Joshua Michael Thole was born on October 28th 1986, the day after the Mets won the World Series. Thole was born & raised Breese, Illinois. The six foot one eft hand hitting catcher was drafted out of high school in the 13th round of the 2005 draft by the New York Mets. Thole never showed any power at the plate but showed good defensive skills & was a good singles hitter. He hits much better against right handed pitching.
He spent two seasons in the Rookie League, then two seasons at A ball. He hit .300 with a minor league career high of five HRs at A ball St. Lucie in 2008 followed by a .328 year at AA Binghamton. That year he was praised by Mets pitching coach Dan Warthen on how good his defensive skills were behind the plate, as early as Spring Training.
With the Mets going nowhere in the pennant race he was brought up to the big league club on August 31st.
He was being primed as the Mets catcher of the future, recieving extra tutoring by veteran Brian Schneider who knew his days were going to be over at the end of the season. In his first career at bat, Thole singled against the Rockies Jason Marquis in Colorado & then stole second base. He drove in a run in each of his last three games on the year, finishing up with a .321 average (17-53).
In 2010 he began the year at AAA Buffalo after 48 games he was batting .267 with 2 HRs 19 doubles & 19 RBIs. The Mets year began with Rod Barajas & Henry Blanco as the teams catchers. Thole debuted in late June & by July was seeing steadier playing time. On July 19th he hit his first HR , it came in Arizona & by the end of the month he was batting .318.
By August he was the teams main catcher, as Barajas went to the Dodgers & although Thole wasn't hitting with power he was remaining at .the .300 mark. On October 1st Thole hit a walk off HR against the Washington Nats Tyler Clippard leading to a 2-1 Met win.
In 2011 Thole saw his first full season at catcher, he tossed out 21% of base runners trying to steal, posting a .997 fielding % (3rd best in the NL) while allowing 16 passed balls (most in the league). R.A. Dickey's knuckle ball didn't help that stat out too much.
On April 17th, at Turner Field putting the Mets up 1-0. He later singled in the 5th driving in what turned out to be the games winning run. On April 29th he drove in all three Mets runs in loss at Philadelphia & then had another three RBI day a month later on May 29th in a 9-5 win against the Phillies at home. On July 20th he singled off the Cardinals Jason Motte tying up the game, setting the stage for an Angel Pagan walk off HR.
In San Diego on August 15th, Thole hit his second HR of the year & then drove in another run in the 5th inning, leading the Mets to a 5-4 win over the Padres. In September he had another three RBI day, this time gathering up three hits as well in a 12-2 over the Braves in Atlanta. On the year he hit .268 with 3 HRs 17 doubles 40 RBIs & a .345 on base % in 114 games.
Thole was the Opening Day catcher in 2012 & had a pair of hits in Johan Santana's 1-0 win over the Braves at Citi Field. In April he had a ten game hit streak, finishing the first month hitting well enough be batting .317.
On April 29th he hit his only HR of the year, it came off 49 year old Jamie Moyer in Colorado in a 6-5 Mets win against the Rockies. In May he suffered a concussion after a home plate collision with former Met Ty Wigginton. As a result he missed a month of action returning in early June. When he got back the Mets were surprising everyone playing well enough to be in second place, only a few games behind the Washington Nationals.
On June 2nd Thole became the first pitcher in Mets history to be behind the plate calling a no hitter, as Johan Santana no hit the St. Louis Cardinals in an 8-0 win. Another thrill for Thole behind the plate was catching R.A. Dickey who became the Mets first twenty game winner since Frank Viola in 1990.
Defensively he threw out 24% of would be base stealers, allowed 18 passed balls & posted a .992 fielding %. After the All Star break the Mets long losing streak pretty much ruined the season.
Thole struggled as well, possibly never recovering fully from the concussion, batting .240 with one HR 15 doubles 21 RBIs & a .301 on base % in 105 games through September.
Family: Thole & his wife Kathryn have a one son. Their maltese poodle is deaf & Thole has taught the dog sign language with amazing results.