Yadier Molina is doing Yadier Molina things.

Catching, hitting, throwing, leading.

Being indestructible.

Being Yadier Molina.

Still Yadi after all these years.

Yadier Molina decided to skip the part where Yadier Molina declines as a player.

That’s because Yadier Molina prefers flourishing in the everlong Yadier Molina phase of his career.

Eighteen years into his journey to the Baseball Hall of Fame, Yadier Molina is still Yadier Molina. And he is still the St. Louis Cardinals.

And on Thursday night the Cardinals followed Molina to a 5-4 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Molina gave the Cardinals one of his strongest catching performances of the year. He was at his pitch-calling, pitch-blocking, pitcher-handling best.

He had a productive night with the bat in his hand, stinging the D-backs with three hits including a pull shot down the left-field line for the game-winning RBI double in the 10th inning.

After another evening of defying age and belief, Molina is hitting .301 with a .333 onbase percentage, .553 slugging percentage, and 22 runs batted in.

Molina put up his career-best OPS+ of 137 back in 2012 at age 29. He was 37 percent above the league average offensively that season. It was part of his three-year offensive peak from 2011 through 2013.

That’s a long time ago.

But Molina doesn’t keep track of time. No, he disregards time. He disobeys time. He defeats time.

Hey, get your  He Can’t Beat Father Time!  stuff out of here.

I don’t know who the hell Father Time is, but he wouldn’t dare knock on Yadier Molina’s door.

And if Father Time shows up, Molina will kick his arse.

Here we are, nine years after his 2012 season, and Yadier Molina appears to be threatening and challenging Yadier Molina. Because 50 games into the Cardinals’ season, Molina has a 148 OPS+. It probably won’t last, but the148 OPS+ would set a new single-season standard for Molina’s career.

Molina is more than just keeping up with the kids.

Among qualifying MLB catchers Molina goes into the weekend ranking 3rd in RBIs, 4th in batting average, 4th in slugging, 4th in OPS (.886), and is tied for 5th with seven homers.

Among catchers who have caught at least 20 games this season, Molina ranks 3rd with a caught-stealing rate of 40%. What, does he plan to win the 10th Gold Glove of his career? How about a matching 10th All-Star game?

Nearly 39 years old, he’s tied for 5th among catchers with 1.4 fWAR.

“He’s a walking legend,” Cardinals outfielder Tyler O’Neill said of Molina, speaking via Zoom conference following Thursday’s win. “Everything he does is noticed by the fellow boys in the locker room. The way he carries himself. He comes up in big situations and is able to get the job done, time and time again.”

Here are a few other Yadi-Yadi-Yadi notes of interest:

1) With 2,020 regular-season games caught, Molina needs only six more games behind the plate to move ahead of Jason Kendall and into 5th place in MLB history. And with 37 more games, Molina will go by Gary Carter and into 4th place all-time for most games caught.

2)  During Thursday’s game Molina recorded the 14,000th putout of his career. In MLB history only Pudge Rodriguez has more, with 14,864.

3)  Molina has 2,038 career hits to rank 9th all-time among catchers that played at least 75 percent of their games at the position. But he’s making a move. With 55 more hits this season Molina would advance past A.J. Pierzynski (2,043), Johnny Bench (2,048) and Gary Carter (2,092) and into 6th place for most career hits by a catcher. And Mike Piazza (2,127) isn’t far away at No. 5.

4)  Molina needs only 46 RBIs to reach 1,000 for his career. He’d be the 12th catcher in MLB history to get to 1,000 runs batted in. By the way, the 954 RBIs rank 7th in Cardinals franchise history. If Molina can get 48 more runs batted in, he’ll move ahead of Ken Boyer who had 1,001 RBI as a Cardinal.

5)  With 36 more hits, Molina will surpass Enos Slaughter (2,064) and Albert Pujols (2,073) and into 4th place for most hits in Cardinals franchise history. And with 73 hits, Yadier would nudge past Rogers Hornsby and into third place behind Stan Musial (3,630) and Lou Brock (2,713) in franchise history.

How does he do this?

How does Molina still bounce around with so much gusto and greatness after catching approximately 17,800 major-league innings, a total that includes his labors in 101 career  postseason games? His catching gear doesn’t belong at Cooperstown; it should go to The Smithsonian.

Blocking pitches isn’t as easy as it used to be for Molina. But how many pitches has he blocked in his career? Thousands. And more thousands. And how many pitches has he caught over 17+ big-league season? Well, if we use a conservative estimate of 17 pitches per inning, and average it out over 17,800 innings — we’re talking 302,600 pitches.

Do Molina’s hands ever stop hurting?

How does he still have knees?

There’s one easy answer to cover all of these questions:

He’s Yadier Molina. Taking care of his team, his pitchers, his family business and his legacy since 2004. Still not tired. Still not retired. Still Yadier Molina.

Please check out Bernie’s sports-talk show on 590-AM The Fan, KFNS. It airs Monday through Thursday from 3-6 p.m. and Friday from 4-6 p.m. You can listen live online and download the Bernie Show podcast at 590thefan.com  … the 590 app works great and is available in your preferred app store. 

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Bernie Miklasz

Bernie Miklasz

For the last 36 years Bernie Miklasz has entertained, enlightened, and connected with generations of St. Louis sports fans.

While best known for his voice as the lead sports columnist at the Post-Dispatch for 26 years, Bernie has also written for The Athletic, Dallas Morning News and Baltimore News American. A 2023 inductee into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame, Bernie has hosted radio shows in St. Louis, Dallas, Baltimore and Washington D.C.

Bernie, his wife Kirsten and their cats reside in the Skinker-DeBaliviere neighborhood of St. Louis.