Top Story

Jorge Posada To Retire: One Of The Greatest Yankees Of All Time Should Be A No-Doubt Hall Of Famer

Jorge Posada should be a Hall of Fame catcher. (AP photo)
While he may not have gotten the ultimate sendoff of winning a World Series title last October, Yankees great Jorge Posada accomplished something on a personal level that has him leaving the sport with his head held high. One of best hitting catchers in baseball history is set to retire in the next two weeks, meaning he will end his legendary career right where it started - with the Yankees.

But it was the playoff series against the Detroit Tigers where Posada proved he was still a great player, despite what manager Joe Girardi, the media and some moronic Yankees fans would have you believe. Girardi, as we all know, had already benched Posada in the second half of the season, stripping him of the designated hitter role he held since the beginning of the year.

Posada, however, couldn't be taken out of the lineup in the playoffs. He had two hits in the deciding Game 5, one the Yankees lost where the other players on the team couldn't come through with the bat like Posada did. Posada batted .429 in the series, had a .579 on base percentage and was simply the team's best player. Not Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixiera, Curtis Granderson, Robinson Cano nor even Derek Jeter played as well as the man who was said to be done.

That fire and that heart is what Yankees fans will remember when Posada makes that decision to retire official. He was one of the greatest Yankees of all-time and I would put him in the Hall of Fame as well. It's a tough call, but he was the best hitting catcher of his generation. He batted .273 with 275 home runs and 1,065 RBI for his career. He was a five-time all-star and won five Silver Slugger awards. He finished third in the MVP voting in 2003 and sixth in 2007.

That alone might not get him in, but Posada's winning pedigree could be what puts him over the edge. It should be what gets him into the Hall. Posada, Jeter, Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte were the core of a Yankees team that would win five World Series titles and dominate for more than a decade.

Posada may have gone through a tumultuous final season in the Bronx, but he became more popular than ever with real Yankees fans. They cheered his every plate appearance. They would explode when he came out of the dugout to pinch hit. They showed how much they wanted Posada in the game.

Here's what I wrote when Posada was benched by Girardi on August 7:

With all of that drama this season, the strangest thing could be Posada reaching his highest level of popularity ever. Since that May day where the Yankees tried to put Posada in a villainous light, every at-bat has drawn cheers from the crowd. When Posada is called in to pinch-hit at home, the crowd goes crazy. That is why this news isn't as sad for Yankees fans as it could have been.

Posada has always been a favorite of mine, as his name and number are just one of three that currently reside in my closet (with Andy Pettitte and Paul O'Neill the others.) But for most fans, he always lived in the shadow of Derek Jeter, Paul O'Neill, Mariano Rivera, Bernie Williams and probably more on the popularity scale. This year that changed.

So, even though Posada has had the worst season of his career, and his time in baseball is coming to an end, he finally reached the popularity level that he always deserved. I'm sure Posada would have liked that to happen differently, but in a season full of disappointment it is fitting he will go out on a high note nonetheless. The Yankees fans will make sure of it.

Yankees fans did make sure Posada went out on a high note. And Posada rewarded everyone with another October series to remember.

Thank you, Jorge, for being a true Yankee.

No comments:

Post a Comment