Should Jorge Posada Be a Hall of Famer? Joe Girardi Endorses Former Yankees Backstop
From his playing days, to his 10-year stint as the Yankees manager, Joe Girardi has been in the same clubhouse as plenty of Hall of Famers.
Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera called Girardi a teammate and a skipper in pinstripes. He even played alongside the likes of Andre Dawson, Greg Maddux and Ryne Sandberg in Chicago during his first few seasons in the big leagues.
In Girardi's mind, however, there should be one additional name added to this historic list.
"I look at Jorge Posada as a Hall of Fame player," he told YES Network's Jack Curry last week.
Posada failed to receive the necessary five percent of the vote to stay eligible on the Baseball Hall of Fame ballot in his first appearance in 2017, receiving just 17 votes (3.8 percent).
Since then, Girardi has had some time to think about Posada's career.
"Posada was one of the greatest catchers I ever saw play," Girardi continued. "I mean, he’d play 140 games a year, he was durable, he was an offensive catcher, he was a defensive catcher."
The current Philadelphia Phillies skipper is right. Posada, over the course of 17 seasons at the Major League level, established himself as one of the best catchers in the game – a rare switch-hitting backstop that swung for power.
In fact, in big league history, Posada is presently ranked ninth all-time in home runs with 275.
With 1,065 RBI, 379 doubles and 900 runs scored to his name – with a 42.7 WAR in his career – Posada is among the top 17 catchers in baseball history in each of those categories. Those leaderboards are, of course, littered with Hall of Famers.
That said, you can certainly make the case that Posada deserved at least a second look on the Hall of Fame ballot. Perhaps down the road his name will be called in Cooperstown similar to what transpired for legendary backstop Ted Simmons, who was elected this year on the Modern Baseball Era ballot almost three decades after he first appeared on the ballot.
Here's how Posada and Simmons stack up side by side:
1,389 (2nd among catchers in baseball history)
When examining those numbers, beyond Posada's power, it makes sense that Simmons eventually was elected. Plus, it's discouraging for Posada's candidacy that it took someone like Simmons all those extra years to get in, when Posada is already behind him statistically in close to every category.
Posada never won a Most Valuable Player Award, winning just five Silver Slugger Awards. While he didn't boast as many individual accolades as the other 19 backstops to presently have a spot in the Hall, what he had that almost all other all-time catchers did not was the ability to win.
The Yankees catcher won four World Series titles in his career. That's more rings than all but two Hall of Fame catchers – Bill Dickey had seven and Yogi Berra had 10, both with New York.
To Girardi, who spoke at length about his time in pinstripes as a player in this YES Network exclusive, the beginnings of the Core Four dynasty featured one of – if not the – greatest team in baseball history.
"I think you can make that argument," Girardi said when asked if the 1998 Yankees are the best team of all time. "I think Seattle won 116 games a couple of years later but didn’t finish the job, you know, we were able to finish the job. I will say that’s the most pressure we ever felt in any of our title runs because we wanted to validate what we were doing. But I think you can argue, I mean we had everything. We had starting pitching, we had relief, we had a very deep lineup, we had youth, we had veterans."
On that team in 1998, Posada fell in the 'youth' category. After all, it was only his first full season with the big-league club. Two years later, however, Posada made his first All-Star Game – the first of four consecutive trips to the Midsummer Classic.
When it's all said and done, Posada retired as one of the best catchers in baseball history when it comes to the postseason. He holds the record for most hits, runs and games played at his position in postseason history (with 119, 53 and 103 respectively).
To keep up with all of Inside The Pinstripe’s coverage, click the "follow" button at the top right-hand corner of this page.