He's not going to be a force in the Hall of Fame voting in 2017, though one expects him to stay on the ballot for a few years. His association with the Yankees during an extremely successful timeframe should boost his vote totals, as opposed to what happened to a switch-hitting catcher with a similar profile (Ted Simmons, who dropped off the ballot with only 4% of the vote in 1994).
Here's a brief sketch of factoids concerning Posada's career that will add a little more perspective.
First, of course, is that late-bloomingness. You can count on the fingers of one hand the number of players who had their career year at age 35.
That age-35 season is the best such season turned in by a catcher that age in baseball history. (WAR-mongers might argue for Elston Howard's 1964 season, but they'd be doing so on the basis of the sketchy defensive values that the system kicks out for catchers. Posada's 153 OPS+ dominates the list of 35-year old backstops.)
The lengthy post-season that was so often part of the Yankee experience during Posada's career seemed to grind him down. Forman et fils' post-season breakouts show a marked decline over the escalating course of the post season: Posada's OPS in division series was .790; in championship series it was .742; and in the World Series it fell to .667.
That sharp dip in 2011 that's shown for his right-handed hitting (the one marked "LHP") shows the specific nature of Jorge's decline. He was just 6-for-65 against lefties last year. (That might have been a contributing factor in his decision to hang it up.)
The thought of playing anywhere else probably also influenced Posada. Of all the ballparks in all the major leagues, the one he really didn't want to walk out of (to rework that Casablanca reference just a bit...) was New Yankee Stadium. The revamped "House That
|Laura Posada: perhaps the reason for the "home|
field advantage" is now abundantly clear...
|Get lost, Chet!!|
Finally: evidence that Posada just isn't a West Coast kind of guy. On West Coast road trips, Posada hit .246, was on-base about a third of the time (.331), slugged .386--a total OPS of .728. Everywhere else (including his two homers in Tokyo, which is so far west that it's in the Far East and thus doesn't count) he hit .276/.374/.483, for an OPS of .857. Note to Jorge's red hot wife Laura: no Chet Baker records to get him in the mood. It'll just get him fouled up and off his rhythm.
Thanks for the memories, Jorge.