Best Backup Backstops in Miami Marlins History

MIAMI, FL - AUGUST 11: Bryan Holaday #28 of the Miami Marlins hits a walk-off single in the eleventh inning to defeat the New York Mets 4-3 at Marlins Park on August 11, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - AUGUST 11: Bryan Holaday #28 of the Miami Marlins hits a walk-off single in the eleventh inning to defeat the New York Mets 4-3 at Marlins Park on August 11, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
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Miami Marlins
MILWAUKEE, WI – JULY 21: Henderson Alvarez #37 of the Miami Marlins talks to Rob Brantly #19 during the bottom of the second inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park on July 21, 2013 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images) /

Through Miami Marlins history, 46 different men have called pitches for the assorted fireballers on the mound. Some more, some less, but all major leaguers, in the end.

It takes a special kind of ballplayer to squat for the better part of half of three hours every day during half of the calendar year. And those men need a break sometimes. Enter the mighty backup catcher. The ranks of “backup catcher” are loaded with has-beens, never-was’s, coulda, shoulda, but for whatever reason weren’t primary catcher material. Which Miami Marlins backup catchers stand out in your mind?

J.T. Realmuto, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, John Buck, John Baker, Miguel Olivo, Paul Lo Duca, Ivan Rodriguez, Charles Johnson, Gregg Zaun, and Benito Santiago spent most of their tenure with the Florida and Miami Marlins as the “primary” catcher. These 10 are exempt from our thought experiment. Which “backup” catchers stood (squatted) above the rest?

Miami Marlins
NEW YORK, NY – SEPTEMBER 13: J.T. Realmuto #11 of the Miami Marlins looks on at Citi Field on September 13, 2018 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

Just Missed

Taking out our primary catchers has left us with 36 choices, so lets eliminate those who barely registered a blip on the Baseball Reference database (as a Miami Marlin).

Less than 30 games

Miami Marlins
MIAMI, FL – MAY 03: Chase Utley #26 of the Philadelphia Phillies slides into home plate ahead of the tag from Jhonatan Solano #8 of the Miami Marlins during the sixth inning of the game at Marlins Park on May 3, 2015 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images) /

Greg O’Halloran 1
Mike Mordecai 1
John Roskos 1
Kyle Skipworth 1
Mitch Lyden 2
Terry McGriff 3
Guillermo Garcia 3
Ryan Jorgensen 3
Mike Piazza 4
Chris Hatcher 4
Mike Rivera 5
Jhonatan Solano 6
Sandy Martinez 9
Chad Wallach 14
Tomas Telis 15
Randy Knorr 15
Josh Willingham 15
Koyie Hill 18
Ron Tingley 18
Joe Siddall 18
Paul Hoover 19

Miami Marlins
MIAMI, FL – SEPTEMBER 23: Chad Wallach #17 of the Miami Marlins hits a home run in the third inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Marlins Park on September 23, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images) /

This narrows the field down to 15. Of course, Wallach and Telis may have more of a say in the future, but the most of the rest have already retired. Willingham and Mordecai had long careers outside of their time behind the plate for the Marlins. Hatcher switched positions and is currently pitching for the Oakland Athletics. Piazza is a Hall-of-Fame catcher, but four games isn’t enough to make this list, and if I remember correctly, during his week in Florida, he was not considered the backup.

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