While writing this article I came upon the news that Yankee golden boy Jesus Montero was traded to the Mariners for pitcher Michael Pineda. I briefly debated if I should alter the makeup of this article, making it less about veteran catcher Jorge Posada and more about the Yankees’ catching plans for 2012, due to the departure of both Posada and Montero.
I decided that Posada deserves better than that. The blockbuster trade will have to be fodder for a later post.
This week it was announced that Posada is hanging up his shin guards for good. Posada’s decision to retire as a Yankee no doubt earned him brownie points with the New York fan base following a disappointing season in which the backstop batted a career-low .235.
Posada became the second member of the Yankee “core four” to retire in pinstripes. Andy Pettitte retired after the 2010 season. Posada’s departure leaves Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera as the remaining members of the elite club, who have the venerable distinction of five world titles to their name.
Although Posada’s final season was plagued with sub-par numbers and a much-publicized self-benching after manager Joe Girardi placed him ninth in the batting order, Yankee fans will always remember Posada for his positive contributions during his 17-year career.
During his tenure as a Yankee, Posada hit .273 with 275 home runs and over 1,000 RBIs. In 2007, his most prolific season offensively, he hit .338 and finished fourth in the American League batting title race. He is a five-time All-Star and received the Silver Slugger award five times as well.
Posada had the honor of catching David Wells’ perfect game in 1998. He also has the distinction of hitting the first home run in the new Yankee Stadium on April 16, 2009. Later that year he hit another memorable homer in Game 3 of the American League Division Series, breaking a 1-1 tie and leading the Yankees to a sweep of the Minnesota Twins. They would, of course, go on to win the World Series.
In an ironic turn of events, the switch-hitter was one of the only Yankees who seemed awake at the plate during last October’s ALDS against the Tigers. Posada hit .429 in that series.
Only Bill Dickey and Yogi Berra have caught more games as Yankees. That’s pretty elite company.
Posada’s offensive production may have waned in his later years, but his popularity never did, evidenced by the endless supply of number 20 jerseys that flow in and out of Yankee Stadium and fly off Modell’s shelves, and will no doubt continue to.
Thanks, Jorge, for retiring in pinstripes and keeping it pure. Tell Bernie and Andy we said hi.