Today Salvador Perez tied a record by Johnny Bench, and with 16 games to go in the season will likely break it: most home runs in a season as a team’s primary catcher. Bench hit 45 homers in 1970, earning an MVP and leading the Reds to an NL pennant.
However, what does this mean? Did Bench hit 45 homers that year as a catcher? No, he did not. He caught in 139 games and hit 38 home runs in those games. He played 19 games at other positions and launched 7 more homers in those games. This season, Perez has hit 30 homers in 115 games behind the plate and 15 in 29 games playing elsewhere—including today’s as a DH.
Great season for Perez, to be sure, and congrats to him…but I’d still say Bench’s was a bit better.
(Note: WAR was not a thing in 1970, but Baseball Reference says Bench earned 7.4 that year, and Perez sits at 5.0 this year.)
One thought on ““Home Runs as a Primary Catcher””
WAR was not a thing in 1970 because on June 10th 1970 Edwin Starr released his version as a 45 and asked “WAR, huh! Good God y’all, what is it good for? Absolutely nothin'” Now, 50some years later, the geeks have taken over and they believe WAR has a purpose.
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