Royals catcher Salvador Perez made history on Monday, hitting his 46th home run of the season and breaking Johnny Bench’s longtime single-season record for homers by a catcher (45) in the process.
Perez’s big moment came in the fifth inning in Game 1 of a doubleheader vs. the Indians. His record-breaker, Kansas City’s third two-run homer of the game, gave the Royals a 7-0 lead in an eventual 7-2 victory:
Bench, who set the record in 1970 — in just his fourth season in the majors — was happy to congratulate Perez on his accomplishment:
Perez, who had a 274/.314/.542 slash line entering Monday’s doubleheader, has had a career year at the plate, setting personal bests in home runs, runs (80), hits (157) and RBIs (115).
The 11th-year catcher has more than just Bench’s record available to him this year. He’s also in a tight race with the Blue Jays’ Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (46) and the Angels’ Shohei Ohtani (44) for the MLB lead in home runs. The last player to lead the majors in homers while a primary catcher (75 percent of games played that season) was Bench when he homered 40 times in 1972. He could also become the first catcher to lead MLB in RBIs since Bench drove in 129 in 1974.
Perez (115) has a narrow lead over second-place Jose Abreu of the White Sox (113).
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