The New York Yankees have had five catchers who logged at least 1,000 games behind the plate. Three of them won Most Valuable Player Awards, two are in the Hall of Fame, and then there’s Jorge Posada. Never a superstar like teammate Derek Jeter, never a legend like Mariano Rivera, a pitcher whom he caught in many Yankee victories, but Posada was one of the most efficient players in franchise history. He was also beloved by Yankee fans.
Like longtime teammate Bernie Williams, Posada was a switch-hitter born in Puerto Rico, where he was originally a shortstop when he accepted a scholarship to play in the United States at a community college in Alabama. The Yankees plucked him in the 24th round of the 1990 Amateur Draft and switched him to catcher in his second pro season. With a wide body and reflexes of a middle infielder, Posada gradually took to his new position, and after three seasons at the Yankees top minor league team in Columbus he was ready to accept the challenge of the majors in 1997. Posada shared catching duties with Joe Girardi in his first three big league seasons, but his offensive production was soon too much to ignore. Posada was an All-Star for the first time in 2000 when he hit 28 homers and drove in 86 runs. He hit 20 homers or more eight times, and in 2003 he was third in AL MVP voting when he had a career high 30 homers and 101 RBI.
Posada became linked with Jeter, Rivera, Williams, and Andy Pettitte as homegrown Yankee stars in the 1990s and early 2000s, something that was new to the team after years of signing free agents to fill out their roster. “Georgie” as he was known to teammates and fans, was a tough player, sort of a throwback of sorts. throughout his career, he was one of the few players to not wear batting gloves. Posada delivered many clutch hits, gradually becoming a very tough out in the Yankee lineup. He earned the reputation of being a batter who fought off tough pitches. he led the major leagues with 20 pinch-hits in 2006.
In many ways, Posada seemed to get better with age. In 2007 at the age of 35 he hit a career-best .338 with 42 doubles, 20 homers, and 90 RBI. His efforts behind the dish and with the bat paid off for the Yankees – in 14 of his 15 seasons as a regular the Bombers advanced to the post-season. In fact, when he retired after the 2011 season, only teammate Derek Jeter had played in more post-season games than Jorge’s 125. In the post-season, Posada hit 11 homers and drove in 42 runs.
Most World Series Rings, Yankee Catchers
Yogi Berra … 10
Bill Dickey … 7
Jorge Posada … 4
Elston Howard … 4
Joe Girardi … 3
Thurman Munson … 2
Pat Collins … 2
Johnny Grabowski … 2
Yankee Catchers with 1,000 games caught
Bill Dickey … 1,709 games (Hall of Fame)
Yogi Berra … 1,694 games (Hall of Fame, 3x MVP)
Jorge Posada … 1,574 games
Thurman Munson … 1,279 (MVP)
Elston Howard … 1,030 (MVP)