Mets catcher Josh Thole was the hidden MVP of the 2012 season
By Tim Boyle
Josh Thole was one of the most important members of the 2012 New York Mets despite not having incredible numbers.
In parts of four seasons with the New York Mets, catcher Josh Thole slashed .261/.331/.333. He hit only seven home runs and drove in 87. Far from an offensive weapon, his role in Mets history is different.
His career seemed to all come together in 2012 when he managed to add two pretty awesome items to his resume.
The first, maybe it’s the most obvious, is that he caught R.A. Dickey throughout his Cy Young season. Thole was so vital to Dickey’s success that he actually became his personal catcher. When the team traded Dickey to the Toronto Blue Jays after the season, Thole went north with him.
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Catching a Cy Young award winner is definitely something I think all backstops want on their resume. In 2012, Thole added another. This one puts him in such rare company in Mets history that no other catcher has ever done so.
On June 1, 2012, Johan Santana threw the first and only no-hitter in club history. Behind the plate for all nine innings was Thole.
I know the achievement of throwing a no-hitter goes to a pitcher. In this instance, we also have to award Mike Baxter with a few compliments as well. Often lost in a pitcher’s journey from inning one through nine without allowing a hit is the performance of the catcher calling the game.
I’m not out there to say Thole was the most important member of the 2012 squad. At 74-88, it was one of those years where the individual performances reigned supreme. Certainly, with Dickey winning the league’s best pitcher award and some other good performances from players on the roster, Thole’s numbers fail to compare.
Something to consider, however, is the importance a catcher can play even if he is probably best suited in a part-time role as Thole came to be. In 2021, we’re going to get a real taste of how much a catcher can potentially change the game with the upgrade from Wilson Ramos to James McCann.
Thole never seemed quite prepared to handle the main catching duties in New York. He was one of several to bridge the gap between Paul Lo Duca and the hope of Travis d’Arnaud living up to expectations. Among them, Thole may not have been the best or the worst.
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For one year, in 2012, he was a hidden MVP—right there in the most important moments of the season.