Sunday, January 8, 2012

Jorge Posada's Yankee Legacy

Yesterday afternoon, Sweeney Murti of WFAN reported that Jorge Posada will announce his retirement from the Yankees and from the game of baseball within the next two weeks.

As a fan of the game and the Yankees, it was refreshing to see Posada know when to bow out gracefully. The fiery catcher had a fantastic 16 year career for the Yankees.

Posada is a lifetime .273 hitter, with 275 home runs, a .374 on-base percentage, .474 slugging percentage and 1,075 runs batted in.

Though his career statistics may seem underwhelming compared to other Yankee greats, it's important to compare with other catchers who have worn the pinstripes.

Posada's 275 career home runs rank second all time behind Yogi Berra.  His 1,664 hits rank third all time behind Berra and Bill Dickey.  Posada also ranks second all time behind Berra on games played.  (**All Yankee records.**)

Perhaps Posada's greatest contribution to the teams he played on was his defense and ability to call games.  Though he never won a Gold Glove, Posada was responsible for guiding the dynasty pitching staffs of the '98-'00 teams.  Those starting staffs included Andy Pettitte, David Cone, David Wells and Roger Clemens among others.  Wells pitched his perfect game in '99 with Posada behind the plate calling the pitches.

He became a postseason hero among fans during the Yankees glory years by producing timely hits and driving in key runs.  One of his most memorable hits was off of Pedro Martinez in the eighth inning of the 2003 ALCS which allowed the Yankees to tie up the game and eventually win, sending the Bombers to another World Series.

Posada prided himself in his ability to stay healthy.  The first time he was placed on the 15-day disabled list was in 2008, which also coincidently was the first time the Yankees missed the playoffs since 1994.  Posada recovered nicely from a shoulder injury, hitting .285, 22 home runs and driving in 81 runs.  It was the last great season for Posada, as he saw his playing time reduced due to younger catchers.

Though he batted a career-low .235 in 114 games in 2011, he still managed to hit .429 in the Yankees postseason series against the Detroit Tigers.

Posada's friendship with shortstop Derek Jeter, closer Mariano Rivera and Pettitte was well chronicled as the four earned the nickname of "the core four" during the latter years of Pettitte and Posada's career.

As Posada joins his "core four" teammate and friend, Pettitte in retirement, Yankee fans will now turn to Jeter and Rivera to cling to the glory years of the '90s.  Rivera, could be entering his final season, with Jeter retiring soon thereafter.

The Glory Days of the "Cour Four" are really coming to a close.

I'll leave you with a picture of the "core four" from the last home game at Old Yankee Stadium

*Photos courtesy of Detroit Free Press and Sports Illustrated

Ps I'm going to miss this commercial.

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