Stay in the game long enough, and peers and critics alike will have plenty to say about you. It's not all going to be good (looking at you, Brandon Phillips and Tory Lovullo). But, the words both friends and foes have said over the years about Yadier Molina paint quite a picture of the impact he's made on the game and it's participants.
Here is a small taste of said picture, from years past to the present.
“He looks like a shortstop behind the plate. He makes it look so easy, and it’s so hard. Every time I play against him, I watch him closely.” ~ Brian McCann
“He works hard. You never get there at 5:30 in the morning, but I remember getting there at 6 or 6:30 and Yadi’s walking out sweating from the cages. That’s something that he’s done forever. He cares about making everybody around him better.” ~ Albert Pujols
“I pretty much worship the ground he walks on. I know for a fact that I was more of a thrower in the minor leagues. We have a lot of great catchers down there, but once you get to the big-league level, it’s weird because when you feel like you should have more pressure on you, you have less.” ~ Shelby Miller
“To me, he’s been one of the most impactful players that I’ve ever seen at that position.” ~ Mike Matheny
“I’ve never seen another player do as much video work getting prepared for each game than what Yadi does. Just the amount of preparation he does before each game, each series to know all the hitters and know all the pitchers he’s going to be facing as well, it’s pretty remarkable.” ~ Michael Wacha
“He makes my job incredibly easy. I think one of my favorite ways to describe what it’s like throwing to him is that I can shut my brain off.” ~ John Brebbia
“I always tell him he’s like my superhero,” ~ Salvador Perez
“Yadi has been someone very important to me since I joined the team, because he is an experienced figure, but also someone very humble. Last year I organized a baseball clinic for boys from La Guaira (Vargas state in, Venezuela), where I am from. And Yadi came to help me, and that speaks of his human quality but also of his leadership outside the field.” ~ José Martínez
"I was reminded during the time that Lou Brock or Bob Gibson or Red Schoendienst or Stan Musial, when all these great stars were playing, don't ever take it for granted. And every time that they would take the field you were encouraged, you're seeing something special and they ended up being Hall of Famers. That's how I feel about Yadier.” ~ Tony La Russa
"He's just the best. I wonder if in the future (there will a stat for what he does). I hope. I don't know. I hope that baseball appreciates what they have in him.” ~ Joey Votto
“I judge a guy by how he calls his game and the respect he gets from the pitchers after the game,” Bench said. “You can see it in the hugs. There’s a real concert going on there. They trust him. They key off of him. As a catcher, you’re the artist and they’re the brush. All you’re doing is painting a picture. … You put that with the hitting and it’s clear he finally got comfortable with what he wanted to do. He has redefined himself. All of a sudden there’s been this little more respect for him as a result.
~ Johnny bench
“I tell my kids and anyone who will listen that I pitched to Yadier Molina: the greatest catcher who ever lived.” ~ Adam Wainwright
"He can just impact the game is so many ways, making pitchers more aggressive, and then calming them at the same time. There’s only one Yadier Molina." ~ Carlos Beltran
There *is* only one... and how lucky are Cardinal fans to call him their own?