Jorge Posada officially announced his retirement Tuesday, reading an emotional statement to a crowded Yankee Stadium press conference room:
Among the surprise attendees was Diana Munson, widow of Yankee great Thurman Munson. She addressed the special bond she felt watching Jorge Posada share her husband’s position over the years:
Posada’s heart is what fans loved on the field, but it was also on display off the field, and his story has long included his son Jorge Jr.’s battle with craniosynostosis. Lisa Niederer came from Wisconsin to talk about the connection to Jorge through her son Brett, also suffering from the same affliction:
Posada said later that he had made up his mind during the season and informed his wife Laura and his best friend Derek that he was going to retire at season’s end. Posada made clear on Tuesday that he didn’t want to be a guy who finished his career in a strange uniform, even for one second. Two of the special moments of 2011 were Derek Jeter’s 3000th hit and Mariano Rivera’s record-breaking 602nd save, Posada was thrilled to a part of both of those magnificent achievements.
Posada’s Hall of Fame candidacy is for another day, and even he said it was something that we could talk about five years from now when he is first eligible. For now, it is worth noting that Posada is one of only five catchers in baseball history to compile at least 350 doubles, 250 home runs, and 1000 RBIs. Ivan Rodriguez will certainly be a Hall of Famer, and the other three (Carlton Fisk, Johnny Bench, and Gary Carter) already are.
This is not to say Posada is a no-doubt Hall of Famer. It simply means there is no denying he is in the discussion. And that’s not bad.
Some quotes regarding Jorge Posada upon his retirement:
“I know how much he cares and that’s what people are going to miss. That’s what fans are going to miss. You can’t fake it. Someone had asked why you think the fans appreciate him so much. Because he cared about winning. He cared about doing his job.” —Derek Jeter
“It was a privilege to play with him…having him as a catcher, knowing me for so many years, to me that was kind of an advantage…it was a great relationship.” —Mariano Rivera
“I was honored to take the field with him every day for so many years, and I cherish all the memories we have together, topped off by those World Series championships. Frankly, I can’t believe that ‘Jorgito’ is actually announcing his retirement before I do. Seriously, I wish him, Laura, and the kids happiness and success in their future.” —Bernie Williams
“The intensity that he brought on a daily basis to the field was just amazing to watch. He was a wonderful teammate — one of the greatest teammates I’ve ever played with — and a great friend and a great person.” —Andy Pettitte
“The way he prepared every single day assured that he became the best player he could possibly be. He’s going to go down as one of the greatest all-time Yankees.” —Tino Martinez
“He was tough, durable and the little things just didn’t bother
him. He was a lot like Thurman [Munson] in that way.” —Gene Michael
“Jorge Posada has been a winner during the season, the postseason and in the clubhouse. He is a loyal and devoted Yankee and is a champion in the game of life. I will always treasure the time I spent with him.” —Joe Torre
“After hundreds of head-to-head games during the regular season and the postseason, I can’t say I respect and admire anyone at our position more than I do Jorge. The hard work and preparation he put into catching is a huge reason he has five championships on his resume. He is a true grinder.” —Jason Varitek
“Jorge was one of my most favorite teammates of all time. He was into winning. He was mentally tough, physically tough, and he was never scared. It means a lot that he is retiring as a Yankee. As the seasons go on, I think people will realize how important he was to the team, and how big a role he played in the Yankees’ success over the years.” —Paul O’Neill