Nov 3, 2014

The Only Catcher In Mets History To Catch A Mets No Hitter: Josh Thole (2009-2012)

Joshua Michael Thole was born on October 28th 1986, the day after the Mets won the '86 World Series.

Thole was born & raised Breese, Illinois. The six foot one, left 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 catcher in Mets history to be behind the plate for a no hitter. Although many have come close, it was on this night; Johan Santana threw the first no hit game in franchise history beating the St. Louis Cardinals in an 8-0 win.

Another thrill for Thole that season, was being behind the plate & catching R.A. Dickey, who became the Mets first twenty game winner since Frank Viola in 1990.

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, he batted .234 with one HR 15 doubles & 21 RBIs, posting a .296 on base % in 104 games.

Defensively he threw out 24% of would be base stealers, allowed 18 passed balls (mostly due to Dickey's knuckleball) & posted a .992 fielding %.

On December 17, 2012 he was involved in a big trade that sent himself, R.A. Dickey & Mike Nickeas to the Toronoto Blue Jays for highly toted catching prospect Travis d'Arnaud.

He began the 2013 season at AAA Buffalo, now an affiliate of the Blue Jays batting .322 in 41 games.

He joined the Jays in June, playing behind main catcher; JP Arencibia who hit 21 HRs. Thole only hit .150 with one HR, which came in New York against the A.L. club that August. 


In 2014 he was the Jays back up catcher behind veteran Dioner Navarro. The '14 Jays put in a fine season, contending for a playoff spot until September winning 83 games (83-79). In 57 games Thole hit .248 with seven RBIs. His nine passed balls behind the plate put him at 6th most in the league in that category, mostly due to R.A. Dickey's knuckleball. Thole is sixth among active catchers with 59 passed balls. 

In his six year career over 410 games, he is batting .251 with 8 HRs 48 doubles 102 RBIs & a .322 on base %.

In 371 games at catcher, he threw out 24% of would be base stealers, posting a .994 fielding.

Family: Thole & his wife Kathryn have a one son. Their Maltese poodle is deaf & Thole has taught the dog sign language with amazing results

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