1997 v. 2003: The Catchers


Sorry about the delay of this post. I was going to have it up yesterday, but I got called into work and had a ton of work to do for school. We will go ahead and look at the two catchers from the two Florida Marlins World Series teams today. The Marlins catcher in 1997 is the homegrown, original Marlins draftee, Charles Johnson. The 2003 was anchored by January free agent addition in Ivan Rodriguez. Obviously both players were brought into the Marlins championship teams in different manners.

Charles Johnson played baseball at the University of Miami before he was snagged by the Marlins in the first round of the 1992 Major League Baseball Draft. Johnson became just the fourth catcher to win a gold glove award at the catcher position in his rookie season. Johnson caught Al Leiter’s no-hitter in 1996 and Kevin Brown’s in 1997. CJ was traded in the 1998 season but was back to catch his third no-hitter with the Fish when A.J. Burnett tossed one in 2002.

Ivan Rodriguez’s career with the Marlins is much easier to summarize. Rodriguez signed a one year deal with the Marlins at about $10 million, though much of the contract was deferred. Rodriguez was slotted in the three hole for the Fish much of the season and was a major contributor to the teams success that season.

That is all for the background on those players. For the purpose of this poll, please leave out the fact that Johnson was on the Marlins for a much longer tenure then Rodriguez. Let’s take a look at how each players seasons compared to each other statistically.

Charles Johnson484.250.347.454.3475.0
Ivan Rodriguez578.297.369.474.3614.9

While CJ had the higher WAR for the season, Pudge put together the better season at the plate. UZR had Pudge at 1 run above replacement level at his defensive position, while UZR had CJ at an astounding 19 runs above replacement, his best single season of defense according to the metric. CJ won a gold glove in 1997, back when the award meant more then it does now, (award has no bearing on actual defense played now.)

I was only 5-years old at the time of the Marlins 1997 world series and cannot remember everything that happened. I have however watched numerous replays of every world series game that was played in 1997. In 2003, I was a diehard Marlins fan and caught each and every game on television that season, and a few at the ballpark.

Please vote on the poll now. The poll is on the main page of MarlinManiac. Please go and vote now! Polls will be open until Sunday, December 4th. I will, along with the rest of the MarlinManiac staff, reveal who we feel was the better World Series catcher. We will tally up our votes with the votes of you fans, and then pick a winner. The poll for first basemen will open up next Tuesday.