NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) — After 17 seasons in pinstripes, Jorge Posada said goodbye to baseball Tuesday morning.
With Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera in attendance, the Bombers’ longtime catcher and DH announced his retirement during an 11 a.m. press conference at Yankee Stadium.
Posada began by quoting Joe DiMaggio: “I want to thank the good Lord for making me a Yankee.”
The five-time All-Star catcher ended his career with the team that drafted him rather than attempting to play elsewhere.
1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa reports
WFAN’s Sweeny Murti first reported Posada’s plans two weeks ago.
“Today’s a very emotional day for me,” Posada said. “Ever since I was a little kid, all I wanted to do was become a major leaguer.”
Posada joins Bernie Williams and Andy Pettitte in retirement, leaving only Jeter and Rivera from the core group that led the Yankees to four World Series titles in five years from 1996-2000.
Diana Munson, the widow of former Yankees captain Thurman Munson, was among those who made the trip for Posada’s retirement. She spoke about how Posada helped revive her interest in baseball, which had disappeared after her husband’s death.
“I’m so honored to have loved two Yankee catchers in my life,” Munson said.
All five World Series trophies from Posada’s career were on display to his right, and the marquee outside Yankee Stadium read “Thank You, Jorge.”
Posada became a free agent after a trying season in New York, the final year of a four-year, $52 million contract.
“It’s been an honor,” said a teary-eyed Posada. “I could never wear another uniform. … I will forever be a Yankee.”
Posada’s voice broke up, especially when he spoke in Spanish. He thanked a number of current Yankees, rubbing his chin three times and wiping his eyes.
“I also want to thank my teammates,” Posada said while struggling to maintain his composure. “Especially Derek Jeter, who helped me stay focused and positive. Hopefully you won’t miss me that much. Mariano Rivera, my brother. I couldn’t have done any of this without you.”
Posada said he made the decision to retire during last season, which turned tumultuous May 14 when he was dropped to No. 9 in the batting order against Boston. He asked to be taken out of the lineup, saying he wasn’t ready to play.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi and GM Brian Cashman said that was just a blip in his career — part of Posada’s fiery nature, the one that drew fans to him. Jeter said that emotion can’t be faked, that it comes from a drive to win.
“I feel the same way,” Jeter said. “I’m just better at hiding it.”
Jeter and Rivera talked about how their days for retirement would come.
“Mo’s going to be here longer than all of us,” Jeter said.
Posada finishes with a .273 career batting average, 275 home runs and 1,065 RBIs.
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