By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard
The most important position in Major League Baseball (MLB) may be catcher. It might also be one of the toughest because of the physical and mental demands. The position calls for strong technique, analysis and physical strength. It may also lead to a successful career as a Major League Baseball manager too when the playing career is over.
Since 2000, half or the World Series managers played catcher at some point in their professional career. They have won seven times and there have only been three years when a former catcher was not managing either team. There was also a streak of four years in a row when a former catcher was managing the winning side (2000-2003).
Why is this? There are certainly too many variables to consider but when you think about it it makes a lot of sense.
Catchers are the most involved player on the diamond. They have to do research on the opposing teams batters so they they can properly call a game. They have to work with various pitchers during a game and know what they’re strengths are then apply to the hitter and determine the best approach to getting that batter out.
Catchers also have to have a sheer love of the game. The physicality of the position has driven some men to other less physically demanding positions. The stress on the knees alone is enough to make a grown man cry.
And this is just defense we’re talking about. This doesn’t include the hours in the batting cage working on ones swing.
It should come as no surprise then that out of the 30 managers in MLB today, 11 are former catchers. Out of that, eight have their teams in first or second place in their respective division and within striking distance of the playoffs.
GM’s can and owners can do a lot of over thinking when it comes to baseball. One thing they do not need to think about are the prerequisites to being a manager. First requirement, have played catcher at the professional level.