Gold Medal commenter IronHorse submitted this post, and we thought we’d share it. Hip, hip, Jorge!
Thanks to A-Rod’s MVP-caliber year, the buzz around the Yankee youth-surge, and the perennial heroics of Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada’s unprecedented success as a 35+ year old catcher is getting less attention than it deserves. Look at the offensive numbers and where they rank among all major league catchers:
BA .338 (1st)
HR: 20 (2nd)
OBP: .423 (1st)
SLG: .553 (1st)
OPS: .973 (1st)
No catcher in the modern era has approached these offensive figures past the age of 35 (none has hit 20 HR and batted better than .330). Then consider that he is a switch hitter. As such, he has not only the best BA of any switch-hitting catcher in history (of any age) but has also been remarkably consistent from both sides of the plate:
Batting from the left: .338 BA; .426 OBP; .555 SLG; .981 OPS (in 337 at-bats)
Batting from the right: .336 BA; .415 OBP; .547 SLG; .963 OPS (in 137 at-bats)
And his play behind the plate has not slipped at all. His worst stat is probably his caught stealing percentage (.234 – 8th among AL catchers, just behind Varitek) but those who watch the games know that this has more to do with all the new pitchers who can’t/don’t hold runners plus all the older pitchers who, other than Pettitte, are terrible at holding runners. Posada’s arm is as strong and accurate as ever, and he releases the ball quickly. Despite being the oldest starting catcher in the majors, he has caught more games (129) than anyone other than 24-year-old Russell Martin of the Dodgers.
Finally, the “intangibles”: Posada has guided a record number of pitchers to their first-ever-wins this year – 9 in total: Wright, Chamberlain, Ramirez, Igawa, Hughes, Kennedy, DeSalvo, Rasner, and Clippard. And he is unquestionably among the most respected team leaders. The most outspoken calling out of fellow Yankees by anyone this year was Posada’s comment, after a 7-0 loss to Oakland on June 30, that his teammates were just “going through the motions”. For Posada this is the equivalent of a chair-throwing rage. Since that day, the team is 48-24 – the best record in the majors. Is it all attributable to one guy’s comments? No. But there are no players on the team more respected and listened-to than Jorge. Only Jeter and Mariano bring the credibility he does as a Yankee, and of course Clemens brings some as an all-time great.
An addition from the editor. A couple of months ago we saw Posada on an episode of American Chopper. The Teutel family are big Yankee fans, and it was a lot of fun to watch Grandma Teutel interacting with Jorge. “Oh my God it’s Jorge (pronounced, George-ey) Posada!” she says, and when she’s corrected, “it’s Hor–Hay” by her grandson, she’s just like “whatever,” because she’s so totally in love. [Posada was on the show to pick up a pinstriped bike to be autographed by the team and sold at auction.] Anyway, what was somewhat disturbing about this otherwise heartwarming episode was watching Jorge walk. After a decade behind the plate, he waddles. Anyway, he’s waddling his way toward a ginormous contract, and more power to him.