Skip to main content

Jorge Posada: Pride, Grit, and Pinstripes


With his recent retirement announcement, the 2012  season will be the first one for the New York Yankees since 1994 without Jorge Posada. For many Yankee fans, the absence of number twenty in the lineup continues the unforgiving truth that our heroes from the late nineties are stepping away from the game. Now with Posada hanging up the spikes, the core four that has been lauded for their loyalty and consistency, is now down to two. And with the discussion of whether Posada, who continued a lineage of great Yankees catchers, should be placed in the Hall of Fame, his career is under a microscope more than anytime, moreso than when he played. And while fans, experts, analysts, statisticians, and even haters weigh in on either side of the HOF coin, there is a certain Jorge Posada that I hope does not get lost in the number crunching and reasoning, and it is summed up into two words: pride and grit.

As a now twenty-six year old man, I was fortunate enough to not only enjoy the wave of championships in the late nineties, but was old enough to understand the struggles of the early nineties teams when Yankee Stadium felt like an empty, outdated cathedral, with no one interested in the religion inside of it. There are recent rain delayed games with 11:05pm starts that have more people in the stands than some of the games I was at. Nonetheless, within those glory years, Jorge Posada was a mainstay and one of those cogs that  made that time tremendous. And he did so in such an underrated way.

For all of the attention that Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Paul O'Neill, Andy Pettite, and Bernie Williams received, albeit well-deserved, Posada always seemed to have been the forgotten piece of the puzzle. Even taking a backseat when other hired guns donned pinstripes such as Alex Rodriguez, Roger Clemens, and Jason Giambi. 

Despite the New York spotlight exclusion, Posada was the enforcer in so many ways. He was never afraid to stand his ground with headcase pitchers who disagreed with his game calling (See: Burnet, A.J; and Hernandez, Orlando). Yet, despite his tough love, you always heard stories of Posada knowing his pitchers, and what made them tick. From the positive reinforcement he always gave Clemens, to the meticulous game plan for Mussina, to the carefree and loose personality of David Wells, Posada knew how to get the most out of his staff. And as for the rest of the clubhouse, Posada had no qualms about getting in the face of those who violated the "Yankee way" to keep the clubhouse focused and in-line. 

In fact, he also took that stern fiery love for the game on the field, never backing down from opponents. Who can forget the image of Posada standing on the top step in Fenway Park barking at Pedro Martinez and pointing at his head in confrontation during the 2003 ALCS? 

How about some of my other favorites...

Facing the home dugout, Posada intensely clenches and shakes both hands in emotion after his bloop double in Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS.

His presence of mind  to not only cover, but to hold his position at home plate in order to make the tag on Jeremy Giambi in the famous "Flip play" by Derek Jeter.

That famous moment in 2003
 
Hitting the first home run in the new Yankee Stadium. 

His raw outburst of emotion after the Yankees were eliminated in the 2011 playoffs.

And probably the image I will always remember Jorge Posada for, his once again famous double clenched fist pump and look to the heavens after the final out of the 2009 World Series.

And while it shouldn't have any bearing on his career, his extraordinary dedication to the game and his son, even during trying times, is the true testament of what Posada was as a player, and as a man.

He was full of, and the epitome of pride, grit and toughness. From his pine-tar covered helmet, his glove-less batting hands, his huge-rear-end that seemed to tug along while he ran, all the way to the simple custom of rubbing his hands in the dirt before every at-bat, Posada was just the blue-collar opposite to that of his star-studded teammates. 

And with career totals of a .273 BA, 275 HRs, 1065 RBIs, .375 SLG, and a .848 OPS that will be debated for the next five years until his time is called for a possible HOF induction, it's the intangible details of pride and grit that truly made Jorge Posada's career special. Hopefully, characteristics that will be remembered amongst voters.

Recently Read Posts

CM Punk's Return - Perfect Timing for the Symbol of Anti-WWE

Looooooooook in my eyes, what do you see?! The lyrics to Cult of Personality, especially that first bar,  never felt so fitting for CM Punk as it did last night.  For the most part, everything that is CM Punk's return to wrestling last night at AEW Rampage ties directly into my latest thoughts on pro wrestling - the company is making it must-see destination television, an element desperately needed from pro wrestling.  Last night was incredible as again, it was another moment that made wrestling feel alive - with a wild and energetic pulse. It was one of the coolest moments in pro wrestling that you knew was coming, expected, anticipated, and it was everything and more. Again, MUST-SEE television. That's hard to do.  For me, it wasn't just Punk's return to pro wrestling, but the mere presence and voice of his inclusion in today's space. We know that Punk can deliver on the microphone - probably his best and most signature attribute. We also know that yes, he can

Sunday Sundown Rundown - 11/21/21

3 Up 1. COVID Boosters - Look, I'm not getting into vaccinations and whatnot...I'm over the discussion for 2021. However, I still find it remarkable that we not only have vaccinations for what we experienced not too long ago, but further science to help the cause.  2. MLB Covers Minors Housing - This was a long time coming. Say what you want about the changes to the minor leagues (reduction of franchises - some even closing), but the improvement of the pipeline is soooooooooo crucial if the sport is serious about improving its diversity and inclusion efforts, as well as attracting (and competing for) top talent. Plus, it's just the right thing to do. 

Thanksgiving 2021: 5 Things I'm Thankful For

The season is upon us we all begin to reflect on the year, explore our deepest thoughts and feelings of gratitude, and express appreciation for the truer, more meaningful things in life.  I would be lying if I didn't admit that I am so incredibly excited for this holiday season. The combination of wanting the rest from what has been a demanding and exhausting semester (shout out to everyone in Student Affair realms and in Education around the country - hang in there), seeing these holidays through my son's eyes as he now understands and appreciates them, and my experiences over the last few years (losing my dad and the effects of the pandemic), all of it makes for an anticipated Holiday season - Thanksgiving included. I'm not quite sure what it is, or why the sudden feeling, but the need to express gratitude is even more abundant this year in my heart than it is has been. I have tried to remain more mindful over the last couple of months - being more present, spending energ

Sunday Sundown Rundown - 11/28/21

3 Up 1. Thanksgiving - A time for thanks, if nothing else, a restorative time away from work. Happy Thanksgiving to all, and be sure to give thanks and practice expressing gratitude.  Here are some quick thanks and thoughts from yours truly... 2. McMichael Trial Conviction - Is it weird that I feel relieved from this trial? Afterall, so many of these things go the other way. I could go on about how the state of Georgia didn't want to prosecute this case until it became a viral discussion, butttttttt, I'll just take this.  Really, I just hope this brings about some kind of peace for the parents of Ahmaud Arbery.