Today marks the end of an era, folks. Per a report from The Athletic on Wednesday, Posey will be announcing his retirement from baseball today, November 4th. This has come as a shock to many, especially with the numbers Posey put up in a magnificent season for the San Francisco Giants.
Whether he doesn’t have enough in the tank for another full onslaught of 162 games or just wants to enjoy the opportunity to be a full-time father to his four children, Posey is owed a thank you for his contribution to MLB over the past decade as Giants and baseball fans alike wish him well on whatever pursuits are to follow.
The Legacy of Buster Posey:
The legacy of Buster Posey will go down in history. Posey is the type of player, especially for Giants fans, that you’ll reminisce about for years to come. The way those before you told you about Giants greats like Willie McCovey, in time you’ll be doing the same about Posey.
Posey was picked 5th overall by the Giants back in 2008, signing what was at the time the largest signing bonus the Giants had ever handed out. ($6.2M) He would rise quickly through their farm system, ranked only behind Madison Bumgarner in the San Francisco prospect rankings. And then, in 2009, it began. Following an injury to at the time starter Bengie Molina, Posey was thrust into the starting spot on September 11th, 2009. For the first time, he would catch for the Giants, a position that has since become synonymous with his name.
2010 was his breakthrough season. In 108 games Posey would slash .305/.357/.505 en route to an NL Rookie of The Year award, as well as an 11th place finish in MVP voting. The Giants would go on to make the World Series that year, with Posey a leading force.
In-game one of the fall classic, Posey caught for Bumgarner, forming the first rookie-rookie battery in a World Series opener since 1947. The Giants would win the World Series over the Rangers, kicking off their even-year dynasty with the ever-reliable Posey catching every single pitch thrown by Giants pitchers in the 2010 postseason.
The “Buster Posey Rule”:
2011 came with high expectations for Posey. Following up a ROY award came with lofty goals for what was next, and Posey seemed to be meeting those goals. However, 45 games into Posey’s 2011 season, Scott Cousins of the Marlins collided with Posey at the plate, fracturing Posey’s fibula and tearing ankle ligaments. This case of injury was more than enough proof for the MLB that change was necessary, thus the Buster Posey Rule. The rule states:
“A runner attempting to score may not deviate from his direct pathway to the plate in order to initiate contact with the catcher (or other player covering home plate). A runner violating the rule will be declared out, even if the fielder drops the ball”
One Step Back, Multiple Leaps Forward:
Time would prove that a broken leg couldn’t stop Posey, only postpone the inevitable. He was going to tear up the Major Leagues, and it was just a matter of when. 2012 is when the real party began. The list of accolades Posey received from this single season alone is a mile long. MVP, Silver Slugger, Comeback Player of the Year, All-Star, Willie Mac award winner, MLB batting champion, Hank Aaron award, and most importantly, another World Series win. Posey caught Matt Cain’s perfect game, the 22nd in MLB history. Cain is quoted as saying that throughout that game he did not shake off Posey a single time, relying on the Catchers supreme ability to stay collected and calm to achieve baseball immortality. Posey set career highs in nearly every single offensive statistic that year, ending with an OPS+ of 171 and an OPS of .957.
From then on out, the Giants backstop was just about as reliable a player as you could hope for. He played in 140+ games every season from 2012 to 2017 and hit above league average in terms of OPS+ every single year of his career except 2019. Posey was a noted clubhouse leader, even serving as the baseball chapel representative for the Giants. You’d be hard-pressed to ever find a player with a bad thing to say about Posey as a teammate, and he along with players like Tim Lincecum, Madison Bumgarner, and Pablo Sandoval collectively form the unit that we will associate with the Giants dynasty when we look back on this time.
Buster Posey, Hall of Famer?:
The debate regarding Posey and his Hall of Fame chances have already begun, and it feels like a rather simple answer. If a decade-defining, 7x All-Star, MVP winner is deemed not worthy of Cooperstown, it signifies a need to reconsider Hall of Fame metrics.
Posey currently ranks 14 by the JAWS system, leaving him slightly below the average JAWS score of the 15 enshrined catchers, but not by too much. He’s ahead of players like Roy Campanella and Ray Schalk who already reside in immortality. Posey also has more career bWAR than fellow catching legend Yadier Molina despite nearly 7 fewer seasons played and nearly 2500 less PA. Posey has an MVP, 2 Comeback Player of the Year awards, 7x All-Star appearances, a ROY, 4x Silver Slugger, a Gold Glove, a Batting Title, 2 Fielding Bible awards, 2 Wilson Defensive Player of the Year awards, and three World Series Rings.
How’s that for a resume? You could argue Posey is the best catcher of the 21st century, and argue so rather successfully. Look forward to his likeness gracing the hallowed halls of Cooperstown following his first ballot appearance.
So Long, Buster:
To step away at the top of your game with $22M on the table to spend time with the ones you love is an admirable move, and fans collectively should wish Posey the best.
Whether he contributed to your teams’ success or was the stuff of nightmares as an opposing fan, whatever he did was worth watching. From his offensive prowess to revolutionizing framing and bringing it to the mainstream, his contributions to the sport are immeasurable.
Main image credit Embed from Getty Images