), and as we’ll find out later in our review, his RBIs per postseason game (0.73) is higher than every Hall of Fame Catcher and his postseason OPS (.874) is higher than all but one!
But, the most surprising and impressive element of his offensive postseason performance is the fact that he hit safely in 27 of the 30 postseason games he played in: something which no other player of ANY position has done!
Munson Stands Even Taller – Beyond Just Catchers in the Postseason
To widen the consideration set even further, it is important to note that among the 500 players of any position in the history of baseball with the most postseason At Bats (65+) there are exactly 7 players with a higher postseason batting average than Thurman Munson. Their names are Hank Aaron, Carl Yastrzemski, Paul Molitor, Lou Gehrig, Lou Brock, John Montgomery Ward, and Frank Home Run Baker. All of these men, of course, are Hall of Famers and none of them were Catchers. Said the other way… of the 500 players in history with the most postseason At Bats, 492 of them have a lower batting average than Thurman Munson, and the 7 who are higher are, definitively, among the all-time greats of the game.
And further still… if you limit the list of 500 players to only the 162 with at least as many postseason At Bats as Thurman
(with 129), not even one player amongst them has a higher batting average! That is borderline astonishing!
Highest Postseason Batting Average Among the 500 Players in Baseball History with the Most Postseason At Bats
Analytical Note 1: No player in postseason history with at least 129 At Bats has a higher average than Thurman Munson. Analytical Note 2: Among the 500 players with the most postseason at bats only 7 have a higher average than Thurman Munson. Analytical Note 3: Every player on this list except Thurman Munson is in the Hall of Fame and Thurman is the only Catcher on the list.Measuring raw “hits productivity,” to find a player of any position with a higher hits per postseason game average than Thurman at 1.53, you have to go all the way down to Lou Brock who had 34 hits in 21 postseason games and 87 At Bats (1.62 Hits Per Game). Another player somewhat close to Thurman’s performance in this metric is Paul Molitor who delivered 1.48 hits per postseason game with 43 hits in 29 games and 117 At Bats.
Think about it this way… among the top 300 players in baseball history with the most postseason At Bats, not even one of those players has a higher hits per postseason game than Thurman Munson. Lou Brock, at #305 on the At Bats list, is the first player with a higher hits per postseason game average. Thurman certainly kept the bases moving!
For Thurman Munson, as a Catcher, to be this high on the list of postseason batting average and hits per game is, at least,
VERY historically unique and unduplicated!