Buster Posey

From BR Bullpen

Gerald Dempsey Posey

BR page

Biographical Information[edit]

Catcher Buster Posey, who broke into the majors in 2009, won the 2010 National League Rookie of the Year Award and the 2012 National League Most Valuable Player Award.

Posey was on the US junior national team in 2004. In the 2004 World Junior Championship, he was 1 for 5 as the backup third baseman to Brandon Snyder. He was the only US hurler to start two games, going 0-1 with a 1.23 ERA, 7 strikeouts and 7 walks in 7 innings. He had a run and a RBI in the Bronze Medal game against South Korea.

Posey was 10-1 with a 1.53 ERA as a high school junior and hit .544, setting school records in hits (56) and RBI (46). He batted .462 as a senior with 14 homers, 48 runs and 40 RBI in 104 AB while going 12-0 with a 1.06 ERA and fanning 108. He set school records for career RBI (106), home runs (24) and runs (105). He also graduated 4th in a class of 302 with a 3.938 GPA. He was named the Gatorade Player of the Year for Georgia and Baseball America named him as a second-team high school All-American utility man alongside Jordan Schafer and behind Zach Putnam and Colby Rasmus. Prospects Plus ranked him the #18 prospect in the country. Due to a strong college commitment, he was not picked until the 50th round of the 2005 amateur draft, when the California Angels selected him.

Posey batted .346/.433/.467 as a freshman at Florida State University and fielded .933 while playing shortstop. He moved to catcher for his sophomore season and hit .382/.453/.520 with 21 doubles, second in the Atlantic Coast Conference to teammate Tony Thomas Jr. Posey was 4th in the ACC in average and scored 66 runs while driving in 65. The only negative was a lack of pop as he only homered three times. Posey threw out 40.9% of attempted base-stealers. He joined Matt Wieters on the All-ACC team, splitting honors as the top catcher. Posey was named second-team All-American by Baseball America (behind Wieters) and first-team by Collegiate Baseball. Ed Easley won the Johnny Bench Award and was named first-team American Baseball Coaches Association All-American ahead of Wieters and Posey. He hit .281/.361/.375 for the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox in the Cape Cod League that summer. Baseball America rated him as the #23 prospect in the Cod League.

On May 13, 2008, Posey played all nine positions in a game. He was 1 for 3 with 2 walks and 4 RBI as well. He started the contest at catcher then manned the infield spots from the 2nd through 5th innings. After that, he appeared in the three outfield slots and on the mound. He struck out two of the batters he faced.

Posey dazzled in the 2008 college season, hitting .468 through June 3rd with 24 home runs, a .572 OBP and 86 RBI, numbers that are rare in NCAA Division II let alone an elite Division I conference. He won the Collegiate Baseball Player of the Year award, Golden Spikes Award, Johnny Bench Award and Dick Howser Trophy. He was under consideration by both the Tampa Bay Rays and Pittsburgh Pirates, who held the first two picks in the 2008 amateur draft, making Tampa Bay's final two list and Pittsburgh's final three list. Both teams passed and he went 5th in the draft, to the San Francisco Giants.

Posey was signed by scout Sean O'Connor and debuted as a pro with the AZL Giants on August 22nd, going 1 for 5 with a run against the AZL Rangers. A little over a year later, on September 11, 2009, he made his major league debut for the Giants against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Buster started the 2010 season in the minors, then was called up to San Francisco in late May, playing his first game on May 29th. He quickly established himself as the team's starting catcher, allowing the Giants to get rid of Benji Molina. In 108 games, he hit .305/.357/.505, with 23 doubles, 18 homers and 67 RBI. That performance earned him the 2010 National League Rookie of the Year Award and a spot on the 2010 Topps All-Star Rookie Team. The Giants made it to the postseason, and Posey hit .375 in the NLDS, where the Giants defeated the Atlanta Braves. He had four hits in Game 4 of the NLCS against the Philadelphia Phillies. Only one rookie backstop had previously had a four-hit postseason game - Joe Garagiola in the 1946 World Series. In the World Series, he guided the Giants' pitching staff expertly and went 6 for 20 with a homer as the team won its first World Championship since moving to San Francisco, CA in 1958.

On May 25, 2011, Posey suffered a season-ending injury in a collision at home plate with Scott Cousins of the Florida Marlins, breaking a leg and dislocating an ankle. Ironically, the injury came a few days after the Giants brass had expressed concerns about Posey's health if he continued to play catcher, following a few incidents when he was hurt by foul tips behind the plate. Posey was hitting .284/.368/.389 in 45 games at the time of the injury. The injury led Buster's manager, Bruce Bochy, a former catcher himself, to call for a ban on home plate collision, a campaign which culminated when owners decided to adopt a rule to that effect at the 2013 Winter Meetings.

He returned with a vengeance in 2012, leading the Giants to the NL West title with a superlative season. He hit .336 with 24 home runs and 103 RBI, earning the NL's Comeback Player of the Year Award and being voted the NL MVP. His batting average was considered the highest in the league, giving him the batting title, because Major League Baseball had decided to disqualify teammate Melky Cabrera, who had a higher average but was a couple of at-bats short of qualifying for the award when he was suspended for the remainder of the season for failing a doping test. No catcher had won the NL batting title for 70 years, not since Ernie Lombardi had done it. He was part of the Giants team that won a second World Series title in three years, hitting a pair of homers in the NLDS as the Giants defeated the Cincinnati Reds in five games, then going 4 for 26 in the NLCS win over the St. Louis Cardinals and 4 for 15 with another homer in the World Series as the Giants swept the Detroit Tigers.

On March 29, 2013, Posey signed an eight-year contract extension with the Giants for $159 million, taking him to 2021. It was the largest deal in major league history for a player with three seasons or less of major league service, and the second largest ever for a catcher, behind Joe Mauer's contract with the Minnesota Twins. He lost an RBI double on July 6th in a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers because of a mistake by his manager, Bruce Bochy. Bochy had inscribed him in 4th place in the official line-up, but third in the one posted in the team's dugout. Thus, Posey went to the plate in the third spot in the 1st inning and hit an RBI double, but the Dodgers immediately appealed his batting out of order. As a result, Pablo Sandoval, who should have been up, was declared out, the hit and RBI were wiped out, and when he took his proper turn at bat, he flied out to end the inning. He was named to the All-Star team for the second time, and two days later, on July 8th, had one of the best games of his career in a losing cause: he went 5 for 8 with two doubles and a homer as the Giants lost to the New York Mets, 4-3, in 16 innings, in spite of his heroics. He hit .294 in 148 games that season, with 15 homers and 72 RBIs.

Posey won his third World Series ring in 2014, when he hit .311 in 147 games, with 22 homers and 89 RBIs. Ironically, it was the only time he missed playing in the All-Star Game in a five-year span, even though he was the best offensive player on the eventual World Champions. He did finish 6th in the MVP voting and received a Silver Slugger Award. In the postseason, he went 2 fr 5 with a run and an RBI as the Giants defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates in the Wild card Game and was 7-for-18 in an upset of the Washington Nationals in the Division Series. He did not do as well in the next two series, going a combined 8 for 46 with no extra-base hits, but did drive in 5 runs. The Giants topped the Kansas City Royals in seven games that year.

In 2015, he played a career-high 150 games and hit .318 with 18 homers and 95 RBIs in another brilliant season with the bat. He returned to the All-Star Game after a one-year hiatus, won another Silver Slugger Award and this time was 9th in the MVP vote. The Giants missed the postseason however. They did make it in 2016, keeping up their decade-long pattern of shining in even-numbered years, although it was a but of a roller coaster season. They were the best team in the majors in the first half of the year, then struggled badly in the second half to barely limp into the postseason, where they upset the New York Mets in the Wild Card Game before giving the eventual World Champions, the Chicago Cubs a run for their money in the Division Series. For his part, Buster hit .288 with 14 homers and 80 RBIs, his worst numbers since his shortened 2011 season. He did make his fourth appearance in an All-Star Game, and won a Gold Glove for the first time, beating out the great Yadier Molina for the honor. He went hitless in the Wild Card Game but was a solid 5 for 15 in the Division Series.

Posey started the 2017 season very strong, going 7-for-21 with 2 doubles and a homer in his first seven games, but on April 10th had to leave a game against the Arizona Diamondbacks when he was hit in the helmet by a Taijuan Walker fastball in the 1st inning. He was placed on the seven-day concussion list as a precautionary measure after the game. On May 12th, he hit the latest walk-off homer in San Francisco history when he connected off Robert Stephenson of the Cincinnati Reds with one out in the 17th inning, giving the Giants a 3-2 win after 5 hours and 28 minutes. His homer beat the previous team record, a 16th-inning blast by Willie Mays off Warren Spahn on July 2, 1963. While the Giants had a dreadful first half, it was not the case for Buster, who was leading the National League with a .341 average at the end of June. He was voted the starting catcher at the 2017 All-Star Game, his fifth All-Star nod. He finished the season at .320 in 140 games, with 12 homers and 76 RBIs. In 2018, with the Giants playing much better, he received his sixth All-Star nod but decided to decline participating in the game in order to use the break to undergo an injection to treat inflammation in his hip that had been bothering him for a number of weeks. In late August, the Giants announced that he was contemplating undergoing season-ending surgery to address the problem, which had continued to bother him. It had sapped his power, as he had not homered since June. He played his last game on August 24th and ended the year at .284 with 5 homers and 41 RBIs in 105 games.

In 2019, he was on the injured list a couple of times, first with a concussion in May, then with a hamstring strain in June, and as a result played just 114 games. He hit .257, his lowest average ever, with 7 homers and 38 RBIs. For the first time in his career, his OPS+ was below 100, at 84. He then announced on July 10, 2020 that he would sit out the season due to concerns over the coronavirus pandemic. He had just become the adoptive father of twin girls born prematurely and did not want to take any risk given their health was particularly fragile. As a result, no one was quite sure what to expect from him when he returned to the Giants in 2021, but he got off to a tremendous start. After 21 games, he was hitting .397 with 8 homers and was one of the main reason his team was playing better than anyone expected. He was named an All-Star for the 7th time, and finished at .304 in 113 games, with 18 homers and 56 RBIs and an OPS+ of 140. He won the Silver Slugger Award for the 5th time. The Giants won a team record 107 games that year, but in the postseason had to face the 106-game-winning Los Angeles Dodgers in the Division Series. He had a good series, going 6 for 20 (.300) with 2 doubles and 1 homer, but the Giants were defeated in five games. Given his highly successful season, it was quite a surprise when word came out in early November that he had decided to retire, something which became official when he gave a press conference to that effect on November 4th. A couple of weeks later, he was named the winner of the NL Comeback Player of the Year Award, his second time winning the trophy, and in the meantime he had been named recipient of a Silver Slugger Award for the fifth time.

As soon as Posey announced his retirement, speculation began on whether he would eventually be elected to the Hall of Fame. He won just about every possible award, from Rookie of the Year to MVP, Gold Glove and Silver Slugger, not to mention 7 trips to the All-Star Game. He was a key member of three championship teams and won a batting title (a very rare feat for a catcher). On the other hand, his 12-year career is on the short side for a Hall of Famer, and as a result his counting stats are not that impressive, with just 1,500 career hits and 158 homers. However, these statistics were compiled as a catcher, a position where careers tend to be shorter, and it should also be taken into account that he was still a top-notch player when he retired, unlike many other catchers who extended their careers for a number of years while not contributing anything of value with their bat anymore. One better measure of his value is that among catchers who played 1000 or more games, he has the second highest OPS+, behind Mike Piazza, a sign that he was truly an elite player.

The Giants honored him with a special day on May 7, 2022, as his retirement had been such a surprise that fans had not been able to give him a proper send-off.

Buster is the first major leaguer born in Leesburg, GA, although a number of major leaguers were born in nearby Albany, GA, including Ray Knight.

Posey's younger brother, Jess, was a freshman IF/P for the University of Georgia in 2013.

In 2019, the Johnny Bench Award was renamed the Buster Posey Award in his honor, on the occasion of the 20th time the honor was bestowed. He was considered the most accomplished of the award's past winners, and also a more appropriate namesake than Johnny Bench, who, for all his prowess as a catcher, had never played college baseball.

Notable Achievements[edit]

NL Rookie of the Year
2009 2010 2011
Chris Coghlan Buster Posey Craig Kimbrel
2011 2012 2013
Ryan Braun Buster Posey Andrew McCutchen


Further Reading[edit]

  • "Roundtable: Is Posey a Hall of Famer?", mlb.com, November 4, 2021. [1]
  • David Adler: "The star duo having a throwback season", mlb.com, May 2, 2021. [2]
  • David Adler: "Mancini, Posey win Comeback Player of Year", mlb.com, November 22, 2021. [3]
  • Maria Guardado: "These are Buster's 10 Giant moments", mlb.com, May 28, 2020. [4]
  • Maria Guardado: "With newborn twins, Posey elects not to play", mlb.com, July 10, 2020. [5]
  • Maria Guardado: "Posey 'on a whole other level' leading SF", mlb.com, May 8, 2021. [6]
  • Maria Guardado: "Feeling 'at peace,' SF legend Posey retires", mlb.com, November 4, 2021. [7]
  • Chris Haft: "Best way to learn from Posey? Simply watch: Young veteran a natural for mentor role inherited from Molina", mlb.com, March 6, 2016. [8]
  • Jorge L. Ortiz: "MLB All-Star Game: Buster Posey's strange, stellar season sends him to Miami", USA Today Sports. July 2, 2017. [9]
  • Andrew Simon and Maria Guardado: "Source: Posey to announce retirement", mlb.com, November 3, 2021. [10]
  • Andrew Simon, Sarah Langs and Manny Randhawa: "12 great moments from Posey's 12-yr career", mlb.com, November 3, 2021. [11]

Related Sites[edit]