White Sox catcher AJ Pierzynski (above) has made a habit of rubbing opponents, fans and, well, trainers the wrong way for much of his big league career. But as SB Nation’s Grant Brisbee points out, not only is Pierzynski in the midst of a terrific 2012 season for the AL Central leaders, “he’s one of the most consistent catchers of his generation.”
There have been 23 catchers with more 100-game seasons over their careers, but a lot of those seasons were non-consecutive, and a lot of those seasons came after the catcher turned Pierzynski’s age (35). If you up the parameters to 120 games caught, Pierzynski is one of 15 catchers who has done it ten times. Two have done it in consecutive seasons: Johnny Bench and Brad Ausmus, Pierzynski obviously isn’t Johnny Bench at the plate, but he’s been much better than the typical catcher, played in this episode by Brad Ausmus.
Pierzynski has been in the second or third tier of offensive catchers — hovering around with the Terry Steinbachs and Jim Sundbergs, not especially close to Hall of Fame consideration.
Right now, A.J. Pierzynski is known for a few things, mostly having to do with a Pete Campbell-like punchable face and personality. Maybe that’s overblown, and maybe it isn’t. But in a decade or two, when young, new baseball fans cycle through this weird little world, they’ll look at Pierzynski’s career and notice that he was as consistent and healthy as catchers get. That’ll eventually be his legacy when the rest of us die off. And that’s a pretty good legacy.