Yadier Benjamin Molina (Spanish pronunciation: [ʝaˈdjer moˈlina]; born July 13, 1982) known affectionately by fans as "Yadi", is a Puerto Rican Major League Baseball catcher who plays for the St. Louis Cardinals.
Molina was the third catcher to play in two World Series before age 25, along with Johnny Bench and Yogi Berra. He is considered one of the best defensive catchers in baseball, throwing out 216 runners (45%) attempting a stolen base in his career (2004–2012). He has also led major league catchers in pickoffs (2005–2012) with 43.
Early life and family 
Molina was born in Bayamón, Puerto Rico to Gladys Matta and Benjamín Molina, and attended Maestro Ladislao Martinez High School in Vega Alta. Molina's two older brothers, Bengie and José, are also major league catchers. José, Bengie and Yadier are the only trio of brothers to have each earned World Series rings. Molina lives in Vega Alta, Puerto Rico, and stays in Caseyville, Illinois, during the baseball season. On September 4, 2008, he had a son named Yanuell, and on July 4, 2010, he had a daughter named Arianna.
Professional career 
St. Louis Cardinals (2004-present) 
2004 season 
Molina made his debut with the Cardinals during their pennant-winning season of 2004, backing up former Gold Glove-winner and current manager Mike Matheny. Molina was picked over Matheny to start Game 4 of the 2004 World Series against the Boston Red Sox. The Cardinals eventually lost the World Series to the Red Sox within a 4-game sweep. During the following offseason, Matheny signed a three-year, $10.5-million contract with the San Francisco Giants, clearing the road for Molina to become a starter for St. Louis. Molina played 51 games in the 2004 season batting .267 with 2 home runs and 15 RBI.
2005 season 
In 2005, Molina's defense did not disappoint, and despite an awful offensive start, Molina proved to be a consistent contact hitter. In 114 games, he posted a .252 batting average with eight home runs and 49 RBIs.
2006 season 
Molina played for the Puerto Rican team in the first World Baseball Classic. He went 3–5 with an RBI in four games.
Before the 2006 season, Molina changed his number from 41 to 4. In 2006, in Game 7 of the NLCS, Molina hit a two-run home run in the top of the ninth inning off Aaron Heilman of the New York Mets, giving the Cardinals a 3–1 lead and helping them secure a trip to the 2006 World Series, where they defeated the Detroit Tigers in five games. Molina finished the 2006 season with a .216 batting average, 6 home runs, and 49 RBI.
2007 season 
On August 16, 2007, Molina hit two home runs against the Milwaukee Brewers. It was his first career multi-homer game. He finished the 2007 season with a .275 batting average, 6 home runs, and 40 RBI.
2008 season 
Manager Tony La Russa and pitching coach Dave Duncan estimate that Molina is responsible for calling over 75% of all pitches thrown during a game. On January 14, 2008, Molina and the Cardinals agreed to a four-year, $15.5 million deal with a club option for a fifth, cementing his position as their starting catcher. After the 2008 season, Molina received his first of five Gold Glove Awards. He finished the 2008 season with a .304 average, 7 home runs, and 56 RBI.
2009 season 
On July 5, 2009, Molina was selected to represent St. Louis in the 2009 Major League Baseball All Star Game as the NL starting catcher. He also won his second Gold Glove award later that year. He finished the 2009 season with a .293 average, 6 home runs, and 54 RBI.
2010 season 
On April 5, 2010, Molina hit a grand slam. He was only the third Cardinals player to hit a grand slam on Opening Day.
On April 17, 2010, Molina caught all 20 innings of a game between the Cardinals and Mets.
After an examination on his sore right knee on September 23, 2010, Molina was shut down for the rest of the season. Molina finished the 2010 season with a .262 average, 6 home runs, and 62 RBI.
On November 1, 2010, he won his fourth consecutive Fielding Bible Award as the sole catcher, becoming the first player at any position to win the award unanimously with a perfect score of 100.
On November 10, 2010, he won his third consecutive Gold Glove Award.
2011 season 
On August 2, 2011, Molina was ejected during a game against the Brewers for arguing a called strike. Umpire Rob Drake acted as if Molina had spat upon him, although it appeared that Molina, who was clearly yelling at Drake, did not intend to spit on the umpire. Molina served a 5-game suspension handed down by MLB for "making contact with umpire Rob Drake multiple times and spraying him with spit twice while arguing." Yadier Molina won his second championship ring when the Cardinals defeated the Texas Rangers in the 2011 World Series.
Molina complied with a .305 batting average, 14 home runs, and 65 RBI during the 2011 regular season.
On November 1, 2011, he won his fourth consecutive Gold Glove Award.
2012 season 
On March 1, 2012, he signed a five-year extension with the Cardinals worth $75 million through 2017. His deal includes a no-trade clause and a mutual option for 2018 worth another $15 million.
On September 4, 2012, he got his 1,000th career hit, an infield single against the New York Mets, at home in the second inning.
He finished fourth in the 2012 MVP voting. He and fellow catcher, winner Buster Posey became the first catching pair to finish in the top four in the awards' 88-year history.
On December 4, 2012, he won his first GIBBY Award for Defensive Player of the Year.
World Baseball Classic 
In March 2013, Molina served as the starting catcher for the Puerto Rican team during the World Baseball Classic and earned a silver medal when they finished second in the tournament.
Player profile 
Molina is widely regarded as one of the greatest defensive catchers of all-time as he currently plays for the St. Louis Cardinals.
- Platinum Glove Award at catcher, 2011-2012.
- ^ Yadier Molina ('Standard Fielding') Baseball-Reference.com
- ^ Cards have full-fledged star to head catchers squad MLB.com (January 2, 2013)
- ^ Bernie Bytes: Molina needs help St. Louis Post-Dispatch (September 24, 2010)
- ^ "The Official Site of The St. Louis Cardinals: Team: Player Information : Biography and Career Highlights". Stlouis.cardinals.mlb.com. Retrieved October 9, 2011.
- ^ "Trio of Cards heading to All-Star Game: Molina, Franklin first-timers; Pujols the top overall vote-getter". July 5, 2009. Retrieved July 6, 2009.
- ^ jrocke217 (April 5, 2010). "Cardinals Best News Links: Yadier Molina Joins Two Other Cardinals With Opening Day Grand Slam". Cardinalsbestnews.blogspot.com. Retrieved August 3, 2011.
- ^ Molina to sit out rest of season St. Louis Post-Dispatch (September 24, 2010)
- ^ Cards' Molina likely out for rest of season MLB.com (September 23, 2010)
- ^ a b "Cards' Molina headlines Fielding Bible winners: Catcher a unanimous pick; Ichiro wins for third straight year". MLB.com. November 1, 2010. Retrieved November 4, 2010.
- ^ a b Molina, Pujols honored with Gold Glove Awards: Cards catcher wins third straight; first baseman earns second Cardinals.com (November 10, 2010)
- ^ "Cardinals' Molina suspended for five games". =MLB.com. Retrieved August 4, 2011.
- ^ Hummel, Rick (August 4, 2011). "Molina accepts 5-game suspension". Stltoday.com. Retrieved August 16, 2011.
- ^ Molina takes down fourth straight Gold Glove, MLB.com (Nov. 1, 2011)
- ^ Langosch, Jennifer (March 1, 2012). "Cardinals sign Yadier Molina to five-year contract worth $75 million". cardinals.com.
- ^ "Posey claims NL MVP, Cards Molina finishes fourth". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. November 16, 2012.
- ^ a b "Yadier wins Defensive Player of the Year GIBBY". MLB.com. December 4, 2012.
- ^ Goold, Derrick (October 30, 2008). "Albert Pujols, Yadier Molina snag Fielding awards". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved October 30, 2008.
- ^ "Ryan wins Fielding Bible Award at short". MLB.com. October 25, 2012. Retrieved October 26, 2012.
- ^ "Molina, Wainwright nab Gold Gloves: Back-to-back awards for Cards catcher; hurler wins first". MLB.com. November 11, 2009.
- ^ "Molina honored with first Gold Glove: Catcher's long-recognized defense finally nabs top NL award". MLB.com. November 5, 2008.
- ^ a b "Molina earns 5th straight Gold Glove award". MLB.com via St. Louis Cardinals. 30 October 2012. Retrieved 31 October 2012.
- ^ "Molina captures second Platinum Glove Award". MLB.com via St. Louis Cardinals. 10 November 2012. Retrieved 10 November 2012.
External links