Hayes was a highly-regarded defensive catcher and a five-time All-Star. He led the AL three times in total chances per game, twice each in fielding, putouts, double plays, and errors, and once in assists. His 29 double plays in 1945 is the second-highest total ever for a catcher. When he caught 155 games in 1944, he set a still-standing AL record.
He failed in his first trial in the majors, batting just .226 in 1934, but he came back up in 1936 to spend six seasons as the Athletics’ primary catcher. His best offensive season was 1939, when he hit .283 and had career highs of 20 HR and 83 RBI; he hit a career-high .308 in 1940 (with 61 walks in 465 at-bats). On July 25, 1936 he tied the major league record with four doubles in a game.