Jorge Posada has never spent a summer with his children. That’s what he’s most looking forward to now that he’s retired from baseball. Like everything else Posada said today at his press conference, the guy’s sincerity is never in doubt. Mental images of Jorge splashing about in the ocean with his kids fill my head as I write this.
It was a sad sad day for Yankee fans, some of whom were on hand for the press conference organized by the Yankees. The “Bleacher Creatures” who do roll call at the start of every game and other season ticket-holders were not only present, but featured in a video farewell. Thurman Munson’s widow, Diana, spoke, saying she was lucky she “loved two Yankee catchers in my life.” Also present were the Steinbrenners, Derek Jeter, and Mariano Rivera.
It wasn’t only about baseball, either: from Wisconsin came Lisa Niederer and her son Brett, who has craniosynostosis, a condition shared by Jorge Jr. for which the Posadas started a Foundation. Niederer said she found out about the group while watching the 2002 All-Star Game, when Jorge Jr. came out on the field with his father, and the announcers told his story. “It was the first time,” said Niederer, “I didn’t feel alone.” She now works with the foundation mentoring other parents of children with the condition. She called Posada “a hero, not just for what he did as a Yankee but what he’s done for craniosynostosis families.”
But the biggest tear-jerker of the day was Jorge himself, who choked up every time he referred to his Yankee “brothers” and the Yankee “brotherhood.” In response to the question of whether he’d play for another team — several have come calling — Posada said, choking on his words, “I can’t put on another uniform. I don’t have it in me.”
Posada caught for the Yankees for 17 years. At an early age he decided he wanted to play in the major leagues, and never doubted for a moment that he would. The only deviation from his plan was the catching part: the first time they decided to try him in that position, he said, “It wasn’t a pretty sight.” But gradually he came to love the challenge, and developed an identity so strongly tied to catching that last season, when told he’d be Designated Hitter and do no catching, it was “really tough…. I had to fight for my job.”
We all saw how Jorge suffered last season, some of us outraged by the way he was treated. So it was a surprise, to me at least, that retirement seems to be his own choice. At least, that’s how it looks—and like I said, it’s impossible to doubt anything he says.
My friend Nan, also a Yankee fanatic, is hoping Joe Torre, who just bought the Dodgers, will hire Jorge as a coach. I don’t see it happening, though; he’d have to wear a different uniform.
One time, during a baseball conversation with a few people in a bar, a guy I didn’t know pegged me as a typical “girl” who followed baseball just to ogle cute guys in tight uniforms. “Who’s your favorite player? he asked with a sneer, “Derek Jeter?” I retorted, with pride, “Jorge Posada!” Nobody can accuse me of liking Jorge for his looks : they’re nothing to write home about. But as Diana Munson put it, he has “The IT factor,” something inexplicable but there. I’m gonna miss ya like crazy, Jorge. Adios and vaya con dios.
- Jorge Posada Retires From Yankees (onlineupdaters.wordpress.com)
- Emotional Jorge Posada Says Goodbye To Yankees (preprod.cbslocal.com)
- Jorge Posada: I Will Forever Be A Yankee (tracking.si.com)