At 6' 2" and weighing 245 pounds, Molina is taller than his older brother Bengie Molina, who now plays for the San Francisco Giants, and their younger brother Yadier Molina, also a catcher, who plays for the St. Louis Cardinals. They are the only three brothers in MLB history to all win World Series championship rings. Bengie and Jose did it together as members of the 2002 Anaheim Angels, and Yadier with the 2006 Cardinals. Molina was also part of baseball history on September 21, 2008, when he became the last player ever to hit a home run at the original Yankee Stadium.
Baseball career[edit | edit source]
Chicago Cubs (1999-2001)[edit | edit source]
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (2001-07)[edit | edit source]
Following Bengie's departure from the Angels, José Molina entered the 2006 season as the Angels' new starting catcher, though it was expected that rookie Jeff Mathis would also see substantial time handling the team's catching duties over the course of the season. Mathis struggled during the first month of the season, however, and was demoted to the minor leagues. Molina himself then struggled offensively, and the promising offensive performance of Mathis' replacement on the roster, rookie Mike Napoli, once again relegated Molina to the role of backup catcher. Still, Molina played in a career-high 78 games and had a career-best 225 at-bats in 2006.
New York Yankees (2007-present)[edit | edit source]
On July 21, 2007, Molina was traded to the New York Yankees for minor league pitcher Jeff Kennard. At the time of the trade, he had a .237 lifetime batting average, but had hit lefties much better (.269). He would go on to hit .318 for the Yankees with 1 home run.
On December 3, 2007, the Yankees signed Molina to a two-year deal. He served as the team's starting catcher following a shoulder injury to Jorge Posada, but returned to the backup role when the Yankees acquired Iván Rodríguez.
On September 21, 2008, Molina hit the last home run in the original Yankee Stadium, in the Yankees' final game at the ballpark, which was against the Baltimore Orioles. Following this event, he expressed satisfaction after closing the question presented by Babe Ruth in his last public speech at the facility, which closed by stating "only God knows who will hit the last."
Defense[edit | edit source]
In the minors, Molina was rated as the best defensive catcher in the Pacific Coast League by Baseball America in 2002. In his years with the Cubs and Angels, Molina displayed better than average range as a catcher, and also played 9 games at first base. In 2004, he threw out 22 of 45 base stealers (48.89%), tops in the AL (minimum of 40 attempts). He also led AL catchers with five pickoffs in 2004, despite only 57 starts. In 2005, he caught more than half of those who attempted to steal against him, again the best percentage in the AL.In 2008, he again played excellent defense, and displayed his excellent arm, replacing the injured Jorge Posada.