6th Inning: Comparing the Postseason Productivity of Catchers on Offense AND Defense – “Quality Points ”
And this brings us back to Rodriguez. As great as he was during the regular season for 20 years on the offensive side of the ball with his .296 average, his postseason resume (.255) bears out the same pattern as great catchers before Thurman and after. Even last year’s inductee at the Catcher position, Mike Piazza, demonstrates a strikingly similar result… batting .308 in his regular season career but only .242 in the postseason. As referenced earlier, every Hall of Fame Catcher except Gary Carter, Ray Schalk, and Roger Bresnahan had a lower postseason average than their regular season average. Even other more recent great Catchers with significant postseason experience such as Buster Posey, Jorge Posada, Yadier Molina, and Javy Lopez demonstrate the same pattern. It is interesting to note that compared with the average Hall of Fame Catcher’s
.263 postseason batting average, Thurman Munson never batted below .278 in any of the 6 postseason series in which he played and batted at least .320 in 4 of his 6 postseason series. To attempt to put this into perspective, Jorge Posada played in more postseason series than any other Catcher in history (28) and he batted above .278 exactly 6 times as well!
As a simple summary for both offensive and defensive Catching productivity in the postseason, if you combine both RBIs per postseason game and defensive Caught Stealing per postseason game by Catchers into one statistic, Thurman Munson delivered 1.53 “Quality Points” per postseason game in which he played over his career (22 RBIs + 24 CS in 30 games). This is FAR higher than ANY career figure posted by either current OR prospective Hall of Fame Catchers in the postseason.
The closest Hall of Fame Catchers in this metric are Gary Carter and Ray Schalk at 1.0 / game each, with Bill Dickey (0.92) and Ivan Rodriguez (0.85) next on the list for overall comprehensive productivity per postseason game. Other interesting benchmarks within the Hall of Fame Catcher group are Piazza (0.75), Bench (0.73), Campanella (0.72), and Berra (0.71). Quite simply, Thurman Munson produced in the postseason on both sides of the ball at a level that has not been duplicated by any Hall of Fame Catcher. Other interesting borderline Hall of Fame Catchers are worth noting in the area of comprehensive postseason productivity as well with Ted Simmons at 0.88, Bill Freehan at 1.1, and Wally Schang at 0.94. In short, Munson stands tall vs. both Hall of Famers and other all-time greats.
Thurman Munson’s Career POSTSEASON Productivity 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: Hall of Fame Catcher Buck Ewing (1888 WS & 1889WS) played in the postseason when the games were considered “exhibitional” in nature.
Analytical Point 3: Hall of Fame Catcher Rick Ferrell did not qualify for postseason play.
Appendix Two on page 20 includes a broader look at Postseason Quality Points productivity by other noteworthy Catchers.