Happy Birthday, Yadier Molina!

I think it’s safe to say that when the Cardinals and Yadier Molina agreed to a new five-year contract, Cardinal Nation rejoiced. Our four-time Gold Glove catcher was in it for the long haul. Little did we know then just how much of an impact he’d continue to have.

In 2011, Molina stepped up his offensive performance, leading the team in batting average — .305 — and making key contributions to the improbable World Series run.

This year, he has not only continued his defensive dominance (you don’t run on Yadi!) and proven his in-game awareness, but he’s become Mr. Clutch, too.

Need a few reminders? Here’s one. Here’s another. And who doesn’t love a good walk-off winner, especially against the Cubs?

Oh, and then there’s THIS.

You don’t run on Yadi, but he’ll run on you!

Yes, that’s right. This year, he’s added swiping bases to his repertoire with eight in the first half — that leads MLB for catchers with stolen bases. For reference, the most stolen bases in a year for Yadi was nine in 2009. As Tony La Russa said in that highlight clip, “He has the green light because he’s such a smart player.”

Say it with me: Yadi! Yadi! Yadi!

This season, through 75 games, the youngest of the three Molina brothers is hitting .304 with 13 home runs (he had 14 last season), and 45 RBI while posting a .994 fielding percentage.

And today, our All-Star catcher turns the big 3-0!

So, happy birthday to Yadi!

Here are a few of our favorite pictures to help celebrate.

That’s a Molina-walk-off-RBI-single-to-beat-the-Cubs winner!!

Precious.

High Sock Power!

Superman’s got nothin’ on Yadi.

No YOU’RE awesome.

Happy Yadi, Happy Birthday.

Here’s hoping the Cardinals get this guy a win tonight, as they kick of second half action against the Cincinnati Reds!

Tara is a St. Louis Cardinals reporter for Aaron Miles’ Fastball and a contributor to Around the Horn. Follow her on Twitter @tarawellman.

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