The Backup Catcher Hall of Fame was started by Cuzz Gekas and me to honor the greatest backup catchers of all time. The backup catcher is an underrated, but crucial position on a team. While every team has at least one backup catcher, only a select few have distinguished themselves in such a way as to merit consideration for the BCHOF.
In 2010, we inducted the inaugural class of the BCHOF. Bob Montgomery, Bill Plummer, Duffy Dyer and Jeff Torborg comprised the first class of inductees. After much research and discussions, we have decided on five inductees for the class of 2011. Without further adieu, I give you the 2011 BCHOF class!
Ron Hodges has the rather unique distinction of playing fior one team, the New York Mets, his entire career (1973-1984). Hodges played in the World Series in his rookie season. He started his career backing up Mets stalwart Jerry Grote and continued in that role for John Stearns. He actually outlasted Stearns and was mostly a starter in 1983 before finishing his career in 1984. He batted .240 with 19 HR's and 147 RBI's and was known as a dependable backstop and the consummate teammate.
Tom Lampkin played for six teams beginning with the Cleveland Indians in 1988, before retiring in 2002 with the San Diego Padres. The 2002 season marked Lampkin's second tour of duty with the Padres and he established career highs in virtually every category for the woeful Padres. For his career, he hit .235 with 56 HR's and 236 RBI's in 1,796 at bats. He had a strong arm and in 1996 led the league in caught stealing percentage (51.5%) playing in 53 games as a backup for the San Francisco Giants. He is currently a cable Fox Sports analyst for the Portland Beavers of the Pacific Coast League. He was originally signed by the Indians Scout Dave Roberts, former backup catcher and infielder.
Doug Mirabelli played 12 seasons (1996-2007) with four teams, but is probably best known for being knuckleballer Tim Wakefield's personal catcher with the Boston Red Sox. As a result, he had the dubios honor of leading the league in passed balls in 2003 and 2004. Nonetheless, he served a valuable role and actually showed some pop at the plate, hitting 58 HR's in 1,456 at bats for a .231 batting average. He was a member of the Red Sox World Series champions in both 2004 and 2007. He is currently coaching high school baseball in Traverse City (MI).
Mark Parent was the quintessential backup catcher who played for seven teams during his 13 year career (1986-1998). Although he hit only .214, he possessed good power, smacking 53 HR's in 1303 at bats in his career, in addition to providing solid defense. His physically imposing size (6'5, 215) gave him an advantage in plays at the plate and in blocking pitches in the dirt. Early in his career there was speculation that he could become a full-time starter, but Parent quickly settled into his role as a top notch backup behind the plate. Like many backup catchers, his knowledge of the game has provided additional opportunities and he is currently managing in the Philadelphia Phillies organization.
Lenny Webster began his career with the Minnesota Twins, serving as a backup for Brian Harper. Webster played for five teams over a 12 year career (1989-2000). He was a reserve on the 1997 Baltimore Orioles AL East division champs and also backed up notable catcher Darren Daulton in Philadelphia. Webster had 3 separate tours of duty with the Montreal Expos, including his last season. The Grambling State product hit .254 with 33 HR's over the course of his career. Webster was one of the active players wearing number 42, when it was retired by Major League Baseball in 1997 in honor of Jackie Robinson.
We are very proud of the 2011 BCHOF class. Each of these five catchers earned his induction through years of superior service outside of the limelight. The BCHOF is a work in progress and we look forward to another solid class in 2012.