Jorge Posada is a go-to guy in the clubhouse. What I mean by that is if you’re doing a story on one of the pitchers, he is somebody you almost have to talk to.
Posada is intelligent, bluntly honest and has so much of a history with the Yankees that his comments always have meaning. As a beat writer, he is somebody I try and speak with almost every day because he has such a feel for what is happening with the team at that moment.
But when it comes to talking about the best season of his career, Posada doesn’t have much to say. He firmly believes that talking about how well you’re hitting will lead to four strikeouts the next day.
I tried to broach the subject yesterday and he smiled. “C’mon, man,” he said. “Don’t go there.”
But Posada is having an MVP-type season. He’s hitting .338 with 81 runs scored, 20 homers, 82 RBI and 38 doubles. It’s one of the greatest offensive seasons ever for a catcher.
Toss in the fact that he has worked with 29 pitchers this season and that the Yankees are headed to the playoffs and he’s clearly the best catcher in the American League.
“You know until you’re around him every day how good this guy is,” backup Jose Molina said. “He and Tony (Pena) are always working on some drill or going over something. He makes this team go.”
Look at it this way. The only catchers in the history of baseball with as many home runs, doubles and RBI in one season are Mike Piazza (1998), Pudge Rodriguez (1998), Pudge Fisk (1978) and Johnny Bench (1974 and ’75). Only Piazza and Rodriguez hit .300 in those seasons.
This could be the season Posada played himself into the Hall of Fame. He’s a .278 career hitter with 217 homers, 855 RBI, three rings and five All-Star game selections.
The only catchers who can match those statistics are Piazza, Rodriguez, Ted Simmons, Javy Lopez, Yogi Berra, Gabby Hartnett and Roy Campanella.
Simmons never won the World Series. Lopez did once.
By the time these current Yankees are retired, they’ll have to build a new room at the Hall of Fame. Rodriguez, Jeter, Rivera, Clemens and Torre are in for sure. Posada is probable and Mike Mussina will get a lot of consideration.