Yadier Benjamin Molina (Spanish pronunciation: [?a'dje? mo'lina]; born July 13, 1982), nicknamed "Yadi", is a Puerto Rican professional baseball catcher for the St.
Louis Cardinals of Major League Baseball (MLB).
He has played his entire 16-year major league career with the Cardinals since his debut on June 3, 2004, and also for the Puerto Rican national team in four World Baseball Classic (WBC) tournaments.
Widely considered one of the greatest defensive catchers of all time, Molina is the recipient of a number of accolades, including nine Rawlings Gold Gloves and six Fielding Bible Awards.
A two-time World Series champion, he is a paramount figure in ten Cardinals playoff appearances and four National League (NL) pennants, and a two-time silver medalist with Puerto Rico.
Molina bats and throws right-handed, stands 5 feet 11 inches (1.80 m) tall, and weighs 205 pounds (93 kg).
Molina ranks second all-time among catchers with 130 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS), and first among active catchers with 845 assists, 40.21% of runners caught stealing which is 213 all-time, and 55 pickoffs.
He also ranks in the top 70 among catchers in history in each of fielding percentage, games played, double plays turned, and assists.
As a hitter, he has accrued more than 1,900 hits, 150 home runs, and 800 runs batted in (RBI) during his career, while batting over .300 five times.
Other distinctions include selection to nine MLB All-Star Games, to the 2018 MLB Japan All-Star Series, four fan-based Platinum Glove Awards, and one Silver Slugger Award.
He is also a two-time selection to the All-WBC Tournament Team.
The product of a baseball family, Molina was born in Bayamon, Puerto Rico.
His father was an amateur second baseman and the all-time hits leader in Puerto Rican baseball, and his two older brothers, Bengie and José, also developed into standout defensive catchers with lengthy MLB careers.
Long before playing professionally, Molina's pitch-handling and throwing skills caught the attention of scouts.
The Cardinals' fourth round selection in the 2000 MLB draft, he quickly showed one of the strongest and most accurate arms in the game after starting play in the major leagues.
Having earned a reputation as a team leader throughout his career, Molina formulates fielder positioning plans and complete pitching strategies to opposing hitters.
A likely Hall of Fame first-ballot inductee, Molina has been called the greatest baseball catcher in the history of baseball from Latin America.
Through 2019, Molina is currently the longest tenured player with one team in Major League Baseball, having been with the Cardinals since the 2004 season.
Initially considered a light hitter, Molina significantly improved his offense and raised his career batting average from .248 in 2007.
He has appeared on five NL Most Valuable Player Award (MVP) ballots, including finishing fourth in 2012 and third in 2013.
The only catcher in Cardinals history to appear in at least five postseasons, in 2006 he became just the third catcher to play in two World Series before age 25, following Johnny Bench and Yogi Berra.
The major leagues' all-time leader in games caught with one team and the National League leader for the most postseason games by a player, Molina is under contract through 2020.
He is considered to be a strong future candidate for the Hall of Fame.
When Hurricane Maria ravaged the island of Puerto Rico in September 2017, Molina began relief efforts for victims of the catastrophe, consequently receiving the Roberto Clemente Award in 2018.