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LA Angels: Who is the greatest catcher in franchise history?

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Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim catcher Bengie Molina catches a relay throw from Orlando Cabrera to tage out Gary Matthews Jr. of the Texas Rangers in the fourth inning of 3-2 loss in 12 innings at Angel Stadium. (Photo by Kirby Lee/Getty Images)
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim catcher Bengie Molina catches a relay throw from Orlando Cabrera to tage out Gary Matthews Jr. of the Texas Rangers in the fourth inning of 3-2 loss in 12 innings at Angel Stadium. (Photo by Kirby Lee/Getty Images)
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LA Angels
Brian Downing makes the play at the plate. (Photo by Ronald C. Modra/Getty Images)

Who is the greatest catcher in LA Angels history?

Catchers play an interesting position. They are active on every play, flashing signs to call the next pitch (look away Astros fans), calming the pitcher down on the mound, keeping base runners in check, blocking wild pitches, receiving foul tips off all parts of their bodies, and somehow, still required to play their role in the batting order.

In this article, I will explore the five best catchers in Angels history in trying to decide who is the greatest backstop to wear a halo on their cap. I will consider both offense and defense in ranking these catchers. Their accomplishments will be limited to what they did in Anaheim.

Before I get into the list, I want to mention that I excluded Brian Downing because he just didn’t spend enough time as an everyday catcher with the Angels to justify being included. He was a full-time catcher for two seasons, in 1978 and 1979, but then never caught more than 37 games for the Halos. While he was great in ’79, it’s too small of a sample to be considered along men who sat crouched behind home plate for hundreds of innings.

There are a few names in the rankings who also had short stints behind the plate, but in each case, they made the majority of their contributions to the team as backstops.

Without further ado, let’s walk through the best catchers in Angels history.

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