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January 25, 2012: Jorge Posada Announces His Retirement

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    January 25, 2012: Jorge Posada Announces His Retirement


    January 25, 2012 "Five-time All-Star Jorge Posada catcher (.273, 275, 1,065) at an SRO Yankee Stadium news conference announces his retirement after 17 major league seasons. The 40-year-old backstop joins Bernie Williams and Andy Pettitte in retirement, leaving Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera as the remaining core players that led the Bronx Bombers to four World Series titles in five years."

    Jorge Posada's retirement speech

    Jorge Posada Day


    A Bittersweet Day in Yankee Stadium; Jorge Posada Announces Retirement
    Excerpts from the article:

    "Bronx, NY—In front of the largest crowd ever assembled in the Press Conference Room at Yankee Stadium, Jorge Posada emotionally announced the end of his career as a major league baseball player. After 17 years of wearing the Yankees pinstripes, Posada decided to end his playing days never having worn the uniform of another big league club."

    "The importance of the event to the organization was reflected by the number of its people who attended the conference. The top brass of the franchise, Hal and his sister, Jennifer Steinbrenner, Lonn Trost, Randy Levine, Brian Cashman and Jean Afternan, several teammates including Posada’s best friend, Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, CC Sabathia, former Yankees players Willie Randolph and Gene Michael were all present to show their respect and support of the Yankees 17 year stalwart."

    "At the dais with Posada were his wife, Laura, and his son and daughter. Posada began his statement with a litany of thanks to those who made his career with the Yankees a reality. When speaking of his parents and sister, Posada chocked up with emotion. He did so again when he thanked his teammates."

    "The words of gratitude expressed by Posada were given to all he felt were responsible for his strength and his accomplishments. His biggest inspiration was his father, “I wouldn’t be here without him.” Of Derek Jeter, he said, “[He] made me stay focused and positive.” He told the group of season ticketholders who were present in the room to represent the fans, “You kept me going when I needed it the most.”

    "Posada spoke of his reasons for terminating his playing career at this time, “I’m tired. It’s a long season. I didn’t want to go through it [preparation for the season] anymore.” He explained that being behind the plate or batting solely as designated hitter was not the cause of terminating his career. He told several close to him last year that he planned for 2011 to be his final season. When asked if he thought he would, at some point, change his mind regarding retirement, he explained, “I don’t see myself coming back.”

    "Posada, by retiring, also ended any opportunity to play for another big league team. Of his everlasting ties to the Yankee organization, Posada stated, “I had the idea to go play somewhere else, but I knew, in my heart and in my head, I wouldn’t. I could never wear another uniform. I will forever be a Yankee.”

    "The emotional backstop has been in the Yankees organization since being drafted in 1990 while a teenage student at Calhoun Community College in Alabama. He met Core Four members Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte in 1991 and Derek Jeter in 1992 when all were Yankees minor leaguers. Of the bond between the four, Posada explained, “We grew up together. They’re like brothers.”

    "Since his childhood in his native Puerto Rico, Posada loved baseball and has been committed to participating in the sport as his career. Nothing discouraged him from achieving his goal, “I always thought I would make it [to the major leagues] as a kid and in the minors.”

    "Posada looked back in time to recount the moments that were most memorable to him. On a positive note, he listed first coming to the team during the 1995 season, catching the Perfect Game pitched by David Wells in 1998 and the moment of victory at the conclusion of the 1999 World Series."

    "There are negative moments in everyone’s life and career. Posada cited allowing three passed balls in a minor league game, early in his days as a catcher in 1991 and attempting to come back after an ankle injury in 1994."

    "Posada did not speak of any future job endeavors he was looking toward in the future. His only immediate concern was being able to spend more time with his wife and children, “I have no plans. I’ll rest and enjoy the summer with my children.”

    "A mother with her son beside her spoke of the importance of the work done by Jorge and Laura Posada through their foundation, Jorge Posada Foundation, for families with children with craniosynostosis, the birth defect diagnosed in their son when he was 10 days old."

    The Posada Adventure
    How Jorge Posada went from a too slow infielder to a starring role behind the plate for the Yankees
    Excerpts from the article:

    "Posada, "If I get up at four o'clock in the morning to go to the bathroom, that's what I'm thinking about--catching. Sometimes I'll take a nap in the afternoon. I swear, I'm more rested after napping for an hour, hour and a half, than I am after a full night of sleep. I can't let go of the game easily. I take it home."

    "As a 24th-round draft pick in 1990 Posada was such an uncertain prospect that he signed with the Yankees only after his father had extracted a promise from New York not to cut him in his first three seasons in the farm system. Posada was a second baseman during his first minor league season, and his successful conversion from that position to catcher is thought by many baseball people to be unprecedented in recent memory. As if to heighten the difficulty of his journey, Posada survived a hideous home plate collision in 1994 in which he broke his left leg and dislocated his left ankle while playing for the Triple A Columbus Clippers. He also survived a three-year apprenticeship, from '97 through '99, behind Yankees catcher Joe Girardi and a humiliating defensive slump in '99 that prompted owner George Steinbrenner to order him to get his eyes checked. His vision was fine."

    "Nothing, though, tested Posada as harshly as the events of last Aug. 2, when he sat in his and Laura's apartment on Manhattan's East Side, having been secretly excused by manager Joe Torre from a game that day, while his eight-month-old son, Jorge Jr., lay on an operating table at a nearby hospital for eight hours. To correct a congenital condition known as craniosynostosis, in which the plates of the skull prematurely knit and cause the growing head to become misshapen, surgeons had to cut open Jorge Jr.'s head from ear to ear. While hospital officials gave the Posadas hourly updates by telephone, surgeons removed Jorge Jr.'s skull piece by piece and placed the parts on a table like a jigsaw puzzle. After breaking some cranial pieces apart to allow for normal brain and head growth, they rebuilt the skull and sewed up Jorge Jr."

    "As his parents stood over his bed two days later, little Jorge opened his eyes for the first time since the operation and a day earlier than doctors thought he would be coherent. He let out a little grunt. He would be fine. His father, having staggered through a 1-for-15 slump before and immediately after the surgery, broke free with four hits that night and two home runs the next afternoon. "I grew up real fast last year," he says. "Baseball always was everything to me. Don't get me wrong, it's still very important. But now I look at it in a different way. You gain perspective."

    "Posada hit .235 at Class A Oneonta in 1991 and led New York-Penn League second basemen in double plays. It was after that season, in the Fall Instructional League, that the Yankees moved him to catcher, mostly because he lacked a middle infielder's speed. "If I hadn't been switched, I'd probably be working some job in Puerto Rico right now," Posada says. "I'd have been one of those guys who was out of baseball after two or three years."

    "Posada needed seasoning--he turned 26 in his first full year in the big leagues, 1997, and even then appeared in only 60 games--but other organizations noticed his skills. The Seattle Mariners asked for Posada in a trade as far back as '95, in the five-player deal in which New York obtained first baseman Tino Martinez. The Montreal Expos twice tried to get him in '97 while shopping Mike Lansing and Pedro Martinez. The Texas Rangers asked for him in 1998 while exploring the possibility of trading Ivan Rodriguez. The Florida Marlins asked for Posada twice that year while attempting to deal first Mike Piazza and later Luis Castillo. The Yankees refused to trade him.

    "He's a high on-base percentage guy [his combined career on-base and slugging percentages, .839, exceeds Ivan Rodriguez's .822], and I always liked having lefthanded bats in Yankee Stadium," says Yankees scout Gene Michael. "I thought he could have been the regular catcher earlier, but the pitchers expressed a desire to pitch to Joe Girardi. They just didn't know Jorge."

    "Then, in something of a graduation ceremony, Torre started Posada, not Girardi, with Clemens pitching in the clinching game of the 1999 World Series, a 4-1 victory over the Atlanta Braves in which Clemens threw 7 2/3 innings of one-run ball. "We had no doubts Jorge was ready," general manager Brian Cashman says."

    Jorge Posada
    Excerpts from the article:

    "In major-league baseball when a team dominates its opponents for several years, it’s usually because it has a solid nucleus of players. For instance, in the early 1970s in the American League the Oakland Athletics captured three successive World Series. In the National League the Cincinnati Reds were a powerhouse. Both clubs had a strong nucleus of players who produced season after season."

    "The same could be said for the New York Yankees from 1996 to 2011. The Yankees were in the playoffs in 15 of those 16 seasons and won five World Series. At the heart of those Yankee teams were four players, Derek Jeter, shortstop; Andy Pettitte, pitcher (though he spent 2004 through 2006 pitching for Houston); Mariano Rivera, relief pitcher; and Jorge Posada, catcher."

    "Posada had an illustrious 17-year career with New York, 1995-2011. He was an the All-Star five times, won the Silver Slugger Award five times, and played on five World Series champions. During the catcher’s career, he batted .273, hit 275 home runs, and drove in 1,065 runs."

    "In 2003 Posada finished third in voting for the American League Most Valuable Player Award after hitting 30 home runs, batting .281, and posting 101 RBIs. Aside from Yogi Berra, he was only the second Yankee catcher to hit 30 home runs in a season. Posada’s best season was 2007, when he hit .338 and batted in 90 runs at the age of 35."

    "The switch-hitter was only the fifth major-league catcher with at least 1,500 hits, 350 doubles, 275 homers, and 1,000 RBIs. He produced more RBIs and home runs than any other catcher in baseball from 2000 to 2011."

    "“Winning is such a fragile thing,” Posada wrote. “If you take away any element that supports it, it falls to the ground and shatters.”

    "...Posada expressed bitterness about his retirement. But he said that the Yankee organization was good to him after he retired. At the home opener in 2012, the club asked him to throw out the opening pitch. He did so in front of 50,000 fans, and his father, who had ridden him hard as a child, caught it."

    “In that moment things were back to how they had been,” he wrote. “Just my dad and me, tossing a ball around, both of us sharing a dream.”

    "On January 21, 2000, Posada married Laura Mendez, an attorney, whom he had met three years earlier. They have has two children, Jorge Jr. and Paulina. Their son was born with craniosynostosis, a birth defect in which the plates of the skull fuse together to impede the growth of the brain, and which has required numerous surgeries."

    T"he Posadas established the Jorge Posada Foundation to further research into the condition and provide emotional assistance to families with children affected by it. It also provides grants to help underwrite the costs of initial surgeries. Statistics show that one in 2,000 babies is born with this condition."

    "In 2006 Posada wrote Play Ball!, a children’s book. He was honored with the Mentor of the Year Award from Kids in Distressed Situations and Fashion Delivers. The couple co-wrote Fit Home Team, a family-health manual. They also wrote The Beauty of Love: A Memoir of Miracles, Hope, and Healing. The book describes their personal ordeals, and how they handled them after learning about their son’s condition. They received the Puerto Rican Family Foundation Excellence Award for their commitment to children, especially those affected by craniosynostosis. In 2007 Posada received the Parent Magazine Award."

    The Art of Catching
    Excerpts from the article:

    "Yogi Berra sat down right next to me on the bench. He had his pinstripes on, of course. It was a sunny day in Bradenton during spring training in ‘98. Not a cloud in the sky. We were between innings. This was always my favorite time of the year."

    "Yogi used to sit in the same spot and talk to the fans in the front row. He loved that. He was always trying to make people smile. They actually installed a big net right in front of his spot so he wouldn’t get hit with a foul ball while he was chatting with the fans."

    "So he sat down next to me, and we started watching one of the pitchers warm up. In Yogi’s day, they didn’t have all the advanced analytics that we have now. They didn’t even have computers. So I wanted to know how he scouted opposing pitchers. How did he prepare back then?"

    "I said, “Yogi, how did you know what the guy wanted to throw?”

    “Well,” he said, “I looked at what pitches he was throwing.”

    "I said, “… Yeah?”

    "But that was it. Yogi just kind of shrugged."

    "I said, “Yogi, what do you mean?”

    “Well, when he’s warming up between innings, what’s he throwing?” Yogi said. “If he’s throwing curveballs and fastballs, those are his pitches. I eliminate everything else from my head. Why would I be thinking about his changeup? He’s telling me what he’s going to throw today.”

    "I thought about the thick book full of scouting reports we got before a series on a pitcher’s tendencies and sequences. I thought about how much information was going through my head when I stepped to the plate."

    “Curveball, fastball,” Yogi said, smiling. “He’s tellin’ ya.”

    "That stuck with me for the rest of my career."

    "Yogi was telling me to keep it simple. Now the game is so dissected and there’s so much information available to you that it’s easy to become overwhelmed. This was especially true for me. See, I didn’t start out as a catcher. I was a second baseman for most of my life, and there were a lot of doubts when I was coming up in the minors. I was following in the footsteps of legends like Yogi and Thurman Munson. Was this kid from Puerto Rico really up to it?"

    " 1998, I was working out in the tiny gym at Fenway Park that both teams shared when I saw this framed picture on the bulletin board. It was a quote from Thurman Munson, who died in a plane crash during the 1979 season. (I have no idea why there was a quote from a Yankee hanging in the Red Sox’ gym.)"

    “I like hitting fourth and I like the good batting average. But what I do every day behind the plate is a lot more important because it touches so many more people and so many more aspects of the game.” [- Thurman Munson]

    "I loved the quote so much that I asked the personal trainer in Boston to make a copy for me, and I put it up in my locker at Yankee Stadium."

    "I know Mariano Rivera like he’s my brother. I would set up behind the plate, and I knew exactly where he wanted to throw the ball in every situation. It was that kind of relationship. I was reading his mind."

    "Mariano, mentally, was above any pitcher I knew. You would go to the mound, and he would just say, “Let’s go.” He already knew what he was going to do, and he had the pinpoint control to do it. It was ridiculous. Derek Jeter used to say he had Jedi powers."

    "Thurman’s widow, Diana, was a big supporter of our team. About a year after I put her husband’s quote up in my locker, Diana found out about it and came up to me at Old-Timers’ Day. She said that for a long time it was too painful for her to watch baseball, but she started following the Yankees again because I reminded her so much of Thurman. Those were the best words anyone could say to me."

    "Thurman’s words had come full circle."

    “… what I do every day behind the plate is a lot more important because it touches so many more people.”

    Yankeeography: Jorge Posada

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    Yankees legend Jorge Posada, wife bring much-needed aid to Puerto Rico

    "The Yankee is one who, if he once gets his teeth set on a thing, all creation can't make him let go." Ralph Waldo Emerson