I remember like it was yesterday. It was Dave Valle poster night at the Kingdome. This was back in the day when every kid wanted posters in their room, so you can imagine how packed the dome was with youth accompanied by their parents.
I’m sure the Mariners lost the game, but it didn’t matter because we all came home with a cool poster of the Seattle Mariners catcher.
It wasn’t one of those thin paper posters either. No, it was a thick glossy poster with a cool image of Dave Valle throwing a ball to second base.
Probably throwing out another failed attempt by a wannabe base stealer. You can consider it baseball’s version of being ‘posterized.’
But it wasn’t the cool image of the throw, or the thought that a base stealer was just thrown out that got my attention. It was the caption on the bottom of the poster. It read, “Dave Valle: Catch the Difference.”
Drafted in the second round of the amateur draft, the Seattle Mariners selected Dave Valle.
In desperate need of finding the catcher of their future, I think they made the smart choice. Valle ended up playing 13 total years in the MLB. Ten of those years with the Mariners.
Anyone who remembers Dave Valle, can remember he wasn’t the world’s greatest hitter.
For example, in 1991 he finished with a .194 BA. But the poster captured Valle’s best quality, and arguably the most important quality of a player of his position.
Dave Valle could play defensive like there was no tomorrow.
Second to none, Valle’s skill behind the plate was outstanding. In 1990, he led all catchers in the AL with a .997 fielding percentage. He only committed two errors in 102 games.
Just imagine how difficult that is. Now, imagine only committing two errors, while catching Randy Johnson’s ‘Mr. Snappy’ all year. Yeah, Valle was that good.
Dave finished his career with a .237 BA, 77 home runs, and 350 runs batted in. Those numbers aren’t much to write home about, but his defensive stats were incredible.
Valle ended his career with a .992 fielding percentage.
Just to give you a sample size of his abilities, Dave had 881 put outs in 1993. The same year, he threw out 57 base stealers.
And if you can remember Chris Bosio’s no hitter in ’93, you can bet your sweet dupa that was Dave Valle calling the shots behind the plate.
You can catch Dave Valle today as a guest announcer on television and radio. His commentary during the Mariners games is a much needed beyond the boring lull of Mike Blowers.
Dave definitely understood the game of baseball. You can even hear him sharing those ‘baseball smarts’ as an analyst on the MLB Network’s MLB tonight show.
Dave’s knowledge of the game has not been overlooked. He was just recently hired as the Manger of the Seattle Mariners Single-A Affiliate Everett Aquasox.
This is great news for the youth of our organization. Being exposed to Valle’s knowledge of the game that early in a career is crucial for any prospect. Something they can bring that with them as they grow through the farm system.
It’s easy to love the offensive game of baseball. Fans and writers get lost in the power numbers and the hitting side of the sport.
Many forget that there is another side of baseball; the defensive game. Dave Valle flat out owned the rankings behind the plate. It was very easy to ‘Catch the Difference.’