Dodgers: 5 greatest seasons by a catcher
Dodgers Top Individual Seasons by a Catcher:
3) Roy Campanella – 1951
Roy Campanella won the first of his three MVP awards in 1951. The right-handed hitting catcher batted .325 (4th in the National League), reached base to a 39.3% clip (7th), and had a .590 slugging percentage (3rd). His 33 home runs ranked third in the senior circuit and most by a Dodgers catcher until he broke his own record in 1953. He also drove in 108 runs, tied with the immortal Stan Musial for fourth most in the NL.
Along with unbelievable numbers at the plate, 1951 was also his best season defensively. He led the league in a variety of statistical categories among catchers, including games played (140), putouts (722), assists (72), and double plays turned (12). He was also impossible to steal against, gunning down the most runners (34) in the National League, doing so with the best caught stealing percentage.
The Rawlings Gold Glove Award was first awarded in 1957, otherwise it would have surely gone to Campanella in 1951. While carrying a heavy bat at the plate in a time catchers were mostly considered defense-first positions, he started 140 games wearing the catcher’s mask, proving he could dominate standing inside the batter’s box or behind it.
An argument could be made that Campy’s 1951 season is the best catcher season in Dodgers history with his combination of offensive firepower and defensive consistency. However, it was outdone by two superlative performances that just can’t be left off the top of the list.