Saturday, January 7, 2012

Posada Surefire Hall Of Famer Due to Steroids Era

He has more than 2,300 hits and was a cornerstone of a Yankees dynasty, playing, arguably, the most difficult position on the field, catcher.

As a catcher, he didn't win any Golden Gloves awards, but he was the backbone to the pitching staff and took control when necessary.  He played defense with abandon, throwing plenty of runners out and standing up to the biggest of blows at the plate.

Joe Torre once said, "In a clubhouse with a lot of prominent people, Jorge Posada takes a backseat to no one."

He was the Captain after the Captain, Derek Jeter.  Posada will be most remembered for winning 5 championships during his playing time.  He was a key element in most of them with timely hitting during the regular season and the playoffs.

Posada was a productive switch-hitter, with more than 1,000 RBI's and 275 home runs.

But, his numbers at first glance, may not seem to be enough for the Hall Of Fame.

For example, his numbers fall short of other HOF catchers.  Johnny Bench, Carlton Fisk, Gary Carter and Yogi Berra are all 50 to 70 or so home runs and 200 to 250 or so RBI's ahead of Posada.

Posada has other things going for him, though.  Number one, he played his ball in the most prime part of the steroids bulging times.

He would likely be a top-tier candidate for baseball's Hall Of Fame no matter what.  But, in 5 years when he is eligible, he could be a first ballot Hall Of Famer.  It's unlikely, but there's a chance for it.

First ballot Hall Of Famers don't come around as often.  And, in coming years, it's going to be exceptionally tough to find them.

Baseball has already spent a couple of years giving Hall Of Fame recognition to older ballot guys. Most recently, the honor has been bestowed on Bert Blyleven, Andre Dawson, Rich (Goose) Gossage and Jim Rice.

There's nothing wrong with older ballot ballplayers going in, but for baseball's sake, the fanbase doesn't get to connect quickly.  They are made to wait and the game suffers for it.  Fans pass away or in Ron Santo's sake, the player passes away.

Arguments can be made that these players should have been first ballot guys anyways or at least shouldn't have been made to wait for so many years to pass before making it.

Then, there's the distinct possibility they're only making it because the steroids era will be leaving a void in the HOF.

Ken Griffey Jr. will make it for sure on his first try, so will others from the 5-time Yankee World Series Champs and the sterling pitchers of the Atlanta Braves from the 90's, but there aren't too many others out there.  Mike Piazza and Ivan (Pudge) Rodriguez come to mind.  But, all the ones with the inflated numbers who could have made it ruined it with allegations of steroid use.

One of Posada's greatest strengths and considerations for the HOF will be his integrity he showed towards the game.  He didn't succumb to the pressure of steroids.  He was around guys who have admitted to it, Jason Giambi and Andy Pettitte, but he apparently never took part in it.

Posada has other advantages, too.  He had the privilege of playing for baseball's most storied franchise and for sticking with them all of his 17 seasons.

Few players can say they spent their entire careers with one team.  Many Hall Of Famers have had difficulty figuring which ballcap they will be enshrined wearing.  This won't be a problem for #20.

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