Dodgers: 5 greatest seasons by a catcher

16 Apr 1998: Catcher Mike Piazza of the Los Angeles Dodgers in action during a game against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field in Denver, Colorado. The Dodgers won the game, 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Brian Bahr /Allsport
16 Apr 1998: Catcher Mike Piazza of the Los Angeles Dodgers in action during a game against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field in Denver, Colorado. The Dodgers won the game, 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Brian Bahr /Allsport /
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BROOKLYN, NY – 1950’s: Catcher Roy Campanella #39, of the Brooklyn Dodgers poses for the camera at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, New York in the 1950’s. Campanella played his entire career for the Dodgers from 1948-1957. (Photo by Kidwiler Collection/Diamond Images/Getty Images) /

Dodgers Top Individual Seasons by a Catcher:

1) Roy Campanella – 1953

After winning his first MVP Award in 1951, Roy Campanella put together a season for the ages in 1953. Competing against his own teammate, Duke Snider, for the award, he received 88 percent of the voting share, including 17 of 24 first place votes, his most definitive victory of his three MVP winning seasons.

What makes Campy’s 1953 campaign so special was his run production. He drove in an incredible 142 runs that season, most in baseball, and remains the highest total by a catcher in a single season in Major League history, as well as second most of any positional player in Dodgers history. He did it by connecting on 41 home runs, third most in the National League, and was cemented in the record books as the most by a full-time catcher in a single season until Todd Hundley tied him in 1996 and Javy Lopez eventually surpassed him with 43 in 2003.

Campanella batted .312/.395/.611 in 1953, his on-base plus slugging percentage (OPS) ranking fourth in the senior circuit. When translating his numbers into a park and league adjusted value, his 154 wRC+ ranks fifth among Dodger catching seasons, but is the highest if you filter on backstops who also fielded their position at a high value. None of the other players listed within the top 5 single-season, adjusted hitting seasons produced a FanGraphs defensive value higher than Campy’s 15.6 in 1953.

The Philadelphia native extended his superb season into the postseason when he went 6-22 at the plate in the World Series against the hated Yankees, smashing one home run and driving in two runs.

While it is difficult to separate all of the great seasons Roy Campanella gave to the Dodgers in the 1950s, his ’53 campaign sticks out as his best, and it is the greatest by a catcher in Dodgers history.

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