Gary Carter

In the seven-year stretch rankings, Carter ranks third behind Bench and Piazza. His three-year peak is good too. He could rank higher based just on offensive numbers, but his defense lets him slip just a little. Still, he was very good and clearly the best catcher of the 1980s, a natural successor to Bench.

Carter was originally an outfielder who was converted to catcher because the Montreal Expos had a stable full of good players at that position. Speaking of the ‘Spos, they had a handful of truly great players come up through their system in the 1970s and early 1980s. In addition to Carter, there was Andre Dawson (a top 20 right fielder), and Tim Raines (top 20 left fielder). All three deserve to be in the Hall of Fame, and they played together in Montreal from 1979-1984. It’s amazing that the Expos never got to a World Series during that era.