Buster Posey

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Buster Posey
Buster Posey (2011).jpg
Posey in April 2011 at Dodger Stadium
San Francisco Giants – No. 28
Catcher / First baseman
Born: (1987-03-27) March 27, 1987 (age 27)
Leesburg, Georgia
Bats: Right Throws: Right
MLB debut
September 11, 2009 for the San Francisco Giants
Career statistics
(through 2014 season)
Batting average .308
Hits 673
Home runs 83
Runs batted in 352
Slugging percentage .487
Runs 287
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Gerald Dempsey "Buster" Posey III[1] (born March 27, 1987) is an American professional baseball catcher and first baseman for the San Francisco Giants of Major League Baseball. He stands 6 feet 1 inch (1.85 m) tall and weighs 220 pounds (100 kg). He bats and throws right-handed.

Posey grew up in Leesburg, Georgia. He played four sports in high school; when playing baseball, he excelled at hitting and pitching. He attended Florida State University, where he began playing the catcher position. He won the Golden Spikes Award in 2008 and was selected by the Giants with the fifth overall pick in the 2008 Major League Baseball Draft. Posey made his major league debut on September 11, 2009. After beginning the 2010 season in the minor leagues, he was called back up to the major leagues in May. He played first base when he came up, but became the Giants' regular catcher at the end of June.

As a rookie, he finished with a .305 batting average, 18 home runs, and 67 runs batted in. He was named the National League (NL) Rookie of the Year. He caught every inning of the playoffs as the Giants won the 2010 World Series. In 2011, Posey missed most of the year after he was severely injured in a collision with Scott Cousins at home plate.

Posey returned from his injury in 2012 and posted a .336 batting average to win the 2012 NL batting title. He became the second San Francisco Giant to win the batting title and was named the NL Most Valuable Player for 2012. He won his second World Series that year as the Giants swept the Detroit Tigers in four games. On March 29, 2013, Posey signed a 9-year contract extension worth $167 million, a record in sum and in length for a player with his level of experience.[2] He won his third World Series the following year as the Giants defeated the Kansas City Royals.

Early years[edit]

Posey, the oldest of four children, was born to Gerald Dempsey "Buster" Posey II and Traci Posey on March 27, 1987, in Leesburg, Georgia.[3] His nickname, "Buster," came from his father's childhood nickname. He played football, soccer, and basketball growing up, but baseball was his main sport.[4] As a junior at Lee County High School, Posey pitched and played shortstop. That year he hit 9 doubles, 3 triples, and 7 home runs while setting school records for batting average (.544) and runs batted in (RBI) (46). His pitching achievements included a 10–1 record and a 1.53 earned run average (ERA). In his senior year, he batted .462 with 40 RBI while setting a school record with 14 home runs. In 13 starts as a pitcher that year, he had a 12–0 record with a 1.06 ERA and 108 strikeouts. Senior year he also played against Jason Heyward, losing the Georgia State Championship to Heyward's team.[citation needed]

After his senior season, Posey was named the Georgia Gatorade Player of the Year, the Louisville Slugger State Player of the Year, an EA Sports All-American, and a Baseball America All-American. Posey had a 3.94 grade point average in high school and graduated fourth in his class of 302 students. Although he was drafted in the 50th round of the 2005 Major League Baseball (MLB) Draft by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, he chose to enroll in college instead of signing a professional baseball contract.[3]

College career[edit]

Posey played college baseball for the Florida State Seminoles under coach Mike Martin. He played shortstop as a freshman at Florida State, starting all 65 games for the Seminoles. He was named a Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American. He finished his freshman season with a .346 batting average, four home runs and 48 RBI.[3] As a sophomore, Posey moved to the catcher position on the suggestion of assistant coach Mike Martin, Jr.[5] He batted .382 with three home runs and 65 RBI. After one season of playing the position, Posey finished second to Ed Easley in Johnny Bench Award voting.[6][7]

In 2008, as a junior, he hit .463 with 26 home runs and 93 RBI, won the Johnny Bench Award, and garnered the Collegiate Baseball Player of the Year award.[7][8] On May 12, he hit a grand slam and played all nine fielding positions in a 10–0 victory over Savannah State University; as a pitcher that day, he struck out both batters he faced.[9][10] Posey was awarded the Dick Howser Trophy and the Golden Spikes Award at the end of the year.[11][12]

During the college offseason, Posey started at shortstop for the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox in 2006 when they won the Cape Cod Baseball League championship. He started at catcher in 2007 when they won another championship.[13]

Professional career[edit]

Draft and minor leagues[edit]

Buster was considered by Baseball America to be the best catcher available in the 2008 Major League Baseball Draft.[14] He was drafted by the San Francisco Giants with the fifth overall pick.[15] On August 16, the Giants signed Posey shortly before the signing deadline for draftees, giving him a $6.2 million bonus, the largest up-front bonus in Giants' history.[16] Entering the 2009 season, Baseball America ranked him the number two prospect in the Giants' organization (behind Madison Bumgarner).[17] He was invited to the Giants' spring training in 2009. Following spring training, Posey was assigned to the Giants' Class A Advanced affiliate, the San Jose Giants of the California League.[18] In 80 games with San Jose, he batted .326 with 63 runs, 95 hits, 23 doubles, 13 home runs, and 58 RBI.[19]

On July 13, Posey was promoted to the Giants' Class AAA team, the Fresno Grizzlies of the Pacific Coast League.[20] In 35 games with Fresno, he batted .321 with 21 runs scored, 42 hits, eight doubles, five home runs, and 22 RBI.[19] Because of an injury to Giants starting catcher Bengie Molina, Posey was called up to the majors for the first time on September 2, 2009.[21] He made his major league debut on September 11, striking out in his first at bat against Hiroki Kuroda of the Los Angeles Dodgers.[22] Posey got his first major league hit on September 19 against Jeff Weaver of the Dodgers.[23] In 17 at-bats with the Giants in 2009, Posey had two hits.[24]

Coming into 2010, Baseball America ranked Posey as the top prospect in the Giants' organization.[25] After again appearing in the Giants' spring training camp,[26] Posey began the 2010 season at Fresno, batting .349 with 31 runs scored, 60 hits, 13 doubles, six home runs, and 32 RBI in 47 games.[19]

2010 (Rookie season)[edit]

Posey at the catcher position.

Posey was called up to the major leagues on May 29, 2010, and started at first base against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Posey drove in the first runs of his major league career, going three for four with three RBIs.[27] He appeared primarily at first base through the end of June. Posey hit his first career home run against Aaron Harang of the Cincinnati Reds on June 9.[28] Following Molina's trade to the Texas Rangers on June 30, Posey became the starting catcher for the Giants.[29][30]

Posey hit his first career grand slam against Chris Narveson of the Milwaukee Brewers on July 7, en route to a two-home run, four-hit, six-RBI night.[31] This was part of a ten-game streak from July 1 to July 10 during which he batted .514 with 19 hits, six home runs, and 13 RBI to set a National League (NL) record for rookies during any ten-day stretch according to the Elias Sports Bureau.[32] This performance also earned Posey the NL Player of the Week honors for the week of July 5–11, 2010.[33] On July 10, in a game against the Washington Nationals, he was inserted into the Giants' batting order as the clean-up hitter, which became his regular position in the lineup.[34] He had a 21-game hitting streak that started July 4 and ended July 29 when Aníbal Sánchez of the Florida Marlins threw a one-hitter against the Giants. During the streak, which fell one game short of tying the San Francisco Giants' rookie mark set by Willie McCovey and five short of the team record, Posey batted .440 with 37 hits, six home runs, and 23 RBI.[35][36] Posey was awarded both the NL Player of the Month and NL Rookie of the Month awards for his excellent July.[37]

On September 21, Posey hit an eighth-inning home run against Andrew Cashner of the Chicago Cubs to win the game, 1-0. He hit another eighth-inning home run against Luke Gregerson of the San Diego Padres in the final game of the year on October 3 as Giants secured the NL West Division championship by defeating the Padres 3-0.[38] In 108 games, Posey batted .305 with 58 runs scored, 124 hits, 23 doubles, 18 home runs, and 67 RBI.[24]

Posey was named the NL Rookie of the Year; Posey had 20 first place votes while second place finisher Jason Heyward had nine.[39] Posey was the sixth Giant to win the award, joining Willie Mays, Orlando Cepeda, Willie McCovey, Gary Matthews and John Montefusco. He was also the sixth catcher in NL history to win the award.[40] Posey was named by his peers as the NL Players Choice Awards Outstanding Rookie.[41] He was named the catcher on Baseball America's All-Rookie Team[42] and the 2010 Topps Major League Rookie All-Star Team.[43] He finished 11th in NL Most Valuable Player (MVP) voting.[44]

2010 Postseason[edit]

In the NL Division Series (NLDS) against the Atlanta Braves, Posey batted .375 as the Giants won the series in four games.[45] In Game 4 of the NL Championship Series (NLCS) against the Philadelphia Phillies, he became the first rookie to get four hits in an NLCS game as the Giants won 6–5.[46] He batted .217 with five hits and three RBI in the series as the Giants defeated the Phillies in six games.[45] In Game 4 of the World Series against the Texas Rangers, Posey and Madison Bumgarner formed the first rookie pitcher-catcher tandem in a World Series since Yogi Berra caught Spec Shea in Game 1 of the 1947 World Series. Posey hit his first postseason home run against Darren O'Day in the 4-0 victory, making him the fifth rookie catcher to hit a home run in the World Series.[47] The Giants won the series four games to one, giving Posey (who batted .300 with a home run and two RBI in the Series) his first World Series ring. Posey caught every inning of the playoffs for the Giants.[45]

2011[edit]

Posey set season highs with three hits and four RBI on April 6, 2011, including a two-run home run against Tim Stauffer in an 8–4 victory over the Padres.[48]

Injury[edit]

On May 25, during a game against the Florida Marlins, Posey was injured during a collision with Scott Cousins at home plate as Cousins scored the winning run in the 12th inning of a 7–6 Giants' loss. Posey suffered a fractured fibula and torn ligaments in his ankle, requiring season-ending surgery.[49][50] Cousins, who was not disciplined, said he hit Posey intentionally in order to score. "If you hit them, you punish them and you punish yourself, but you have a chance of that ball coming out."[51] He expressed regret over injuring Posey, saying "I certainly didn’t want him to get hurt."[52] Cousins received threats from fans, but Posey denounced them: "I appreciate the continued support of Giants fans and others as I begin the process of working my way back ... But in no way do I condone threats of any kind against Scott Cousins or his family. As I said last week, I'm not out to vilify Scott."[53] In 45 games, Posey batted .284 with 17 runs scored, 46 hits, five doubles, four home runs, and 21 RBI.[24]

2012 (MVP season)[edit]

Posey at bat

Posey started at catcher during Matt Cain's perfect game on June 13, 2012,[54] the 22nd in major league history.[55] He stated afterwards that the game had him feeling "as nervous as I've ever been on a baseball field."[56] He played in the 2012 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, his first, on July 10, going 0-2 with a walk and a run scored.[57] After batting .289 with 10 home runs and 43 RBI in 77 games before the All-Star break, Posey batted .385 with 14 home runs and 60 RBI in the final 71 games of the season.[58] On July 17, he had three hits and five RBI in a 9–0 victory over the Braves.[59] Four days later, he had four hits and three RBI, including a two-run home run against Cole Hamels in a 10-inning, 6–5 victory over the Phillies.[60] Two days later, he had three hits and four RBI, including a three-run home run against Clayton Richard in a 7–1 victory over the Padres.[61] He hit a game-winning three-run home run against Lance Lynn on August 7 in a 4–2 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals.[62] On September 17, he had three hits, including a game-winning two-run home run against Wade Miley in a 3–2 victory over the Diamondbacks.[63] In 148 games, Posey had 78 runs scored, 178 hits (tied for eighth in the NL with David Wright), 39 doubles (tied for eighth with Yonder Alonso), 24 home runs, and 103 RBI (sixth).[64]

Posey's teammate Melky Cabrera batted .346 in 2012, but he asked MLB to rule him ineligible for the batting title after receiving a 50-game suspension for raised testosterone levels.[65] As a result, Posey led both leagues in batting in 2012 with an average of .336, becoming the first catcher to lead the NL in hitting since Ernie Lombardi of the Boston Braves in 1942.[66] He also became only the second San Francisco Giant to win the batting title, following Barry Bonds in 2002 and 2004.[67] Posey's .433 batting average against left-handed pitching (71 for 164) led all batters in the major leagues in 2012.[68]

2012 Postseason[edit]

In Game 5 of the NLDS against the Reds on October 11, Posey hit a game-winning grand slam against Reds starter Mat Latos to help the Giants become the first NL team to win a Division Series after being down two games to none. Posey became just the third catcher in MLB history to hit a grand slam in the playoffs, along with Berra and Eddie Pérez.[69] He also completed a strikeout-throw out double play at third base in the sixth inning to help preserve the victory.[70] He batted .154 with four hits and one RBI in the NLCS as the Giants defeated the Cardinals in seven games.[45] He hit a two-run home run against Max Scherzer in Game 4 of the World Series as the Giants swept the Detroit Tigers, giving Posey his second World Series ring.[71]

After the season, the Baseball Writers' Association of America named Posey the NL MVP.[72] He won the Silver Slugger Award for the catcher position.[73] He won the NL Hank Aaron Award, and Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers won the American League (AL) award, marking the first time in history that World Series opponents won the award in the same year.[74] He was named the NL Comeback Player of the Year,[75] and he received the Willie Mac Award from the Giants' organization.[76]

Prior to the 2013 spring training season, Posey signed a one-year, $8 million contract with the Giants,[77] followed on March 29 by an eight-year extension worth $167 million, said by the Giants to be the most lucrative in franchise history. The contract wiped out three arbitration years for Posey, locked in his services and value through the 2021 season and provided the club with an option for 2022. The agreement was the second largest in major league history for a catcher, exceeded only by that of Joe Mauer in 2010 with the Minnesota Twins.[78]

2013[edit]

On July 1, 2013, Posey was named National League Player of the Week for the week of June 23-June 29. It was the second time Posey earned the award during his career, and the first since 2010. In six games Posey hit .500, to raise his average from .307 to .322, had an on-base percentage of .560, a slugging percentage of 1.182, stroked four home runs, and drove in six.[79]

On July 13, 2013, Posey caught Tim Lincecum's first no-hitter against the San Diego Padres. The no-hitter also marks the 15th ever in Giants history as well as the second performed in an away ballpark.

On July 16, 2013, Posey played in his second straight All-Star Game, striking out in his only at-bat.[80]

Posey's offense regressed in 2013 following his 2012 MVP season, especially in the second half of the season where he hit just 3 home runs. However, he still finished with a solid .294 batting average, 15 home runs and 72 runs batted in.[81]

2014[edit]

On July 13, 2014, Posey and pitcher Madison Bumgarner hit grand slam home runs against the Arizona Diamondbacks. It marked the first time in Major League Baseball history that a catcher and a pitcher hit grand slams in the same game.[82]

On August 29, 2014, in a 13–2 win over the Milwaukee Brewers at AT&T Park, Posey went 5-for-5 in 6 innings, and became the only catcher in Giants franchise history to have two career five-hit games.[83]

Personal life[edit]

Posey's younger sister, Samantha, played softball for Valdosta State University. On April 18, 2011, she hit a home run cycle in a doubleheader.[84]

Posey married his high school sweetheart, Kristen, in January 2009.[85] They had twins in 2011.[86] Posey lives with his family in the East Bay during the season, and they also have a home in Georgia during the off-season.

References[edit]

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  86. ^ "Buster Posey, wife Kristen celebrate birth of twins". Comcast SportsNet Bay Area. August 15, 2011. Retrieved August 15, 2011. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Baggarly, Andrew (2011). A Band of Misfits: Tales of the 2010 San Francisco Giants. Chicago: Triumph Books. ISBN 978-1-60078-598-6. 

External links[edit]