Jorge Posada Deserves Another Chance at Hall of Fame

Jorge Posada
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With Yogi Berra, Bill Dickey, and Elston Howard, the New York Yankees have a rich history of catchers. Jorge Posada is among them, too. He was an all-star and silver slugger five times, and a World Series champion four times. He was often behind the plate for two of the best postseason pitchers in history, Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera.  Posada is one of the most popular catchers of all time. Portraying that hardwork and grittiness that made him a fan favorite in New York, Jorge Posada deserves better. In his only chance on the Hall of Fame ballot, he received 3.8% and fell off.

Catcher Comparison

Let’s look at the offensive numbers for two catchers:

Jorge Posada: 48.6 oWAR, 275 HR, 1065 RBI, .273/.374/.474, .848 OPS, 121 OPS+, 17 YRS

Ted Simmons: 53.6 oWAR, 248 HR, 1389 RBI, .285/.348/.437, .785 OPS, 118 OPS+, 21 YRS

Ted Simmons is a Hall of Fame catcher who, similar to Posada, received only 3.7% of the vote in his first year on the ballot. He was elected into the Hall by the Veterans Committee back in 2019. The two catchers have similar numbers yet Posada’s were still better. Simmons has a higher overall bWAR (50.3 to 42.7). Simmons was a better defender, but also played four more years than Posada. If Posada plays three or four more seasons, it’s very reasonable to think that his oWAR and his overall bWAR might be about as high or higher than Simmons. Posada has him beat in home runs, OBP, SLG, OPS, and OPS+. This is not to say that Posada is a better overall player than Simmons because defense counts too, especially at positions such as catcher.

There is one big difference between their numbers and that is Simmons accrued 2,472 hits in his 21 seasons. On the other hand, Posada racked up only 1,664 hits. Simmons’ total ranks second amongst Hall of Fame catchers, while Posada’s total would rank 12th. It is rare to find Hall of Famers with fewer than 2,000 hits, but the catcher position only has seven. Posada’s hit total surpasses Roy Campanella and Mickey Cochrane, among others.

Jorge Posada’s Career Numbers

Posada played the majority of his career in the 2000s. Posada was arguably the best hitting catcher in baseball throughout the decade; with a line of .280/.384/.489 (.872 OPS), 128 OPS+, and a 162-game average of 26 homers and 100 runs batted in. He had three seasons in which he posted a 139 OPS+ and .922 OPS or better, which is elite. These were 2000, 2003, and 2007; years in which he also put up at least 5.4 bWAR. Posada’s true offensive value came in his ability to get on base. Think about Aaron Judge for a second. He has a career .386 OBP in five full seasons, which practically mirrors Posada’s .384 during the 2000s.

Now let’s look at his numbers through a historical perspective and how he ranks among all other catchers in baseball’s illustrious history. Posada ranks within the top 20 of many different numbers among catchers. He’s 18th in bWAR (42.7), 19th in JAWS (37.7), 16th in WAR7 (32.6), 11th in doubles (379), 9th in HR (275), 12th in RBI (1065), 4th in walks (936), 21st in OBP (.374), 15th in SLG (.474), and 10th in OPS (.848). Those are a lot of numbers and ranking in the top-20 among all catchers in the sport’s history is a pretty big deal.

Is Jorge Posada a Hall of Famer?

Jorge Posada is no Johnny Bench, Ivan Rodriguez, or Yogi Berra. They are the greatest catchers of all time. However, Posada deserves a longer look for the Hall of Fame than the one he got. Similar to Simmons, maybe he’ll get that by way of the Today’s Game Committee which votes on players from 1988-present. They will be voting again in December 2022 and December 2024 for the 2023 and 2025 Hall of Fame classes. Posada is a  borderline candidate; it is easy to see people applauding the committee if they vote him in, but also easy to see people criticizing the decision to vote him in. Whether Posada ever gets elected to the Hall of Fame or not, he should be remembered in Major League Baseball as one of the best offensive catchers of his day.

Players Mentioned: Yogi Berra, Bill Dickey, Elston Howard, Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera, Ted Simmons, Roy Campanella, Mickey Cochrane, Aaron Judge, Johnny Bench, Ivan Rodriguez, Yogi Berra

Main Photo: Embed from Getty Images