Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Hip Hip As If

So Jorge Posada has decided that another year of not getting at-bats in the Bronx, or a year in which he adds to everyone's Collection of Jerseys That Look Really Wrong to add to his career totals, was not worth the six figures of honorarium he was probably going to make on top of the $117+ million he's already banked. (Seriously, if you want to bank an unconscious amount of coin, have a long career in baseball. No brain injuries, relatively decent chance that you'll walk at 50, and nine figures in the bank if you were careful during your career. I seriously need to go back in time, fix my eyesight and my DNA, and completely rethink this blogging and advertising career.)

Now the fun part comes of wondering if he's done enough to make the Hall of Fame, assuming people still care about such a thing. And for the next five years, people are actually going to debate this. For no good reason. And here's why.

There has never been a prominent Yankee that was involved in as many World Series championships as Posada who *did not* make the Hall of Fame.

If you've ever been to the town of Cooperstown, you know already that the place acts as an annex for Yankee gear that isn't in Memorial Park. When Posada is inducted, the place is absolutely going to fill to the brim with guys from the Bronx yelling Hip Hip Jorge for a weekend, paying through the nose for the privilege. There's millions of dollars on the line here, and money -- especially Yankee money in a sleepy little borough like Cooperstown -- talks.

Besides, it's not as if the guy is actually bringing the standards of the place down. Posada compares easily to guys like Carlton Fisk (in), Gary Carter (in) and Yogi Berra (twice the player but too much of a comedic figure to be remembered for the force he was on the field). He played long enough to be the oldest player in the league. That's almost always the sign of a Hall of Famer. He had 275 HRs and 1,065 RBIs, most of them in a pitcher's park, while playing catcher, and not taking steroids. That's in.

And yes, while he was never the MVP and never really had a signature year beyond the .338 at age 35, when you have enough years dropping 80-100 RBIs with a .374 career OBA, it's a very real benefit. He had a year where he hit .338, and was a 5-time winner of the Silver Slugger award. He also went to five All-Star Games, and has 11 post-season HRs, which sounds good until you realize he played in 125 (!) playoff games in his life.

It's more than obvious that you could win championships with the guy, and for years, he was the secret strain that made this offense so damned difficult to deal with. He even had the coup de grace game in which he slammed the Rays on an August Saturday (I wuz there!) to give a national television audience that Rage Rage Rage Against The Dying Of The Light moment.

So, sure, he's got no chance of it, had he toiled in an MLB- market for much of those 15 years, and pure statheads can pule about that all they want. But in the final analysis, regardless of how they were purchased (or, in the Yankees' case, bought at auction), flags fly forever.

Posada has the rings. In New York. I suspect he doesn't go in on the first ballot, just because the numbers are actually borderline, but there's really no need to act as if there is any suspense with this one. There's going to be one more Yankee going to the Hall, and that's that.

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