MLB

St. Louis Cardinals: Yadier Molina’s greatness is more prominent than you might think

 

St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina continues to fly under the radar, but, we’re here to set the record straight on one of the greatest players to don the Birds on the Bat uniform.

By Neil Harrington

When St. Louis Cardinals greats are mentioned, what names immediately come to mind? Stan Musial. Lou Brock. Bob Gibson. Ozzie Smith. Albert Pujols — still too soon, Cards fans?

What about Yadier Molina? Where does he fall among the elite of Arch City? Does his name come to mind when “St. Louis Cardinals greats” are uttered? Likely not, but it should be.

Looking solely at his offensive statistics over his career, Yadier Molina makes a solid case as a great MLB player — .284/.335/.406, 138 home runs, and is nearing 2,000 career hits total for his career.

The X-factor is Yadier’s defense, where he’s won eight Gold Glove awards (four Platinum Glove awards as the best MLB defender) and has been a thorn in the side of opposing base-stealers for nearly two decades now.

He’s an eight-time All-Star for a reason, folks.

Even with all of his accolades behind the plate, the intangible and unseen aspects that do not show up in the Boxscore is what genuinely makes him a once in a lifetime player.

He calls the entire game for each of his starting pitchers. When Carlos Martinez gets over-emotional on the mound, Yadier Molina has a way about him, calming down the passionate young pitcher with his soothing demeanor.

Yadi has that “it” factor, to go along with the statistics, awards, and talent — a rarity.

His durability. Eight times in his career, Yadier Molina has started 135 games-plus — virtually all of those at the demanding catcher position. Even Joe Buck’s love affair with Buster Posey can’t overshadow that impressive feat.

Yadier Molina took a foul ball off the groin, leading to an emergency surgery earlier this season — yet returned to action about a month later — still producing at an All-Star level.

If that happened to me, I’m calling it a career. Yet, Yadier Molina is back on the baseball diamond and is having another All-Star caliber season — even after missing a month of the season. Incredible.

He’s a badass. Yadier Molina is not afraid to throw down if the moment calls for it. A prime example was in 2010 when a heated summer contest with the Cincinnati Reds turned into a rumble — with Yadi in the middle of that epic brawl.

Earlier this season, Yadier Molina took great offense when Arizona Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo called him a mother-f#$@er. He let it slide after one offense, but when Lovullo uttered it again at Yadier Molina, who was minding his own business by the way — he didn’t back down.

At the age of 35, Yadier Molina has not missed a beat. In fact, he’s having one his best (offensive) campaigns since he finished third in NL MVP voting in 2013. Oh, and his defense is still pretty good, too.

Buster Posey, the MVP catcher for the San Francisco Giants, is one reason why Yadier Molina’s greatness is hidden from most, but I see through Joe Buck’s/America’s love affair with Buster Posey and see the true GOAT at the position of this era. Yadier Molina.

Once it’s all said and done, you’ll see Yadier Molina’s number hanging with the aforementioned St. Louis Cardinals greats at Busch Stadium — and rightfully so.

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