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Brewer WAR Lords: Catcher

Thanks to Beyond the Box Score's idea, this is Part 1 in a six part series identifying the best position players in Brewer history, ranked by their Wins Above Replacement (WAR).

Today, we start with the catchers. All told, seventeen catchers were considered. For whatever it's worth, Chad Moeller finished 17th out of 17 in all three criteria. All WAR totals listed only include seasons spent primarily as a catcher while playing for the Brewers. Here are the top five:

1. Darrell Porter

Career WAR: 10.5 (1st)
Top Three Seasons: 10.3 (1st)
Top Five Seasons: 10.9 (1st)

Porter spent the first six seasons of his career in a Brewer uniform. He was the AL's youngest player when he made his debut in 1971 at age 19 and played his last game as a Brewer in 1976 at age 24, before playing 11 more seasons as a Royal, Cardinal and Ranger. Porter was an All Star in 1974, but his best season as a Brewer was 1975, when he hit .232/.371/.418 and was worth 3.8 wins above replacement.

2. B.J. Surhoff

Career WAR:
10.2 (2nd)
Top Three Seasons: 7.8 (3rd)
Top Five Seasons: 9.9 (2nd)

Surhoff debuted as a Brewer in 1987 and spent his first six seasons behind the plate before moving to third base. During those six seasons he posted a WAR over 2 three times. Surhoff caught 704 games as a Brewer. All told, he played in 2313 games over 19 big league seasons.

3. Ted Simmons

Career WAR: 7.7 (3rd)
Top Three Seasons: 8.1 (2nd)
Top Five Seasons: 7.7 (3rd) One could make an argument for Simmons' inclusion in the Baseball Hall of Fame. As a Brewer, he spent five seasons, including two excellent ones in 1982 and 1983, where he was worth a combined 7.1 wins. Simmons was an eight-time All Star, including twice as a Brewer. He started the All Star game in 1983.

4. Ellie Rodriguez

Career WAR: 6.8 (4th)
Top Three Seasons: 6.8 (4th)
Top Five Seasons: 6.8 (4th)

Rodriguez was the Brewers primary catcher from 1971-1973, and the fact that he ranks this high on the list should tell you something about how few truly great catchers the Brewers have had. Rodriguez's best season was 1972, when he posted a .285/.382/.352 line and was worth 3.4 wins. Rodriguez played nine big league seasons as a Yankee, Royal, Brewer, Angel and Dodger.

5. Charlie Moore

Career WAR: 6.6 (5th)
Top Three Seasons: 3.9 (6th)
Top Five Seasons: 5.5 (5th)

Fourteen of Moore's 15 big league seasons were spent with the Brewers, including 11 as a catcher. Moore never posted a season with a WAR over 2, but had five over 1 while catching 894 games.

Rounding out the top ten:

Pos. Catcher Career War Rank Top 3 Rank Top 5 Rank
6. Dave Nilsson 5.1 6 4.5 5 5.1 6
7. Bill Schroeder 2.3 8 3.3 7 2.8 7
8. Charlie O'Brien 2.5 7 2.6 8 2.5 8
9. Jason Kendall 2 9 2 9 2 9
10. Henry Blanco 1.4 10 1.4 10 1.4 10

Monday: First base/DH