A Yankee Fan’s Tribute To A True Yankee: Jorge Posada
by Daniel Martin
I have been alive for 15 years now, and have lived in New York for all 15 years of my life. In my lifetime certain things about New York were always true. “The Phantom Of The Opera” has always been on Broadway, Times Square has always been party central on new years eve, Central Park has never let people on the great lawn during springtime when the grass is growing, and the New York Yankees have always been led by Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, and Mariano Rivera. However, not all of those things are still true. (sadly its not the grass in central park)
On Tuesday, the 40 year-old Jorge Posada tearfully announced that he would be retiring after an incredible 17 season career, all of which with the Yankees. I have always felt a personal connection to Posada. All my life, whenever asked who my favorite Yankee was I would respond with “Jorge Posada.”I don’t remember the exact reason I took a liking to Posada back when I was a Yankee loving toddler. It might have been the fact that, in addition to being a tremendous and consistent player, he was also very down to earth. It was clear that he was, and still is, a loving father and husband to his kids, Jorge Luis and Paulina, and wife, Laura. He could often be seen on the field before games with his kids smiling, running and gently tossing a ball with them. His son was diagnosed with craniosynostosis a mere 10 days after his birth. He wrote also wrote a book with his wife called The Beauty of Love: A Memoir of Miracles, Hope, and Healing, which told the story of his son and how he and his family dealt with his son’s condition in and their effort to beat it for good. He also created the Jorge Posada Foundation which has worked to find a cure to craniosynostosis. Perhaps the most memorable moment of the 74th MLB All-Star Game was when Posada was announced and he game out with his son, who excitedly ran down the base path giving high fives to his dad’s fellow AL All-Stars. In June of 2011, Jorge Luis underwent, what his parents hoped, would be the last surgery for the condition.
But you don’t have a successful 17-year, MLB career just by being a nice guy. Posada boasts Hall Of Fame credentials. He has won 4 World Series’ rings, has played in 125 postseason games, been to the all-star game 5 times, and won the silver slugger award 5 times. He has a career average of .273, has 275 career (11 postseason) HR’s, and 379 career doubles. In 2003 he came in 3rd in the AL MVP race and in 2007 he came in 6th. Posada’s last game, the Yankee’s game 5, 3-2 loss to the Detroit Tigers, was very fitting as he went 2 for 4.
The other reason Jorge Posada was such a special player though, was that he was a home-grown, hard working Yankee. He was drafted by the Yankee’s and remained a Yankee for his entire. He became a symbol of the Yankees, a part of the “core four”. He has became very close with all of his teammates, especially Jeter and Rivera. The three of them were all Yankee prospects and have spent their entire careers as Yankees. Jeter was even the best man at Posada’s wedding.
Much like Posada’s career, his tearful retirement announcement will never be forgotten. Posada made the announcement, fittingly, at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday, with his two closest friends on the team, Jeter and Rivera, in the audience as well as many of his other teammates. Posada opened his speech by saying “Every time I stepped through the Yankee Stadium doors… I quoted Joe Dimaggio and ‘I said I wanna thank the good lord for making me a Yankee.’”
He then continued saying “Today is a very emotional day for me. I will officially announce that I am retiring from playing the game of baseball.” He talked about how it was his dream to play baseball professionally ever since he was a little kid saying “I was able to live my dream: to play baseball for the best franchise in the world, the New York Yankee’s.”
He than thanked the Yankee organization as a whole, calling it his “home away from home. He then choked up when thanking his family in Spanish. saying “In order to get [to the MLB], I was blessed to have my parents. A mi madre Tamara, a mi padre Jorge, y mi hermana Michelle.” He then stopped, staring at the table in front of him over come with emotion. He took a deep breath and went on. Saying “Gracias por apoyo (thanks for the support)” and then something else that my Spanish was not good enough to catch.
His entire speech was filled with emotion not only on Posada’s part, but also on the part of the audience. Everyone in the room knew that they were loosing someone who had given everything he had and more for this team for the past 17 years. After words, Jeter and Rivera both praised Posada. Jeter claimed that he would always eat with Posada on the road and that without Posada, he wasn’t sure what he was going to do.
Jorge Posada has had an incredible career. He is the definition of a tough competitor, a good teammate, and a true Yankee for life. It is hard to believe, that Yankee stadium will never erupt again in chants of “Hip Hip Jorge!”On behalf of all Yankee fans, I would like to thank Jorge, for everything he has given to us over the last 17 years. Thank you Jorge Posada, All Star, Silver Slugger, World Series Champion, Yankee. Hip Hip Jorge!