Take MVP awards for instance, which is an area where Mauer should already compare favorably. After all, he's only 26 and has already won once and finished in the top six in voting three times. But look at the top seven guys that Bill James identifies as the best major league catchers in his Historical Baseball Abstract:
- Bill Dickey, who played for the Babe Ruth/Lou Gehrig Yankees (and batted in the middle of that lineup) never won an MVP but finished in the top ten five times. And he finished in the top 20 ten times.
- Carleton Fisk (Red Sox in 70s, White Sox in 80s) also never won but finished in the top 4 four times.
- Mike Piazza never won, but finished in the top ten seven times. And finished 13th and 14th two other times.
- Mickey Cochrane, who led the Athletics to two World Series titles and then led Detroit to their first championship ever (as a player/manager in 1935) won two MVPs. He also finished 4th, 7th, 9th, 10th, 14th and 18th in other years.
- The Brooklyn Dodgers Roy Campanella only played for ten years due to the color barrier and an auto accident that left him paralyzed. But during those ten years he won three MVPs and got votes three other times.
- Johnny Bench of the 70s Big Red Machine won two MVP awards before he was 25 years old. In all he received votes during ten seasons.
- And not only did Yogi Berra win three MVP awards, but for eight straight years he never finished lower than fourth. He received votes in fifteen consecutive years. His Yankees teams of the late 40s and 50s also appeared in 14 World Series, and he won ten of them.