A couple weeks ago, I wrote about the Backup Catcher Hall of Fame. The BCHOF is a virtual Hall of Fame, created by Chuck E. "Cuzz" Gekas and me to honor legendary backup catchers in recent major league history.
At the party after the official announcement, Cuzz and I discussed the results. We are definitely happy with the four inductees in the first Hall of Fame class. Duffy Dyer, Bob Montgomery, Bill Plummer and Jeff Torborg epitomize everything desired in a Hall of Fame backup catcher.
We would like to make one point clear though. The BCHOF is an honor. While the concept was developed out of silliness (through long car rides and losing poker nights), a catcher's enshrinement is a tribute to him and his success in a vital, difficult and overlooked role on a team. Not everyone who donned the tools of ignorance in a major league uniform met our standards (high and low).
Catchers such as Art Kusnyer, Tom Lundstedt and Charlie Sands can be proud that they made the majors, but they didn't put together enough of a career to qualify for the BCHOF. A player had to spend 7+ solid seasons as a backup catcher to garner consideration.
There are also catchers who did too much. Players like Rick Cerone, Brent Mayne and Milt May simply were too good, sometimes being starters, sometimes being platooned. These catchers got nearly 1,000 hits, amounting to an excellent career. Too excellent for the BCHOF.
The final group of players not eligible would be players who were backup catchers, but were more like utility players. Players like Jim Leyritz, John Wockenfuss and John Ellis all played too many games at other positions to truly be called a backup catcher. Perhaps someday down the line, we will develop a Utility Player Hall of Fame, but for now our attention is devoted to the BCHOF.
Over the upcoming months, Cuzz and I will be discussing and debating the candidates for the 2011 BCHOF class. I will be updating our progress here. Feel free to submit your suggestions and thoughts.