Keidel: In No Way, Shape Or Form Does Posada Belong In Monument Park
By Jason Keidel
» More Columns
The world west of the Hudson abhors the Yankees, and their fan base increasingly cares less about the team and more about the status of sitting in $1,500 seats, sipping on appletinis and barking into their iPhones.
But no one questions the team's biblical history.
Except, perhaps, the Yankees, who are giving out plaques and places in Monument Park like Bumpy Johnson handing out Christmas turkeys in Harlem.
Exhibit A: Hip, Hip Jorge...
Jorge Posada, a certified but peripheral member of the Joe Torre dynasty, was honored at Yankee Stadium this weekend, his number retired and his likeness forever bronzed in Monument Park. And I have no idea why.
Posada now shares that sacred soil with Ruth, Gehrig, Dimaggio and Mantle -- the pinstriped Mount Rushmore.
Forget that he's not on that level, because no one else is -- not even the sainted Derek Jeter. But Posada isn't even the best catcher in Yankees history. Nor is he the second best.
Posada is now eternally tethered to Yogi Berra, who has three MVP awards, more hits, homers, RBIs, a higher batting average and more rings than Liberace. The iconic Yankee batted over .290 seven times; Posada once, when he was 35.
Posada is likewise co-tenants with Bill Dickey, who also dwarfed Posada in almost every way on the diamond, including a lifetime batting average 40 points higher.
Berra and Dickey topped the 100-RBI mark nine times (five and four, respectively); Posada reached it once. Dickey also hit at least .300 11 times. Posada batted .338 in his 13th season, which could arch an eyebrow or two.
In fact, Posada wasn't the best catcher in the five boroughs for much of his career. That would be Mike Piazza, who -- like Posada -- had epic woes behind the plate. But unlike Posada, Piazza was a behemoth with the bat, arguably the best hitting catcher in MLB history.
So take all the hand grenades he hurled at second base. Take all the pitches that sailed over his head or under his glove. Slap a lifetime .273 batting average on his bio. No, you don't have an immortal.
Maybe not all honored Yankees need be in the Hall of Fame, but they should at least be in the discussion. Or, at worst, their careers were truncated by injury (Don Mattingly) or premature death (Thurman Munson).
Sal Licata fired off a rather clever tweet, saying he saw a passed ball during the ceremony. Cheap shot? Sure. But why not? If you stuff this stuff down our collective throats, insult our intelligence and sense of history by forcing Posada into the blessed acreage behind left field, then beware our indignity.
And there was the whole Red Sox saga, when Posada pulled himself from a nationally televised game because he was pouting over his place in the batting order. There were a hysterical litany of reasons he allegedly had for leaving the game, from a bad back to a talk with his wife. WFAN hosts Boomer & Carton famously turned the fiasco into an ad hoc game show, which still makes many of us chuckle.
Why are the Yankees so eager to retire jerseys? By the time they're done there won't be enough left over for a full squad to field. Maybe the Russell Martin "Yankeeography" will get the world's attention, and will implore the team to stop the madness.
It's not like the Yanks lack history, memorabilia or endless chachkies to sell on Steiner, or whomever the latest pimp in pinstripes is.
They sell dirt, seats, cups and coins. And now, the hardest sale of all is convincing us that Posada is an immortal.
Follow Jason on Twitter @JasonKeidel.
for more features.