A baseball era is coming to an end. Yadier Molina, the youngest of the Molina family, is hanging them up after the 2022 season. For 18 years this man has put on the same uniform, a St. Louis Cardinals uniform. And has caught more games for one team than any catcher in the history of Major League Baseball.
Yadier Molina announces that 2022 will be his final season. Legend. pic.twitter.com/ZZIIzLKoe9 — MLB (@MLB) August 25, 2021
The Molina Legacy
The Molina’s (Bengie, Jose, and Yadi) are catching royalty. They rule a kingdom that wasn’t given to them but was built on the sandlots of Vega Alta Puerto Rico. With armor strapped on by their late father Benjamin Sr.
Every day, after he left his factory job, he worked them out relentlessly, first teaching – then honing their skills. Jose was a catcher from the get-go, Benji came to catching later in his life. But Yadier was born with gear on.
He was the perfect catcher. He knew the game like a coach’s son and the third of three brothers would. his defense was impeccable, he hit with power, he hit with purpose, he had the perfect arm. How he lasted to the fourth round of the 2000 MLB draft is beyond me. Yadi was so good as an amateur his brothers, at the time already in MLB called him “The Super Star”. And his brothers were right.
Nine times a Gold Glove winner. Ten times an All-Star a Silver slugger award and he’s matched his brothers with two World Series titles. Today a bronze statue stands outside Benjamin Molina Field of the four heroes.
Molina will turn forty next year, (Suck on that Tom Brady) 19 years of squatting behind a plate. At 39, he has started and caught 92 of the 95 games he’s played in this year. Was selected for his tenth all-star game. Only Johnny Bench and Ivan Rodriguez have been choen for more.
When it’s all said and done , after the well-deserved retirement tour is over and the plaques and pieces of history have been handed to him by the teams he has spent two decades playing against, Yadier Molina will walk off a ball field and into Cooperstown. His name will be spoken with the greatest to ever play the game as a catcher.
Yadi said at his press conference,
“It’s enough,” he said. “It’s a long career.”
I’m not sure if I’m ready for a world without a Molina behind an MLB plate.
As always you can follow/give me grief on Twitter @TMurph207
Featured Image via The Athletic