August 17, 1971 |
Santurce, Puerto Rico
|Batted: Switch||Threw: Right|
|September 4, 1995 for the New York Yankees|
|Last MLB appearance|
|September 28, 2011 for the New York Yankees|
|Runs batted in||1,065|
|Career highlights and awards|
Jorge Rafael Posada Villeta (born August 17, 1971) is a retired Puerto Rican baseball catcher who played 17 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the New York Yankees. Posada produced strong offensive numbers for his position, recording a .273 batting average, 275 home runs, and 1,065 runs batted in (RBIs) during his career. A switch hitter, Posada was a five-time All-Star, won five Silver Slugger Awards, and was on the roster for four World Series championship teams.
Drafted by the Yankees in 1990, Posada was originally an infielder before moving to catcher during his minor league career. He debuted in the major leagues in 1995, but it was not until 1998 that he found regular playing time. A solid-hitting catcher, Posada established himself as a mainstay in the Yankees lineup and as one of the "Core Four" players who contributed to the Yankees' winning seasons. In 2003, he finished third in voting for the American League (AL) Most Valuable Player (MVP) Award and became only the second Yankees catcher after Yogi Berra to hit 30 home runs in a season. Posada added one of his best seasons in 2007 at age 35 when he batted .338. Following a stint as designated hitter in 2011, he retired.
Posada is only the fifth MLB catcher with at least 1,500 hits, 350 doubles, 275 home runs, and 1,000 RBIs in a career. From 2000 to 2011, he compiled more RBIs and home runs than any other catcher in baseball. He is the only MLB catcher to ever bat .330 or better with 40 doubles, 20 home runs, and 90 RBIs in a single season. Away from baseball, Posada is the founder of the Jorge Posada Foundation, which is involved with research for craniosynostosis, a disease that impacts his son.
Early life and education 
Posada was born in Santurce, Puerto Rico to a Cuban father and Puerto Rican mother. He attended Alejandrino High School in San Juan, where he participated in basketball, volleyball, track, and baseball. He also umpired for the girl's softball team. As a baseball player in high school, he was named an All-Star player at shortstop in the 1988–89 season.
As Posada's SAT scores were not high enough for him to enroll in a four-year college, Fred Frickie, the head coach of the college baseball team at Calhoun Community College in Decatur, Alabama in 1991, recruited Posada without scouting him, based on the advice of other coaches. Posada accepted the scholarship at Calhoun without visiting the school, and found himself the victim of racism: as he did not speak English, he fought with teammates who he perceived as insulting. He was voted best hitter (1990), co-captain (1991), and selected all-conference (1991). He was inducted in the Alabama Community College Athletic Hall of Fame in 2006 and Calhoun retired his number (#6).
Professional career 
Draft and minor leagues 
Posada was drafted by the Yankees in the 24th round of the 1990 Major League Baseball Draft as an infielder. Yankees scout Leon Wurth followed Posada as he played for Calhoun, and rated his bat and attitude highly. Posada signed with the Yankees for a signing bonus close to $30,000 only after his father extracted a promise from the Yankees that they would not release him during his first three professional seasons.
Posada played second base during his first minor league season with the Oneonta Yankees in the Class A-Short Season New York-Penn League, in which he had a .235 batting average and four home runs in 71 games played. As the Yankees felt that Posada lacked the speed to remain an infielder, they began to transition Posada into a catcher in 1992. That year, he played for the Greensboro Hornets of the Class A South Atlantic League. Though Posada initially resisted the position change, as he didn't feel able to catch full-time, he agreed, and finished the season with a .277 batting average.
A full-time catcher in 1993, Posada played for the Prince William Cannons of the Class A-Advanced Carolina League and the Albany-Colonie Yankees of the Class AA Eastern League that season. He earned Carolina League mid-season and post-season All-Star honors.
While playing for the Columbus Clippers of the Class AAA International League in 1994, Posada suffered a home plate collision in which he broke his left leg and dislocated his left ankle. After recovering from the injury, Posada played for the Clippers for the majority of the 1995 and 1996 seasons, batting .271 in 1996. He appeared in the 1996 Triple-A All-Star Game.
New York Yankees 
Posada made his MLB debut with the Yankees in 1995, replacing Jim Leyritz in the ninth inning of a game on September 4. Despite his appearing in only one game during the regular season, the Yankees included Posada on their postseason roster, and he appeared in Game 2 of the 1995 American League Division Series as a pinch runner, scoring a run.
Posada began the 1996 season with Columbus, but was promoted to the Yankees late in the season. He appeared in eight games, making his first start on September 25, but he was not added to the postseason roster. Posada succeeded Leyritz in 1997 as the backup catcher to Joe Girardi, with Girardi serving as a mentor to Posada. Posada was expected to appear in approximately 40 games in 1997; he started in 52. The Yankees lost in the 1997 American League Division Series to the Cleveland Indians. After the 1997 season, the Yankees offered Posada and Mike Lowell to the Montreal Expos for Pedro Martínez; the Expos traded Martínez to the Boston Red Sox, instead.
Going into the 1998 season, Posada pushed for more playing time. Posada caught David Wells' perfect game on May 17, 1998. Overall, Posada batted .268 with 17 homers and 63 runs batted in over 111 games in the 1998 season. The Yankees won the 1998 World Series.
The Yankees renewed Posada's contract for $350,000 for the 1999 season, less than the $650,000 he asked for. Posada and Girardi continued to split playing time for the Yankees through the 1999 season, with Posada receiving "roughly 60 percent of the playing time behind the plate to Girardi's 40 percent." In 1999, Posada batted .245 and committed 17 passed balls. During the 1999 season, Posada played in 112 games with 379 at-bats, while Girardi played in 65 games with 209 at-bats. While Girardi began the 1999 postseason as the regular catcher, Posada saw increased playing time. The Yankees won the 1999 World Series.
Girardi left the Yankees as a free agent after the 1999 season to become a full-time catcher with the Chicago Cubs, which allowed Posada to become the Yankees' full-time catcher. With Girardi gone, the Yankees entrusted Posada with the everyday catching job.
Posada won the Silver Slugger Award for catcher in 2000, as the Yankees defeated the New York Mets in the 2000 World Series. He won his second consecutive Silver Slugger Award in 2001, though the Yankees lost to the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 2001 World Series.
Posada started the All-Star game at catcher in 2002 and won the Silver Slugger Award for a third consecutive season. He again started at catcher in the 2003 All-Star Game, and won his fourth consecutive Silver Slugger Award. In 2003, he hit 30 home runs (one every 16.0 at bats, ninth best in the league) and drove in 101 runs, both career highs. He batted .281 and was also fifth in the league in OBP (.405), and sixth in the league in walks (93; walking 17.5% of the time, a career high). He tied Yogi Berra’s record for most home runs by a Yankee catcher and finished third in the MVP voting. The Yankees lost to the Florida Marlins in the 2003 World Series.
In 2006, Posada posted his highest batting average and home run total since 2003. He also led the major leagues with 20 pinch hits. In addition, work with new first base coach Tony Peña, a former catcher, helped him improve his percentage of runners thrown out stealing second almost 60 points above his career average. He batted (.277) and had 23 home runs with 93 RBIs. On May 16, Posada led the Yankees to a victory despite falling behind by nine runs, matching the largest deficit the Yankees overcame for a victory in franchise history. He registered a +0.93 win probability added in that game, the highest of his career.
Posada batted .338, with 20 home runs, 90 RBIs, and career highs in hits (171) and doubles (42) in 2007. He joined Iván Rodríguez as the only two catchers in MLB history to record at least 40 doubles in two separate seasons. He was 3rd in the AL in on-base percentage (.426), 4th in batting average, 6th in on-base plus slugging percentage (OPS) (.970), and 8th in doubles and slugging percentage (.543). Posada batted .395 in September, and became the first Yankee catcher since Thurman Munson, in 1978, to finish among the top 10 AL batting leaders. His longest hitless streak was only 11 at-bats. Posada is the first catcher to hit .330 or better with a slugging percentage of at least .540 and an on-base percentage of at least .420 since Mike Piazza in 1996–97. On the final day of the 2007 regular season, Yankees manager Joe Torre allowed Posada to act as the manager for the game, an honor that Torre traditionally bestowed upon a veteran player if the final game does not matter in the standings. The Yankees beat the Baltimore Orioles 10–4 to give Posada an unofficial win in his 'managerial debut'. He finished 6th in MVP voting for the season.
On July 21, 2008, Posada was placed on the disabled list (DL), the first time he was placed on the DL in his career. Posada intended to recover from this injury in order to perform as designated hitter or first baseman. However, the team decided to acquire Xavier Nady, in order to allow him enough time to operate. On July 28, 2008, Yankees officially announced that Posada would undergo surgery to repair a glenoid labrum in his right shoulder and was placed on injured reserve for the 2008 season. During his absence, the Yankees complied with a 89-73 record (3rd in AL East). It was the first and only season the Yankees were eliminated from postseason contention during Posada's career.
On April 16, 2009, in the bottom of the 5th inning, he hit the first regular season home run in the new Yankee Stadium against Cliff Lee of the Cleveland Indians. During a game against the Toronto Blue Jays on September 15, 2009, Posada took exception of a pitch that was thrown behind him by Jesse Carlson. Posada would eventually walk and score after an RBI single by Brett Gardner. After Posada crossed home plate, he bumped into Carlson and was then ejected after taunting Carlson. Posada then charged at Carlson igniting a bench-clearing brawl. Posada and Carlson were each suspended 3 games by the MLB for their roles in the brawl. Posada finished the 2009 season with a .285 batting average, 22 home runs, and 81 RBI. During the 2009 postseason, Posada had a .276 batting average and 1 home run. The Yankees eventually won the 2009 World Series against the Philadelphia Phillies.
In an interleague series against the Houston Astros in June 2010, Posada became the first Yankee since Bill Dickey in 1937 to hit a grand slam in back-to-back games. On July 23, 2010, Posada got his 1,000th career RBI against the Kansas City Royals.
Following the 2010 season, Posada underwent arthroscopic surgery in his left knee to repair a torn meniscus. Posada was shifted to designated hitter for the 2011 season due to his declining defensive performance, while Russell Martin became the new everyday catcher. After starting the 2011 season in a slump, Posada was moved to ninth in the batting order for a May 14 game against the Boston Red Sox. Posada asked to be removed from the lineup. Posada told reporters that he needed time to "clear [his] head" and also mentioned some "stiffness" in his back as the reasons for his request.
Posada hit .382 in June, but was removed from the everyday lineup in August due to his .230 season batting average. On August 13, 2011, his first start since the benching, in a game against the Tampa Bay Rays, Posada went 3 for 5 with a grand slam and six RBIs. His grand slam was the tenth of his career, moving him past Yogi Berra and Mickey Mantle for sixth place on the Yankees' all-time list. On August 25, 2011, he played second base for the first time in his Major League career during the ninth inning of the Yankees' 3-grand slam 22-9 victory over the Oakland Athletics; Posada recorded the final out by fielding a grounder. On September 10, 2011, Posada played as a catcher for the first time of the season due to injuries of Russel Martin and Francisco Cervelli. Posada finished the regular season with a .235 batting average, 14 home runs, and 44 RBI.
In the 2011 American League Division Series, Posada got six hits (including a triple), four runs, and four walks in 14 at-bats as the starting DH for a .429 batting average and a .579 on-base percentage. The Yankees eventually lost the ALDS to the Detroit Tigers in 5 games.
When asked by reporters after the 2011 ALDS if he had considered the fact he might have played for the final time with the Yankees, Posada said, "I don't want to look at it like that. We lost, and we'll see what happens in the off-season." As the interview session went on, he eventually became emotional and left the clubhouse area to compose himself. Girardi said, "This guy, when you look at what he did in this series, he was awesome. He's had a tremendous career, and I'm sure he's going to continue to play, and I don't know what's going to happen." Girardi added, "But you talk about being proud of players — what he went through this year and what he gave us in the postseason, I don't think there's a prouder moment that I've had of Jorge." Posada announced his retirement from baseball on January 24, 2012.
Personal life 
Posada's mother is Dominican and his father, Jorge Posada, Sr., is Cuban, but fled to Puerto Rico to escape Fidel Castro's regime. Posada, Sr. worked as a scout for the Colorado Rockies. His uncle, Leo Posada, played for the Kansas City Athletics.
Posada met Laura (née Mendez) at a party in 1997, soon recognizing her as the pitcher of the softball team in games he umpired. On January 21, 2000, the couple married. Laura, a former model and actress, works as an attorney. They have two children, Jorge Luis and Paulina.
Posada's son, Jorge Luis, suffers from craniosynostosis, which he was diagnosed with 10 days after he was born. Jorge Luis has endured numerous surgeries to correct the condition. Posada established the Jorge Posada Foundation to help find a cure for the disease and support families with children affected by the condition. Jorge released a charity wine in 2008 called Jorge Cabernet to raise funds for his foundation. In June 2011, his son underwent what Posada hoped would be the final surgery for the condition.
Posada wrote a children's book entitled Play Ball! that was published in 2006. He and his wife cowrote Fit Home Team, a family health manual, and an autobiography titled The Beauty of Love: A Memoir of Miracles, Hope, and Healing, which describes their personal ordeals and how they dealt with them after learning of their son's birth condition in 1999.
|Award / Honor||Time(s)||Date(s)|
|AL All-Star||5||2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2007|
|AL Silver Slugger Award Catcher||5||2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2007|
|International League All-Star Catcher||2||1995, 1996|
|World Series champion||4||1998, 1999, 2000, 2009|
|Baseball America First-Team Major League All-Star Catcher||1||2002|
|Carolina League All-Star||1||1993|
|Thurman Munson Award||1||2000|
|Milton Richman "You Gotta' Have Heart" Award||1||2001|
- Posada, Jorge; Colon, Raul; Burleigh, Robert (2006). Play Ball!. Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books. ISBN 978-1-4169-0687-2. Retrieved September 12, 2010.
- Posada, Jorge; Posada, Laura; Williams, Bernie (2009). Fit Home Team: The Posada Family Guide to Health, Exercise, and Nutrition the Inexpensive and Simple Way. Simon and Schuster. Retrieved January 11, 2012.
- Posada, Jorge; Posada, Laura; Haim, Monica; Torre, Joe (2010). The Beauty of Love: A Memoir of Miracles, Hope, and Healing. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 9781439103081. Retrieved January 11, 2012.
See also 
- List of Puerto Ricans
- List of Major League Baseball players from Puerto Rico
- List of top 300 Major League Baseball home run hitters
- List of Major League Baseball players with 1,000 runs batted in
- New York Yankees award winners and league leaders
- List of New York Yankees Opening Day starting lineups
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- "Jorge Posada Statistics and History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 2012-08-08.
- Sanchez, Jesse (June 29, 2004). "Devoted on and off the field". MLB.com. Mlb.mlb.com. Retrieved 2012-08-08.
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- "Sweet home Alabama". The LoHud Yankees Blog (The Journal News). July 1, 2009. Retrieved September 12, 2010.
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- "Yankees share a laugh with Jorge Posada back at second base". MLB.com (Major League Baseball Advanced Media). August 25, 2011. Retrieved October 17, 2011.
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- "Around Baseball". Pqasb.pqarchiver.com. 1993-07-15. Retrieved 2012-08-08. (subscription required)
- "Roanoke Times Online Archives". Nl.newsbank.com. 1993-09-05. Retrieved 2012-08-08. (subscription required)
- "KNIGHTS' MCMILLON BATS HIS WAY ONTO AAA ALL-STAR TEAM". Charlotte Observer. June 28, 1996. p. 4Y. Retrieved 2012-08-08. (subscription required)
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- "Jorge Posada: From 1995 to 2011, sorted by greatest wpa_bat: Results". Baseball-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved 2012-01-13.
- "Posada 'manages' Yanks to win as A-Rod gets 156th RBI". ESPN (ESPN.com). Associated Press. September 30, 2007. Retrieved March 17, 2009.
- Hale, Mark (August 15, 2011). "Posada loves Yankees fans, but would consider playing for new team". New York Post. Retrieved October 17, 2011.
- Feinsand, Mark; Madden, Bill (November 12, 2007). "Jorge Posada to stay with Yankees". New York Daily News. Retrieved March 17, 2009.
- Kepner, Tyler (July 21, 2008). "Posada Could Be Out for the Season". NYTimes.com (The New York Times). Retrieved December 7, 2010.
- Kepner, Tyler (January 8, 2012). "Posada Stays True to Himself, and Loyal to the Yankees". The New York Times.
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- Botte, Peter (July 28, 2008). "Jorge Posada to have shoulder surgery, will need six months to rehab". New York Daily News. Retrieved March 17, 2009.
- McCarron, Anthony (April 16, 2009). "Jorge Posada swats historic first homer at Yankee Stadium, but day is no blast". New York Daily News (New York). Retrieved December 7, 2010.
- Hoch, Bryan (November 4, 2009). "Six games, five rings, four Yankees". MLB.com (Major League Baseball Advanced Media). Retrieved September 12, 2010.
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- Blogging the Bombers (July 23, 2010). "Jorge Posada passes 1,000 RBI, A.J. Burnett gets win as New York Yankees top Royals, 7–1". New York Daily News. Retrieved December 7, 2010.
- Schmidt, Michael S. (November 10, 2010). "Yankees Catcher Jorge Posada to Have Knee Surgery". The New York Times. Retrieved December 7, 2010.
- Feinsand, Mark (November 5, 2010). "Jesus Montero will get chance to win starting catching job, Jorge Posada will slide in as Yankees DH". New York Daily News. Retrieved November 7, 2010.
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- Marchand, Andrew (May 15, 2011). "Jorge Posada removes self from lineup". ESPNNewYork.com. ESPN. Retrieved May 16, 2011.
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- "Leo Posada". Baseball-Reference. Sports Reference, LLC. Retrieved September 27, 2011.
- "Stepping Up to the Plate". Livingneworleans.com. Retrieved 2012-08-08.
- DiComo, Anthony (May 16, 2008). "Mets, Yanks join charity wine effort". MLB.com. Retrieved August 18, 2009.
- "Posada misses game after son's surgery". MLB.com (Major League Baseball Advanced Media). June 8, 2011. Retrieved October 17, 2011.
- Jack Curry (September 12, 2009). "Even in Class A, Posada and Pettitte Sensed What Was to Come With Jeter". The New York Times. Retrieved February 11, 2010.
- "Play Ball!". Newsbank.com. April 9, 2006. Retrieved 2012-01-13.(subscription required)
- "NY Yankee Jorge Posada recounts son's birth defect - books - Biography Memoirs - TODAY.com". Today.msnbc.msn.com. 2010-08-30. Retrieved 2012-01-13.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Jorge Posada|
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