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Torre on Posada: “The heart was the most important thing”

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on Nov 10, 2011 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Joe Torre’s Safe at Home Foundation had it’s annual gala tonight at Chelsea Piers. The guest of honor was Paul O’Neill, but the topic of discussion was Jorge Posada. When Torre stopped to answer a few questions, every single one was about his former catcher.

Here’s Torre…

On how hard it would be for Posada to play elsewhere
“I think that’s going to be hard for him only because it’s sort of like selling your home after all these years. You have a comfortable spot. I’m not saying he won’t do it, because you just can’t all of a sudden say you don’t want to play baseball anymore when it’s been your whole life – your whole professional life – for such a long time. I can’t say he’s made up his mind, but he looked really comfortable last night. I’m not sure what that means – I was at his function – but he seemed very happy.”

On Posada’s Hall of Fame chances
“I’ve noticed over the years when guys get voted in, whether it’s first ballot, second ballot, if you play in the postseason, people get a chance to see you in a different light and it may carry a little more weight. As much postseason as he’s played in, I think consideration is certainly warranted.”

On what Posada brought to the clubhouse
“He brought he passion; screaming and yelling. He’d look across the clubhouse and there’s Derek smiling at him. Probably the thing that will always stay in my memory bank was a game in Cleveland when he and Duque almost came to blows in the dugout. Then, later on, I was walking through the mall and there they were side-by-side going to dinner together. It was just that passion that he knew it was there. Was he sorry sometimes, yeah, but you never wanted to lose the heart that he had. I think the heart was the most important thing.”

On Torre’s relationship with Posada
“He never liked me very much early on based on the fact that he wouldn’t catch enough, and then finally in the postseason I said, ‘It’s yours.’ I think that was ’99 when he caught the championship game. I just felt that Joe Girardi had so much to offer as far as teaching how to go about certain things, Jorge was anxious but he was a class kid. He was like a son to me. I’ll always be close to him. Just watching him grow from this young player to one of the voices in that clubhouse was fun to see.”

On Posada’s legacy in New York
“He played under pressure about as well as anybody for me. He was always excitable — I think you saw that – but the one thing about it, when he got up there with the bases loaded or with the winning run on base, he was like ice. He was really good. Did he have his issues running the bases? Yeah, I don’t think that’s any secret – I’m nobody to make fun of it because I couldn’t run worth a damn – but as far as his ability to play in big games, it was pretty amazing. He doesn’t get a whole lot of acknowledgement for it because there were so many people around him, but to sit there on the bench as his manager, you were pretty happy to see him at the plate in situations like that.”

On the void left by not having Posada
“You miss people in the clubhouse, I don’t think there’s any question. But, you know what, the Yankees are used to that. We had our MVP in the World Series in ’96 not with us the following year, John Wetteland. David Cone, he left. Pettitte left. It’s just what you do. In this town, nobody cares why you didn’t win, they just know you didn’t win, if that’s the case, so you really don’t have time for sentiment here. I remember in ’96 when we traded Gerald Williams and there was some concern about, how is Derek going to handle it, because they were very, very close, and they remain very close, but it’s one of those things. Business as usual. As cold as it sounds, that’s our job.”

Associated Press photo




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