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Jorge Posada Has a Chance at the Hall of Fame



By Mike Silva ~ January 8th, 2012. Filed under: Hall of Fame, New York Yankees.

Reports last night indicate that Jorge Posada will finally hang up his spikes this season. Five years from now we will be debating his Hall of Fame merits, something that already started the last couple of years. I wouldn’t vote for Posada, but there can be a case made for his inclusion into the Hall of Fame.

Back in May of 2010 I discussed where Posada stood versus other elite catchers. Offensively, his career OPS+ of 121 is better than Gary Carter and Carlton Fisk. He is twelfth all-time for catchers that appeared in 1,000 or more games. I think what will negate some of his offensive accomplishments is how many catchers hit for power during the late nineties into the turn of the century. He was also overshadowed by Mike Piazza and Ivan Rodriguez during this period.

A year later I compared Posada using Baseball-Reference Wins Above Replacement. His defensive skills were always lacking, as many of the pitchers preferred pitching to his backup whether it was John FlahertyJose Molina, or Francisco Cervelli. His career WAR of 45.1 is also twelfth all-time, which puts him in the lower-tier of Hall of Fame receivers and in the Thurman Munson/Gene Tenace/Ted Simmons category; in other words, catchers that have been deemed “just short” of Hall of Fame credentials by the BBWAA.

This is a tough call as Posada is truly a bubble candidate. He has the offensive numbers and he can’t be dinged for the DH as he only appeared in 180 games at the position to date. What probably will keep him out is his below average defensive skills. The BBWAA also has shown a bias against his era due to PEDs, bad pitching, and small ballparks.

You can, however, look at Posada’s career from an optimistic lens. From 2001 to 2010 only Joe Mauer was a more valuable receiver in baseball according to the same Baseball-Reference Wins Above Replacement. With Mauer’s recent rapid decline, Posada could go down at least as the premier American League catcher of the decade. Remember, Ivan Rodriguez hasn’t been the same since 2004 and is viewed more for his work in Texas in the mid to late 90s. Mike Piazza was a shell of his former self after tearing a groin in 2003. The “best catcher of the decade” argument isn’t completely far-fetched.

Piazza and Pudge should eventually make the Hall of Fame. You could argue that Posada, despite defensive shortcoming, was the premier catcher after their decline. Playing for the Yankees doesn’t hurt either. He might not make it on the first try, but I could see him making a serious move at some point during his 15 years on the ballot. If not, there’s a good chance the Veterans Committee could elect him.

I personally would keep him out because of his defense, but you have to admit he did produce at a level that keeps him in a serious conversation for election.

***

The Hall of Fame will announce its 2012 inductees tomorrow. Let us know who you would vote for in the NYBD Hall of Fame ballot.

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Mike Silva has hosted sports shows on 107.1 FM Champions ESPN Radio Long Island ,1240 AM WGBB , Blog Talk Radio and live from Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant. He’s also built and maintained two popular social media hubs: New York Baseball Digest and Sports Media Watchdog. Mike has broken national and local stories, as well as been mentioned on the YES Network, SNY.tv, WFAN, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, NY Daily News, New York Magazine, Journal News and the NY Post. Contact Mike professionally at mikesilvamedia.com

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20 Responses to Jorge Posada Has a Chance at the Hall of Fame

  1. Joseph DelGrippo

    Voting Jorge Posada into the Hall of Fame would be one of the worst choices in history.

    The Hall is already full of good, but not great players; let’s not make it worse by adding a good, but not nearly great catcher.

    Except for his good 2007 season, Posada rarely was in the top ten in any major offensive category, he was a bad defensive catcher and only excelled in taking called third strikes right down the middle.

    Posada was never dominant, basically had TWO good seasons in a long career built on the accumulation of numbers, and those total numbers are not even HOF caliber.

    To think Posada is a Hall of Fame catcher is a slap in the face to guys like Johnny Bench, Yogi Berra, Mickey Cochrane, Roy Campanella and Bill Dickey, true HOF caliber catchers, guys who won MVPs, led their leagues and were double-digit All-Star team recipients.

    Only reason Posada is even thought about for the HOF is because he played for the New York Yankees.

    The writers should not confuse all the post season appearances by the Yankees (which Posada was a good, but not great part) and all the extra TV games on Sunday night ESPN with Jorge Posada being a HOF player.

    Popularity and exposure does not equal greatness.

  2. Stu B

    “To think Posada is a Hall of Fame catcher is a slap in the face to guys like Johnny Bench, Yogi Berra, Mickey Cochrane, Roy Campanella and Bill Dickey…”

    To say nothing of Gary Carter, Carlton Fisk, Gabby Hartnett, and Mike Piazza.

  3. vtmet

    Posada getting into the HOF shows why inadequate defensive players stay at their defensive positions. Both Posada and Piazza were poor to mediocre defensive catchers, but the HOF voting doesn’t care about defense. They were “great” offensive catchers, who would never have gotten serious HOF considerations if their entire career was spent at first base or a corner outfield position. How many middle infielders made the HOF that realistically were not elite players either? Meanwhile, Keith Hernandez, who was an elite defensive first baseman and one of the best #3 hitters of his era, never got serious consideration.

  4. ralph bracco

    First of all there is that elite group of hall of fame catchers we know that but how does compare to the other 6 or 7 that are , what did he mean to his team, and his position even with his defensive short comings, did it hurt his teams chances of winning? ..record would say no , and then to argue, who is to say how much more better a hitter would he had been if he wasn’t a catcher ,and a switch hitter at that. Clutch ,yeah, solid ..Yeah, Winner no doubt, What other catchers in his era played their position that long ,performed that well , won that much, not to many and it was the ” steroid era” was it not……? Oh and are there no question marks associated with the other 2 shoe in HOF catcher’s of his era ? Piazza and Pudge….Hip Hip never had any question marks…
    Listen maybe not in his first year or his first five years but by the way certain players are getting in and some that are already in ,I think Jorge will get there……

  5. Piazza

    Posada would beat out Phil Rizzuto for the most undeserving Yankee in the Hall of Fame if he got elected.

    Posada is as compelling of a candidate as Lance Parrish, Bill Freehan, or Jason Kendall. In his prime, he might have been the 3rd best catcher in baseball, but he was so far behind Piazza and Rodriguez it isn’t funny, it’s the difference between Pedro/Randy Johnson and Tim Hudson or Kevin Brown.

    If Piazza and Pudge started to decline around 2003, Posada still wasn’t the premiere catcher. It was Javy Lopez for two years, who had a broke Todd Hundley’s HR record for catchers in a season, and had a .321/.373/.584 line across those two seasons. For the rest of the decade, Mauer was far and ahead of Posada.

    Ralph,
    “Piazza and Pudge….Hip Hip never had any question marks…”
    Accusations of Piazza are totally baseless. Why are there no question marks about Jorge? He was a non-prospect second baseman drafted in the 24th round, who had a league average 100 OPS+ until a breakout season at the advanced age of 28. You can definitely spin that to PED use if you’re feeling adventurous, but the point is moot.

    When Gene Tenace (he has 3 rings too, if you think that matters) and Bill Freehan (1968 ring) get inducted, I’ll think about Posada.

    The answer will still be no.

  6. Chuck Johnson

    “Jorge Posada has a chance for the Hall of Fame”

    Sure he does, Mike.

    His “chance” is the same as yours, but, yeah, a chance is a chance.

  7. LongTimeFan

    Posada doesn’t belong in the Hall.

    Piazza is no brainer and I think may equal or even top Seaver’s votes received as most ever.

    And to Vtmet, Piazza was a solid defensive catcher in most aspects improperly viewed as otherwise given a ho-hum career mark throwing out basestealers at 23% and a little too error prone with 124 in 1,630 games behind the dish. Bench had 97 in 1,749 and Fisk, 155 in 2,226.

    Piazza call a great game and pitchers loved that and his CERA impressed no matter which uniform he wore.

    He also blocked the plate well on plays to plate, and in saving wild pitches, fielded bunts and foul pops well. 14th best all time in catcher’s range factor, 8th all time in putouts despite being 20th in games caught. Berra is 18th in games caught and 21st in putouts. Piazza had a solid 102 passed balls in 1,630 games. Posada had 142 in 1,574, Varitek 105 in 1,488. Bench had 94 in 1,742 games. Again Piazza’s weak point was throwing out attempted basestealers with a career 23%.

  8. Joseph DelGrippo

    Don’t really think Piazza will break Seaver’s mark of highest vote percentage. That is not even going to be close. Only guys that should come close to that Seaver mark is Greg Maddux and possibly Derek Jeter.

  9. Piazza

    Joe, don’t underestimate the NY media.

    No, I don’t think that Piazza will come close to that percentage. Then again, it isn’t any more of a ludicrous suggestion than to put Derek Jeter in the same boat as Piazza, Seaver and Maddux.

  10. Russ Cress

    Look at the numbers.

    Posada is clearly the 6th or 7th best catcher of all time. He also passes the “was he the best player at his position in his league during his career” test. Especially, if you eliminate Ivan Rodriguez due to his steroid use.

    Compare his numbers to the dozen or so catchers in the Hall and it’s not even close. He deserves to get in and should

  11. Chuck

    Posada’s not even in the top four or five YANKEE catchers.

    Stop it, Russ, you’re killing me.

  12. Piazza

    Russ, LOL.

    6th or 7th? He’s not as good as Bench or Berra, nor is he as good as Fisk or Carter, nor is as good as Hartnett or Cochrane, nor is he as good as Pudge, Piazza.

    Pudge was always better, and when he went, Mauer was far, far better.

  13. Russ Cress

    Posada OPS .848

    Fisk OPS .766
    Carter OPS .773
    Hartnett .858
    Schalk .656
    Lombardi .818
    Farrell .741
    Yogi .830
    Campenella .860
    Dickey .868
    Cochrane .897 (clearly most underrated HOF C)
    Ewing .807
    O’Rourke .775
    Bench .817

    That’s it for catchers in the Hall.

    When compared to HOF catchers, Posada is 5th in OPS.

    His numbers are more impressive than you think. If you believe that you should only compare him to that list of guys (which you should because catcher is a unique position), he’s clearly in the middle of the pack which makes him a Hall of Famer.

  14. Chuck Johnson

    “When compared to HOF catchers, Posada is 5th in OPS.”

    Doesn’t make him a HOFer.

  15. Russ Cress

    To be a Hall of Famer, you don’t have to be as good as the top 1/4 of guys in at your position. Those guys are why 1st ballot HOFers are special, they are the elite of the elite.

    As long as you are better than the bottom 1/4 of the guys at your position, then you should be in. As long as you are in the same class as the HOFers, that’s what matters. The old expression has always been “A Hall of Fame is only as strong as it’s weakest member”.

    For some reason, people today are apparently looking at stats in a vacuum and no longer taking position into account or comparing candidates to HOFers as much. I always remember the discussion being “if this guy is in, then that guy should be in”.

    Posada isn’t as good as Bench, Yogi, Dickey or Cochrane.

    That said, he’s certainly in the same class or better than Schalk, Farrell, Lombardi, Fisk & Carter. When you are looking at a class of only 12 or so players, that’s enough sample size to determine that he belongs in someday.

    (I’m using OPS for the sake of this discussion because it transcends all eras as there has never been a time, including the “dead ball era” when getting on base wasn’t important and it doesn’t have the change in the game factors that say SLG alone would and it’s more accurate than the “counting” numbers)

  16. Russ Cress

    Well Chuck, silly me, I was kind of under the impression that it’s been proven that OPS was the most accurate stat to compare performance these days rather than the old baseball card numbers like total HRS & AVG.

    If you are going to claim that ALL of the catchers in the Hall are better than Jorge Posada, then you are WAY wrong. Also, if you are going to use defense in your discussion, well not all of them were great defensive catchers either. Read up on Ernie Lombardi who was supposedly a terrible defensive catcher.

  17. Russ Cress

    And not that it’s the be all and end all by any means but I should point out that at .992, Jorge Posada has a higher career fielding pct. than every HOF C.

    The impression of him as a poor defensive catcher is badly overblown. He was never as bad as some would have you think.

  18. Mike Silva

    Russ

    He wasn’t a clunker, I agree with you on that, but he was not a catcher that Yankees pitchers liked throwing to.

  19. Chuck Johnson

    That’s all well and fine, Russ.

    If Posada’s on the ballot more than five years, I’ll eat my hat.

  20. Russ Cress

    He had his defensive flaws, I know. He was never a smooth receiver & was hideous at blocking the plate on plays at the plate due to his mental block from his broken leg in the minors. That said he still called a good game, was very bright back there and had good hands plus threw out a good pct of guys trying to steal.

    For all the love that Pudge Rodriguez gets for his flashiness back there, people forget that pitchers haven’t liked throwing to him for a long time and that he had a rep for not knowing his scouting reports and thus not calling a good game.

    And Chuck, I guarantee he’ll be on the ballot for more than 5 years. There is simply no way to compare him to the catchers already in the Hall and not objectively see him as a strong candidate.

    I mean, is there even an argument for Ernie Lombardi being a HOF catcher and not Posada other than Lombardi had a year where he hit .340 and won a batting title? Comparing their bodies of work, it shouldn’t even be close.

    And Ray Schalk and Rick Farrell, come on. There are 10 catchers who aren’t in that are better than those guys. Let’s face it, beyond the top 5-6 guys, the bar for HOF catchers simply isn’t very high.

    If you want to go the non-statistical route, it’s not like Posada doesn’t have intangibles in his favor as well.

    So, I stick by my original point….if you look at the numbers and their careers he definitely is in the class of the HOF catchers. I honestly don’t see how it’s even up for debate.

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