Longtime Dodger Steve Yeager was well-respected behind the plate, and Lou Brock called him “the best-throwing catcher in the game.” He was an intelligent game-caller and a team leader on six Dodger division winners. He shared the three-way MVP award in the 1981 World Series, largely due to his home run off the Yankees’ Ron Guidry that won Game Five.
In an extra-inning game on August 8, 1972, Yeager tied an NL record for catchers with 22 putouts and set another with 24 chances accepted. In 1974 the Dodgers won their first 24 games in which Yeager started behind the plate. He never batted more than .256 as a regular, but he reached double figures in home runs six times.
Yeager introduced the neck protector, the flap attached to the catcher’s mask, first donning it after a freak 1976 accident; he was hit with the jagged end of a broken bat while in the on-deck circle and had nine splinters removed from his neck. The nephew of legendary pilot Chuck Yeager, Steve became accustomed to notoriety. He gained attention by posing for a Playgirl centerfold. The best man at his wedding was Los Angeles mayor Tom Bradley.