The catcher position is arguably the most decorated position in Yankee history. Behind the plate, the Yankees have a rich tradition that includes Billy Dickey, Yogi Berra, Elston Howard, and Thurman Munson. Today, Jorge Posada retired and firmly entrenched his name into the Yankee tradition at catcher. Posada, viewed as a borderline Hall of Fame candidate, hit 275 home runs and drove in 1,065 runs in 17 seasons with the Yanks. Posada played in 125 post-season games, appeared in five All-Star Games and won five World Championships.
During his final season with the Bombers, Posada was relegated to DH duty, hitting 14 HRs and driving in 44 runs. Posada, who is one of the most powerful switch hitters I’ve seen, was only used as a lefty swinger. Despite losing his starting catching position and only hitting from the left side, Posada was one of the only post-season bright spots, hitting .429 during the ALDS against the Tigers.
I’ll always remember Jorge for his honesty and solid play. Posada was the definition of a gamer and was a true Yankee. His double off of Pedro Martinez in the 2003 ALCS will live forever as will the day he caught David Wells’s perfect game. Most importantly, the fans always showered Jorge with his patentent ‘Hip Hip…JORGE!!!’ chant. I will miss doing that.
After the 2011 season, it was clear the Yankees were set to move on. Posada’s skills had clearly diminished and the Yankees have a plethora of young players who will assume the DH spot next season. I do think Jorge could have DH’ed for another American League team, but playing an entire career with one club means something. Not many athletes are able to do it.
As for the Hall of Fame, Jorge definitely isn’t a first ballot Hall of Famer, but he could get in down the road. That’s an article for another day, but today, we remember Jorge for always being a gentleman, a true professional, and a Yankee for life.