Jorge Posada, longtime New York Yankees catcher, officially announced his retirement on Tuesday at an 11 a.m. press conference in Yankee Stadium alonsgide his wife Laura, his son Jorge Luis and his daughter Paulina.
Posada, who spent his entire 17-year career with the Yankees, was part of the team's Core Four along with shortstop Derek Jeter, closer Mariano Rivera and starting pitcher Andy Pettitte that helped the team capture five World Series titles from 1996-2009. However, after 17 years and a Hall of Fame worthy resume, it was time for him to call it quits after he developed a limited role on the team, only seeing action every so often as a designated hitter.
I'm not getting prepared for another season, that's for sure, Posada said, hinting at retirement last week at a fundraiser for Derek Jeter's Turn 2 Foundation at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. I tried, and it's not in me. ... More and more days started going by, and nothing's going in the right direction.
Posada should get some Hall of Fame consideration, but maybe not first ballot. (Reuters/Ray Stubblebine)
Posada, who lost his catching job before the start of last season, finished batting a career-low .235 with 14 homeruns and 44 runs batted in in 115 games in 2011. In May, he asked to be removed from the lineup in a nationally televised game against the Boston Red Sox, angry because manager Joe Girardi dropped him to ninth in the batting order because he wasn't producing hits.
However, despite the struggles, Posada channeled his old self, getting the winning hit - a pinch-hit, two-run single - against the Tampa Bay Rays on Sept. 21, which helped the Yankees to clinch its 17th American League East title. He then really found his groove and hit .429 in the ALDS against the Detroit Tigers, drawing cheers, chants and long ovations of Jor-ge! Jor-ge! from the 50,000-plus crowd at Yankee Stadium.
After the Yankees' 4-1 series loss to Detroit, though, a handful of teams noticed that Posada could still be productive, and reports said that those teams inquired with the Bombers about Posada's services. However, Posada remained hesitant throughout the offseason, the first sign of his loyalty to retire a Yankee coming in one of his postgame interviews.
They've been awesome, Posada said on the verge of tears to Yahoo! Contributor Network about Yankees fans following the Yankees' Game 5 elimination. The fans have been unbelievable to this team and to me, and I really give [them] a lot of credit. It kept me here.
The Puerto Rico native and five-time All-Star, a 24th-round pick in the 1990 First-Year Player Draft who was converted to catcher from second base, hit .273 with 275 homers, 1,664 hits, 900 runs and 1,065 RBIs in 1,829 career games. A Yankees press release about the news conference noted that Posada's career batting average, homerun and RBI numbers surpass those of 13 of 14 former catchers currently enshrined in the Hall of Fame, except for Yankees legend Yogi Berra, who hit a career .285 with 358 homeruns and 1,430 RBIs.
Posada, who trails only Berra and Bill Dickey in more games caught in pinstripes (1,574), also finishes his career seventh on New York's all-time list for doubles and walks (936), eighth in homers and 11th in RBIs.
Posada also leaves as one of the game's most seasoned postseason veterans: he ranks second all-time in playoff games played with 125, trailing only Jeter's 152, and his 119 playoff games at catcher are the most all-time, ahead of Berra's 63.
Despite his Hall of Fame body of work spanning 17 seasons, Posada may not be enshrined on first ballot. It may take him many years for that matter. However, he has proven that he is a worthy heir to the Yankees' tradition of high-caliber catching.
Fellow Yankee catchers such as Berra, Dickey and Thurman Munson would definitely be proud.
I will always be a Yankee, Posada said to reporters in November. The New York Yankees, for me, is my second family.