The start of free agency this past week coincided with rumors that longtime San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey planned to retire after a resurgent 2021 season. The 34-year-old confirmed those reports in a news conference at Oracle Park.
Posey’s announcement to step away from the game has been met with numerous congratulatory messages from players and teams across the league. The Los Angeles Dodgers recognized him in a tweet, and Clayton Kershaw reflected on the many hard fought battles between them on the field.
Much of the conversation has also been on Posey’s case for the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Despite retiring sooner than expected, he had an impressive career that rivals some of the all-time greats at the catcher position.
Kershaw went as far as calling Posey the best backstop of his generation and believes he is a surefire lock for the Hall of Fame, via NBC Sports Bay Area:
“I have no idea what the rules are, or different standards for a catcher or anything like that, but as far as in our era of catchers, he’s the best offensively and defensively. He’s won the World Series, he’s got the hardware, he’s done the MVP thing, done the Rookie of the Year thing. I don’t know what it all entails, I don’t know what you have to do to become a Hall of Famer.
“All I know is his body of work over the last 12 years, he’s been the best catcher in the game, so that’s got to stand for something. Obviously we’ve had Yadier Molina, Salvador Perez, Joe Mauer, had a lot of great catchers. But to me, both sides of the ball, I think Buster is the best.”
During his time with the Giants, Posey was named 2010 NL Rookie of the Year, 2012 MVP and he won four Silver Slugger Awards, one Gold Glove and a batting title. He of course was also the starting catcher for three Giants teams that won the World Series (2010, 2012, 2014).
For as good as Posey was offensively, Kershaw held him to a .221/.267/.327 batting line in 113 at-bats. The seven-time All-Star hit an overall .293/.368/.430 with 29 doubles, 19 home runs and 75 RBI in 176 games against the Dodgers.
Roberts commended Posey for family-first decision
During his news conference, Posey cited a desire to spend more time with his wife, Kristen, and their four children as the driving factor to retire at 34 years old.
Posey also had his family in mind when he opted out of the 2020 season due to concerns over the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“Professionally, it’s not the worst thing to not have to see him playing for the Giants this season,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts joked at the time. “And I say that tongue-in-cheek. I support him and his family.”
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