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Johnny Bench

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The number two catcher of all time?

The greatest catcher to ever wear a major-league uniform was Bench. Mike Piazza has proven to be a better hitter. Ivan Rodriguez has proven to be a better fielder. Berra won more championships. Carlton Fisk lasted longer. But none of them was Johnny Bench. Bench did everything well defensively. Offensively, he drove in more runs in the 1970s than any other player. FOX analyst (and former catcher) Tim McCarver told me, "Bench is the greatest catcher of all time. It's not even close. The two Pudges (Rodriguez and Fisk) may have an edge on John from a physical standpoint ... but if you consider the number of clutch hits, RBIs, and add everything together, it's Bench." Amen.

Number one?  Josh Gibson according to Elliot Kalb:

In an alternate universe, this is the man -- not Babe Ruth -- whose short, compact swing produces the longest, and most home runs. He would be the charismatic figure that would first reach 500, 600, and 700 career home runs. Playing in the Negro Leagues in the 1930s, he never got the chance to play Major League Baseball. The home-run record for a catcher in the major leagues was only 209 until the mid-1950s. Gibson would have had two or three times that amount.

I have no problem with Gibson being ranked, or receiving an honorable mention. But number one? A player that never played a major league game (through no fault of his own obviously)?

Johnny Bench is baseball's all time greatest catcher.  Saying anything else is simply conjecture designed to provoke controversy.