Jorge Posada is set to officially retire from Major League Baseball today, after 17 seasons with the Yankees. While he wasn't on the Red Sox, and we certainly rooted against him more often than not, 17 years is a long time, long enough for Posada to be part of our lives, too.
Posada first came up in 1995, but he wasn't a full-time catcher with New York until he was 26 years old in 1998. He had split time with the club in the past, but the 1998 season, in which the Yankees won 114 games and the World Series, was the first of many successful campaigns for the Puerto Rican backstop.
Posada hit .268/.350/.475 to kick off his career as a starter, and not only improved, but kept at it for the next decade-plus. All told, Posada hit .273/.374/.474 with a 121 OPS+, 275 homers, and nearly 3,000 total bases. While his defense cut into his overall value throughout his career, that bat made him a pretty special catcher for a long time.
He's not quite a Hall of Fame-caliber player, but Posada is one worth remembering. Ben Lindbergh covered Posada's Hall of Fame case recently at Baseball Prospectus, and found it lacking in part due to that glove. There's no shame in being not quite good enough for Cooperstown, though, as it's not exactly a discussion just anyone gets into.
Yankees and Red Sox fans had a difficult time agreeing on Posada's worth, given Boston's own infatuation with Jason Varitek during much of Posada's career. With both backstops looking like they are done at the same time, we can sit back and reflect on the fact they were both valuable assets to their teams, and that the 2012 lineups of both the Red Sox and Yankees will feel a little odd without them, even if it's for the best. As a Red Sox fan, you don't have to like Posada, but his career was certainly one worthy of respect.