Friday, December 3

Yadier Molina polishes the plaque that will hang in the Hall of Fame

Yadier Molina greets the crowd, hearing applause on his 2,000th game as MLB Network catcher / catch

Yadier Molina got closer to the baseball Hall of Fame this week. He polished up the bronze plaque that will hang in the Cooperstown temple by adding another line to his impeccable MLB resume.

The St. Louis Cardinals wide receiver has started his 18th season in the majors all three. Before Friday’s session he was showing averages of .342 / .395 / .553 with the tree. A reputed defender of the plate, Molina wants to remind everyone that he can hit, too.

And it is true. The Puerto Rican veteran, a native of Bayamón, just became the sixth catcher with at least 2,000 games behind the plate in the Major Leagues. But while he makes history with the mascot, he maintains his status as a must-have player on his lifelong team.

Only five legends had appeared in two thousand encounters in the Big Top. Molina is sixth, and his name does not detract from a list that sums up the best of the position.

Iván Rodríguez, Carlton Fisk, Bob Boone, Gary Carter and Jason Kendall were waiting for the Puerto Rican at the exclusive club. Rodríguez, his compatriot, is not far from him, as the mask with the most appearances in history (2,427).

The first four have a niche in Cooperstown. The fifth has been able to achieve it, but his career was derailed among other things by the dependence on the stimulants he used in the Age of Steroids.

Molina’s feat, which is unique (never has a receiver played 2,000 times in a single uniform, as is his case with the Cardinals) is just one more achievement in the collection displayed on his service record.

“To be honest, it’s just one more number,” said the Puerto Rican via zoom to the site. MLB.com and other means of communication. “I just want to be out there and play for our team and for our city, and play to win. I never think about going out and doing numbers. If we had won this game, it would have been more special for me.

A little over two months ago I had no contract. Molina declared himself a free agent, and prospective buyers were hesitant. The price could be very high, and very little gasoline left in an already 38-year-old tank.

He didn’t seem to care. He went to play winter ball in his native country and then defended Puerto Rico in the Caribbean Series. Needless to say, but here it goes: he hit as much then as he’s doing now.

And it is that new goals await Molina. He came into Friday with 2,014 hits, almost all as a receiver, because only a handful of times has he lined up at other positions. In MLB there have only been 10 catchers with two thousand hits, a list that Pudge Rodriguez also tops, with 2,844.

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Someone will have to do a study to determine why the Island of Enchantment has produced so much talent among the players who wear the implements. I-Rod, Benito Santiago, Javier López, Sandy Alomar, his brother Bengie Molina and more recently Roberto Pérez or Martín Maldonado, all saw the light in Puerto Rico.

That secret may still be well kept. But not so that of Molina.

«I go early to spring training, I enter the complex in the morning and there is Yadi, working. “I walk through the corridors (of the park) on a day off and there is Yadi. There is no coincidence, “released manager Mike Shildt via Zoom.

There are nine gold gloves, four platinum gloves, nine called to the All-Star Game and a Silver Bat. He’s approaching 40 and seems to want more, with that .948 OPS that causes equal awe.

The plaque in the Hall of Fame is almost ready. But that exaltation will have to wait, because this Yadier Molina is teaching us that he still has a lot to give.



eltiempolatino.com

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