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The List: Best Catchers in Orioles History

When uber-prospect Matt Wieters makes his big league debut on Friday for the Baltimore Orioles, will he automatically rank as the best catcher in franchise history? OK, perhaps it's a bit hyperbolic -- in the vein of this Web site -- to even ask such a question.

But the question isn't as outlandish as you may think. Because while the Orioles have no shortages of all-time greats at nearly every other position on the field, their history at catcher is so pathetic, it's laughable. True, the Orioles have had some pretty decent names at catcher, but the majority of them (Javy Lopez, Ramon Hernandez, Charles Johnson, Terry Kennedy, et al.) had their best years elsewhere.

It isn't easy coming up with five players to populate this list, but here goes...

5. Rick Dempsey. He was a .233 lifetime hitter who hit just 75 homers in 12 seasons with the Orioles. But if nothing else, his longevity and his legacy as the 1983 World Series most valuable player cement his place on this list.

4. Ramon Hernandez. He spent only three years with the Orioles, but one of them was his fabulous 2006 season, when he hit 23 homers and drove in 91 RBI, the latter mark a franchise record for a catcher.

3. Mickey Tettleton. He also spent only three years with the Orioles and didn't start more than 85 games behind the plate in any of them, but he stands as the last Orioles catcher to appear in an all-star game (1989).

2. Gus Triandos. The only three time all-star catcher in franchise history (1957, 1958, 1959), he also has the only 30-homer season (1958) by an Orioles catcher. He was also immortalized in a memorable scene in Season 1 of "The Wire" (which I would link to here if it didn't violate our decency standards).

1. Chris Hoiles. He spent all of his 10-year career with the Orioles (though much of the time was spent at DH), and his 1993 season (29 homers, 82 RBI, .310 BA, 1.001 OPS)ranks as one of the best offensive seasons by any Oriole, regardless of position.

By Dave Sheinin  |  May 27, 2009; 11:45 AM ET
Categories:  Orioles  
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Next: Wieters Gets the Call


Wasn't that season 3?

Posted by: Colm1 | May 27, 2009 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Two words: Andy Etchebarren!

Posted by: mab9 | May 27, 2009 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Was defense considered for this list? Hoiles, Tettleton and Hernandez were bad defensive catchers with the Orioles.

Posted by: Chief2 | May 27, 2009 1:25 PM | Report abuse

1. Triandos
2. Hoiles
3. Etchebarren
4. Dempsey
5. Hendricks

the list cant just be about offense, especially pre-80's when catcher was typically a defensive position. These 5 clearly had the greatest impact on the team overall, and handled some of the best pitching staffs in the history of baseball.

Here's hoping Wieters joins them...

Posted by: jesstyr | May 27, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

1. Dempsey
2a. Hendricks
2b. Etchebarren
4. Triandos
5. Hoiles

Posted by: ouvan59 | May 27, 2009 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Dempsey should be #3 on this list!

Posted by: matthew_wolf28 | May 27, 2009 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Another vote for Etchebarren

Posted by: Meridian1 | May 28, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Andy Etchebarren has a World Series RING!
How many from that Top 5 (besides Dempsey) does ?

I honestly can't imagine picking 5 without Etchebarren on the list.
The word DUH comes to mind here.

Posted by: JoeinEssex | May 29, 2009 1:29 AM | Report abuse

The list is top 5 O's catchers, not catchers on the top 5 O's teams. Hoiles deserves to be #1. His 1993 season was completely off the charts. A 1.001 OPS (162 OPS+ !!) for a catcher is absurd. It was one of the top 10 offensive seasons by any catcher ever.

Posted by: kwyjibo227 | May 29, 2009 8:38 AM | Report abuse

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