With Jorge Posada set to retire today, I feel as if I should somehow contribute to the ensuing media blitz. I am not going to extoll all his virtues and faults, or make a case for his election to the Hall of Fame; thousands of other people are doing just that.
My obsession with Posada started back in elementary school. I had a small group of friends that bonded over our mutual affection for the Yankees. We decided to form a club (that was the cool thing to do back then), and each of us chose a player to represent ourselves. I, of course chose number 20- Jorge, or “Georgie”. It seemed the obvious choice. Not Jeter, though he was up there on my list of favorites. Not Pettite or Mo Rivera, my favorite pitchers. Perhaps I had a thing for catchers? Before Jorge, my favorite player was Joe Girardi, and when Posada began to take over his position I resented it. Then one day (I was 10 at the time) while watching a baseball game I announced to my brother that Posada was now my favorite player. And from then on, he was.
Posada represents everything I love about baseball. He was never the best player on the team, but he was the best team player. I always believed he could do anything. He worked hard, hustled and respected the baseball tradition. And occasionally he would do something amazing, which would only affirm my decision.
Baseball has always been the one constant in my life. When everything else is crazy and hectic, baseball is the best distraction. It saddens me to think that the game is changing. The players that made up the Yankees when my club was formed have mostly retired or moved on to other teams. Bernie Williams, Tino Martinez, Paul O’Neill… years from now they will still be the team I remember. Andy Pettitte was on the mound for the first game I ever attended. Mariano was the closer that day. It’s hard to imagine a team without Jorge Posada somewhere in the mix, and I hope he rejoins the Yankees in some capacity- perhaps as a coach or manager.
There will always be new favorite Yankees (Cano, Gardener…), but Jorge Posada will forever hold that number one spot.