Results tagged ‘ Derek Jeter ’

Teixeira pulls cork out of Red Sox’ champagne

A hero one night, on the bench the next. That was the story with Tyler Austin, whose two-run home run in the seventh inning Tuesday night made the difference in the Yankees’ 6-4 victory over the Red Sox. All four of Austin’s homers have been go-ahead blasts to right field at Yankee Stadium.

Yet he was not in the lineup Wednesday night as manager Joe Girardi decided to go with Mark Teixeira at first base because of his familiarity with Boston starter Clay Buchholz. Tex is only a .161 hitter in 31 career at-bats against Buchholz, but two of his hits are home runs. Austin has never faced Buchholz.

The Red Sox righthander was long out of the game when Teixeira rewarded Girardi for his confidence in him. Tex kept the Yankees’ wafer-thin playoff hopes alive with a dramatic grand slam to cap an astounding ninth-inning comeback for a 5-3 victory that put a crimp in Boston’s plans to celebrate its clinching the American League East title.

The Red Sox did that minutes earlier when the Orioles pulled off a dramatic comeback of their own in Toronto with one run in the eighth and two in the ninth to knock off the Blue Jays, 3-2. Going into the bottom of the ninth inning at Yankee Stadium, it appeared as if the Yankees would suffer a double dose of pain by watching the Red Sox celebrate their clinching and being eliminated from the AL wild card race all at the same time. After all, the Yankees had only one hit over the first eight innings and seemed destined to go down without a fight.


Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel came in to finish the Yanks off but could not find the plate. Brett Gardner, the one Yankees hitter the Red Sox could not get out (two hits, two walks) started things off with a single to center. Kimbrel then walked the next three hitters to force in a run. The third walk was to Brian McCann, Kimbrel’s old catcher from their days together in Atlanta.

Boston manager John Farrell had seen enough and summoned Joe Kelly, who did the opposite and threw nothing but strikes. He fanned Starlin Castro on three pitches and retired Didi Gregorius on a foul pop. Kelly got ahead in the count 0-1 to Teixeira, who caught up with a 99-mph fastball on the next pitch and slammed it into the Yankees’ bullpen in right-center field for his 15th home run of the season and what he told the fans on the field “I hope it will be my last.”

Teixeira, who is retiring at the end of the season, has hit two huge home runs for the Yankees this week. The other was a solo shot in the ninth inning Monday night at Toronto that tied the score and headed the Yanks toward a five-run rally and 7-5 victory. He did not do much against Buchholz, but neither did anyone. Buchholz allowed one hit over six scoreless innings. Yankees starter Bryan Mitchell pitched seven innings of shutout ball and got away with five walks.

The Red Sox struck for three runs in the eighth off Adam Warren, although only one was earned due to an error by Castro. AL Most Valuable Player Award candidate Mookie Betts got the key hit, a two-run double, with the third run scoring on a passed ball by Gary Sanchez with another retiring player, David Ortiz chugging down the line.

In the end, the incredible finish was fashioned by the veteran first baseman who got the starting nod over the guy who was the hero the night before. The Yankees remained four games behind the Orioles with four to play, three against Baltimore after the series finale with Boston Thursday night.

Austin was 3-for-3 Tuesday night, which marked the third time this season that a hitter in the 9-hole had at least three hits in a game. Ronald Torreyes was 4-for-4 Aug. 19 at Anaheim, and Donovan Solano was 3-for-5 Sept. 21 at St. Petersburg, Fla. The Yankees ate tied with the Indians for the most such games this season.

With his 20th home run Tuesday night, Gregorius joined double-play partner Castro in the 20-homer club. Castro has 21 homers. The YES Network reports that Gregorius and Castro are only the third shortstop-second base combination aged 26 or younger in major-league history with at least 20 homers each. The other combos were the Astros’ Carlos Correa and Jose Altuve last year and the Mariners’ Alex Rodriguez and David Bell in 1999. Gregorius tied Tom Tresh (1962) and Roy Smalley (1982) for the fourth highest home run total for a shortstop in franchise history, topped only by Derek Jeter’s 24 in 1999, 23 in 2004 and 21 in 2001.

The Yankees’ 82nd victory guaranteed their 24th consecutive winning season, the second longest stretch in franchise history. The Yankees had 39 straight winning seasons from 1926 through 1964.

Gardner Yanks’ nominee for Clemente Award

Brett Gardner is the Yankees’ nominee for the 2016 Roberto Clemente Award and will be recognized before Wednesday night’s game against the Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium as part of the 15th annual Roberto Clemente Day.

The award has been presented annually since 1971 and named for the Hall of Fame outfielder two years later after his death in a plane crash while on a mission to Nicaragua to aid victims of an earthquake. The Roberto Clemente Award recognizes a player from each major league club who “best represents the game of baseball through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions, both on and off the field.”

Gardner was a charter member of the Taylor Hooton Foundation’s Advisory Board to educate youth about performance-enhancing drugs. The left fielder’s extensive community outreach also notably includes heavy involvement with the Ronald McDonald House in both New York and his home state of South Carolina.

Yankees winners of the award were Derek Jeter in 2009, Don Baylor in 1985 and Ron Guidry in 1984.

The Yankees’ top-five minor league affiliates all qualified for the 2016 postseason in their respective leagues: Triple-A Scranton/WB (91-52), Double-A Trenton (87-55), Single-A Tampa (77-58), Single-A Charleston (76-63) and Short-season Single-A Staten Island (44-31). The Yankees are one of two organizations whose minor league affiliates qualified for the postseason at all four full-season levels. The other is the Mariners. The Yankees’ four Yankees affiliates combined for a 331-228 (.592) record.

Yankees hope Angel Stadium is heaven sent

After dropping the final two games of the recent homestand, the Yankees need to take advantage of a sliding Angels club to get back into contention. The Yankees, who open a three-game set at Anaheim Friday night, swept the Angels in a four-game series at Yankee Stadium June 6-9, the Bombers’ first four-game sweep of the Halos since July 21-24, 1994.

The Yankees are 16-5 in the last 21 games between the teams since June 16, 2013 and have won or split their last eight season series against the Angels since 2009 with a 35-24 record in that span. The Yanks are 4-3 in their past seven games at Angel Stadium ut 9-12 in Orange County since 2010. Their 16-30 record at the Big ‘A’ since 2005 is their worst (.348) at any American League yard in that span. The Yankees have lost 12 of 15 series in Anaheim since 2005, including seven straight series losses from July 21, 2005 through July 12, 2009.

Rookie catcher Gary Sanchez, who batted cleanup Wednesday afternoon, was moved into the 3-hole Friday night. Sanchez has three home runs in his past two games and four homers over his past four games. He had multiple hits in all three games against the Blue Jays in which he had 7-for-10 with three runs, three homers, five RBI and two walks. In his past seven games, Sanchez has a slash line of .481/.517/1.037 with seven runs, five homers and eight RBI in 27 at-bats.

Batting cleanup Wednesday for the first time in his career, Sanchez hit a solo home run. At 23 years, 259 days old, he was only the third Yankees player since 1975 to start in the cleanup spot before turning 24, joining Jay Buhner (23 years, 52 days) Oct. 4, 1987 against the Orioles and Don Mattingly (23years, 102 days) July 31, 1984 against the Brewers. The YES Network noted that Sanchez was the youngest Yankees player to homer out of the No. 4 spot in the starting lineup since Bobby Murcer (23 years, 101 days) Aug. 29, 1969.

In the cleanup spot Friday night was Brian McCann as the designated hitter. McCann entered play having hit safely in 15 consecutive road games and batting .350 with five homers and nine RBI in 60 at-bats during the streak, the longest by a Yankees player since the franchise record 44-gamer on the road by Derek Jeter from Aug. 20, 2006 through May 28, 2007.

Rookie right fielder Aaron Judge has a slash line of .389/.450/.778 with three runs, one double, two homers and four RBI in his first five major league games totaling 18 at-bats.

Former Yankees’ impressions of Alex Rodriguez

Views of Alex Rodriguez from those who were around him with the Yankees:

Hall of Fame manager Joe Torre, now Major League Baseball’s chief baseball officer: “Alex was a hard worker, a genuine fan of the game and possessed great ability. In our time together, I always knew that the game mattered to him. Baseball teaches all of us at some point, and I think he should be proud of the way he carried himself these last two years. I wish Alex and his family all the best in the future.”

Derek Jeter: “I’ve spent 22 years playing against, playing with and watching Alex from afar, and there are two things that stand out to me the most: the conversations we had when we were young — hoping for the opportunity to play at the Major League level and then somehow finding a way to stick around — and the championship we won together in 2009. That was a season everyone on that team can cherish. What people don’t realize is how much time, effort and work that Alex put in on a daily basis. He lives and breathes baseball. I know it will be difficult for him to not be on the field, but I’m sure he will continue to give back to the game. Congrats, Alex.”

Andy Pettitte: “I had a chance to see Alex as a young player in the league, and I knew immediately he was going to be special. It was always fun competing against Alex, but I really enjoyed having the opportunity to play side-by-side with him in New York. He was a big reason we were able to win the 2009 World Series. I wish Alex and his family nothing but the best moving forward.”

Jorge Posada: “Alex was not only one of the best players in the world, he was also one of the smartest players on the field. It was such a great combination. Please go have fun and enjoy your family — you are an awesome dad. I’m very proud of you.”

Mariano Rivera: “It was a privilege to play with Alex. Through his preparation and work ethic, you saw how much he cared about this game and about helping this team win. I love him — as a friend and as a teammate. He was all you could ask for in both.”

Robinson Cano, now with the Mariners: “He’s one of the best players who ever played. He’s a guy who worked hard. I’ve never seen a guy who worked harder than him. There are three things that I can say. He loves baseball, he’s a guy who works hard and a guy who loved to win. He was a great teammate. For me, he was one of the best teammates I’ve had and a guy who helped me when I first came up and I appreciate all of the things he has done for me.”

Gregorius sparks Yankees’ comeback victory

The Yankees showed signs of life Thursday night in a 5-4 victory over the Indians in the first game of a four-game series leading into the All-Star break. It represented a change on the trip in that the Yanks lost the series openers in both San Diego and Chicago to clubs inferior to Cleveland, which has a comfortable lead in the American League Central.

The Yankees went on to lose each series to the Padres and White Sox and would like nothing better than to reverse that against the Tribe and their formidable rotation. Former AL Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber, who was named as a replacement pitcher on the AL All-Star squad, was to start Friday night against Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre call-up Chad Green, who pitched so well last Sunday in a 6-3 victory at San Diego that he replaced Nathan Eovaldi in the Yankees’ rotation.

The Yankees overcame a 2-0 deficit by striking in the middle innings with two runs in the fifth and three in the sixth against Trevor Bauer (7-3). Ivan Nova, who improved to 6-5, gave up solo home runs to Jason Kipnis and rookie Tyler Naquin in the third.

Didi Gregorius, who has been the Yankees’ most consistent hitter the past two months, began the comeback in the fifth with his 10th home run. Chase Headley and Rob Refsnyder followed with singles, and a two-out knock by Brett Gardner tied the score.

The same group chased Bauer in the sixth. One-out singles by Starlin Castro, Gregorius and Headley put the Yankees in front. A sacrifice fly by Rob Refsnyder and a two-out single by Jacoby Ellsbury increased the Yanks’ lead to 5-2.

The Indians were not finished at that point, however. It took the No Rums DMC unit of the bullpen to calm matter after the Tribe’s Carlos Santana and Kipnis laced doubles off Nova, who let in the second run of the inning with a wild pitch.

Dellin Betances finished that inning with two groundouts and withstood a two-out single and stolen base by Naquin in the seventh before Andrew Miller supplied a 1-2-3 eighth and Aroldis Chapman collected his 17th save by helping himself with a stretch at first base to take a throw from Castro for the final out. Indians manager Terry Francona challenged the umpire’s call, but it was upheld after a video review.

The Yankees are doing quite well in that element of the game. They successfully overturned both of their manager’s challenges Thursday night and have overturned two calls in three of their past six games, going 2-for-3 Wednesday at Chicago and 2-for-2 last Saturday at San Diego. Before to this stretch, the Yankees had lobbied twice in the same game on only one occasion since the review system was implemented for the 2014 season and were 1-for-2 April 14, 2014 at Toronto. The Yanks had not won two challenges in a game until this stretch.

Since June 28, the Yankees have overturned eight of their past nine replay challenges and 13-of-20 (65.0%) this season (three stands, four confirmed). From 2014-15, the Yankees had a major-league best 77.6% success rate on replay challenges (58 challenges, 45 overturned), leading the majors in success rate in both seasons.

With his 10th homer, Gregorius established a career high. His previous best was nine last year in 155 games, 70 more than the Yanks have played in ’16. Gregorius has homered in four of his past eight games. He has multiple hits in five of 10 games since June 27 and is hitting .381 with nine runs, three doubles, four homers, seven RBI and two stolen bases in 42 at-bats. Since June 14, Gregorius has produced a slash line of .369/.384/.655 with 18 runs, four doubles, one triple, six home runs, 18 RBI and three steals in 21 games and 84 at-bats to raise his season average 30 points to .296, its highest level since April 12 when he was hitting .333.

Gregorius is the fourth Yankees shortstop to hit at least 10HR before the All-Star break (since 1933, when the All-Star Game was first played). The others were Derek Jeter, who did it six times (1998-99, 2002, ‘04-05, ‘09), Roy Smalley (1983) and Frankie Crosetti (1936).

Gregorius is also one of five major-league shortstops hitting .290 or better with 10 home runs. The other four were all picked for the All-Star Game: the Indians’ Francisco Lindor, the Twins’ Eduardo Nunez, the Dodgers’ Corey Seager and the Giants’ Aledmys Diaz.

Key contributions from keystone duo

It may be a very long time before the Yankees see a keystone combination with the combined offensive productivity of Derek Jeter and Robinson Cano of the not so long ago. Two games into the 2016 season, however, there has been much to enjoy about the combined efforts of this year’s shortstop-second base combo of Didi Gregorius and Starlin Castro.

The pair have done more damage at the bottom of the lineup than those at the top for the Yankees. Castro, who had a two-run double in Tuesday’s Opening Day loss, probably had the most important hit Wednesday night as the Yankees came off the canvas for a 16-6 romp of the Astros. After Michael Pineda nearly gave up all of a 6-1 lead as Houston closed to 6-5 in the top of the second, Castro crushed a three-run home run in the bottom of the inning to put the Yankees back in command.

It was a four-hit, five-RBI night for Castro, who was acquired from the Cubs in an offseason trade for pitcher Adam Warren. After watching Stephen Drew struggle to hit .200 last year, it has been a treat so far to see a Yankees second baseman handle the bat so well. In addition to his three-run bomb, Castro knocked in two more runs with singles in the six-run first inning and the three-run seventh. In only his second season at second base after being moved there from shortstop last year,  Castro has looked comfortable in the field as well.

Gregorius, who settled in nicely as Jeter’s successor in 2015 after a shaky start, has broken out of the gate much better this year. He hit an impressive home run Tuesday and followed that with three singles Wednesday night. From the 8-9 holes, Castro and Gregorius are batting a combined .563 with two doubles, two home runs and eight RBI in 16 at-bats. Contrast that with the 1-2-3 hitters for the Yankees, who have combined for one hit in 22 at-bats (.045). 

With Castro’s double and Gregorius’ home run Tuesday, it  marked the first time since at least 1913 that the Yankees’ starting middle infield pairing both had extra-base hits and RBIs on Opening Day. The YES Network reported that Castro and Gregorius, both 26, are the Yankees’ youngest regular starting middle infield pairing since 1977 with second baseman Willie Randolph, 22, and shortstop Bucky Dent, 25, who played together for three-plus seasons.

Gregorius became the third Yankees shortstop to homer on Opening Day. Jeter did it three times, all of which came on the road — April 2, 1996 at Cleveland, April 5, 1999 at Oakland and April 1, 2002 at Baltimore. Dent went deep April 9, 1981 at Yankee Stadium against Texas.

It would be too much to ask Castro and Gregorius to duplicate some of the seasons Jeter and Cano had together, but so far so good.


‘Tex’ is Yanks’ Clemente Award nominee for 2015

Mark Teixeira is the Yankees’ 2015 nominee for the prestigious Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevrolet. Wednesday, Sept. 16, marks the 14th annual Roberto Clemente Day, which was established by Major League Baseball to honor Clemente’s legacy and to recognize officially the 30 club finalists for the award given annually to a major league player who best represents the game through positive contributions on and off the field, including sportsmanship and community involvement.

Teixeira, who is sidelined for the remainder of the season due to a right shinbone fracture, has been involved in charitable endeavors throughout his major-league career. In 2006, the first baseman and his wife, Leigh, established the Mark Teixeira Charitable Fund, an initiative that awarded several scholarships to students from multiple high schools in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area.

Three years later, Teixeira served as spokesman for the National Foundation for Cancer Research through the organization’s “Help Strike Out Sun Damage” program. He endowed a scholarship at his alma mater, Mt. St. Joseph High School in Baltimore, to honor his friend, Nick Liberatore, who died in a car accident while the two were in school together. Tex also established the Mark C. Teixeira Athletic Scholarship Fund at Georgia Tech, where he attended college.

Teixeira has been an avid supporter of Harlem RBI, a nonprofit organization in East Harlem, that provides more than 1,700 boys and girls with year-round academic, sports and enrichment programs. In 2010, he became a member of their board of directors and made a donation of $100,000 to the organization’s college preparation program. In 2011, he was honored at Harlem RBI’s “Bid for Kids” gala, which helped raise $2.25 million.

Since then, Teixeira has chaired the event each of the last four years as it has raised a combined $14.8 million. In 2011, he donated $1 million to Harlem RBI and launched his own “Dream Team 25” campaign to call on his fans to raise additional funds for its partnership with DREAM charter school to construct a 450-seat public charter school facility, community center, 87 units of low-income housing and a rebuilt public park. The project is designed to serve as a model for urban development.

In addition, Teixeira, who is the co-chair of the Harlem RBI’s $20 million Capital Campaign and the chair of its Home Run Leadership Council, continues to work with MLB to connect fellow players in support of local RBI programs around the country.

Teixeira has made personal visits to the Harlem facility, reading to students and providing baseball instruction to them. Notably, since Teixeira joined the organization, Harlem RBI has expanded its efforts to reach Mott Haven in the South Bronx, with special attention on the Paterson Houses. This year he organized Yankees teammates Alex Rodriguez and Brett Gardner to participate in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge along with Harlem RBI youth.

The Yankees will recognize Teixeira’s nomination for this year’s Roberto Clemente Award with an on-field ceremony Thursday, Sept. 24, prior to their 7:05 p.m. game against the White Sox.

Beginning on Roberto Clemente Day, fans are encouraged to participate in the process of selecting the winner of the award by visiting, which is powered by MLB Advanced Media, to vote for one of the 30 Club nominees. Voting ends Friday, Oct. 9, and participating fans will be automatically registered for a chance to win a trip to the 2015 World Series, where the winner of the Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevrolet will be announced.

The concept of honoring players for their philanthropic work was created in 1971 as the Commissioner’s Award but was renamed the Roberto Clemente Award in 1973 in honor of the Hall of Fame right fielder and 15- time All-Star who died in a plane crash New Year’s Eve 1972 while attempting to deliver supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua.

Yankees players who have received the Clemente Award were Ron Guidry in 1984, Don Baylor in 1985 and Derek Jeter in 2009. Others who played for the Yankees but won the award while with other clubs were Phil Niekro with the Braves in 1980, Dave Winfield with the Twins in 1994, Al Leiter with the Mets in 2000 and Carlos Beltran with the Cardinals in 2013. Leiter’s broadcast partner in the YES Network booth, Ken Singleton, won the award in 1982 with the Orioles.

Among the other winners are Hall of Famers Willie Mays, Brooks Robinson, Al Kaline, Willie Stargell, Lou Brock, Rod Carew, Gary Carter, Cal Ripken Jr., Barry Larkin, Ozzie Smith, Kirby Puckett and Tony Gwynn.

Too bad Pettitte was not warming up

What the Yankees needed on Andy Pettitte Day Sunday at Yankee Stadium was, well, Andy Pettitte.

Another nostalgic ceremony to retire Pettitte’s No. 46 and install a plaque in Monument Park honoring his pitching career with the Yankees was barely over when CC Sabathia gave up a two-run home run to Indians first baseman Carlos Santana in the first inning in what turned out an ominous day for the big lefthander.

There was no one warming up in the bullpen in the third inning when Sabathia had to come out of the game because of an injury to his surgical right knee. Yankees manager Joe Girardi had to rely on a couple of Scranton shuttle guys, Nick Rumbelow and Branden Pinder, to get through the middle innings.

A chant of “Andy Pettitte” from the bleachers sprung up several times from fans with fond memories of his grim determination on the mound over an 18-season major league career, all but three of them with the Yankees, that included an additional 276 1/3 innings of postseason work that produced a 19-11 record and four World Series championships.

“I just don’t remember ever going out there and feeling like I’m going to step on this mound and absolutely dominate this team because I am so good,” Pettitte told the crowd earlier. “I know some of the great players have felt like that. Every game at the big-league level, mentally, I had to be into it every pitch. It seemed like if I let my focus down for one inning, it was going to be a three-run inning. I needed every ounce of focus and energy to be successful.”

Andy Pettitte

Andy Pettitte

The Yankees had coaxed Pettitte out of retirement once before, in 2012. Too bad they could not do it again Sunday.

The only work for Pettitte Sunday was getting through a well-constructed speech in which he thanked his family, former teammates, the Steinbrenner family and even us writers, whom he said treated him fairly over the years.

Joining him on the field for the pregame ceremony were fellow Core Four partners Mariano Rivera, Derek Jeter and Saturday’s honoree Jorge Posada as well as other former teammates Bernie Williams, Paul O’Neill, David Cone, Scott Brosius, Tino Martinez and Hideki Matsui; former trainer Gene Monahan; former executive Gene Michael; Hall of Famers Reggie Jackson and former manager Joe Torre; managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner and vice president Jennifer Steinbrenner Swindal.

“We experienced some amazing wins, some heartbreaking losses,” Pettitte added. “Through it all, this place has become home to me and my family.”

Sabathia was supposed to be Pettitte’s successor as the senior voice on the pitching staff, but he has been slowed down by a knee that has been operated on twice and which was drained twice over the past two months. Sabathia admitted to Girardi that he felt discomfort while warming up but did not say anything until he was interrogated by his manager on the mound.

“It has been a watch for us all year long as we knew it would be,” Girardi said. “For him to say something on the mound it had to be pretty sore.”

Sabathia, who was to undergo an MRI exam late Sunday, has not been himself most of the season. He is 4-9 with a 5.27 ERA, and his record could be worse if the Yankees had not come back from trailing in games to get him off the hook eight times, including Sunday when they tied the score in the seventh inning on a two-run double by Carlos Beltran.

A comeback victory was not forthcoming, however, as Francisco Lindor finished off his second straight three-hit game with a solo home run off Dellin Betances in the eighth inning that held up for a 4-3 victory for the Indians, who were 5-2 against the Yankees this year.

It was almost as painful a game for the Stadium crowd of 46,945 to watch as it was for Sabathia. This was an absolute walkathon with Yankees pitchers combining for 10 walks (four by Sabathia) and the Indians for six. Despite all those free base runners the Yankees allowed, the score stayed close because the Tribe was 1-for-10 (.100) with runners in scoring position and left 11 on base, which would have been more if the Yanks had not turned four double plays.

Sabathia’s injury, which general manager Brian Cashman said would likely put him on the 15-day disabled list, botches plans the Yankees had of going to a six-man rotation with the return from the DL of Michael Pineda, who is scheduled to start Wednesday at the Stadium against the Astros.

The idea was to give an additional day of rest to all the starters, but that will have to go on hold for now. The Yankees could return Adam Warren to the rotation, but as well as he has pitched in relief they are reluctant to do that. The more likely choice for a sixth starter would be Bryan Mitchell, who was on the seven-day concussion list after being struck in the face by a batted ball Aug. 17. Cashman said Mitchell may pitch a simulated game this week.

All these pitching woes and the possibility the Yankees could drop out of first place put a damper on the special day for Pettitte, who might have been a big help had he been able to don a unifiorm.

Andy Pettitte’s Monument Park plaque

NEW YORK YANKEES 1995-2003, 2007-2010, 2012-2013




AUGUST 23, 2015

Posada joins legends in Monument Park

During Saturday’s ceremony at Yankee Stadium for former All-Star catcher Jorge Posada, whose uniform No. 20 was retired and who received a plaque in Monument Park, I got a text from my son Corey, who was watching on television from his home on Long Island.

“Watching this makes me feel very old!”

Corey is only 33. If he thought he felt old, how about me? I met Posada at his first spring training camp with the Yankees 20 years ago. There is a photo in the office of my Queens apartment of me presenting the James P. Dawson Award to Posada as the outstanding rookie in training camp for 1997 before a spring training game at Tampa, the year before there was a major league franchise in that area.

And now there was Posada, still trim but his wavy black hair turning grey, standing behind a podium surrounded by former teammates, Yankees dignitaries and his family drinking in praise from a sellout crowd in the Bronx talking about a career that does not seem all that long ago.

One of the feelings that these celebrations at the Stadium convey is the passage of time. Posada was an integral part of a period in Yankees history that was indeed glorious and to people of Corey’s generation a dominant part of their personal scrapbook, the way previous generations venerated the careers of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, Mickey Mantle, Bobby Murcer, Thurman Munson, Ron Guidry and Don Mattingly.

“I can’t believe I’m standing up here right now,” Posada told the crowd. “And I can tell you, I’ve never been nervous on a baseball field. Being here seems surreal. I can honestly tell you, this is one of the happiest days of my life.”

His partners in the Core Four — Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte, who will be honored Sunday — were in attendance as well as former teammates Bernie Williams, David Cone, Hideki Matsui and Paul O’Neill; former manager Joe Torre; former trainer Gene Monahan; former player, coach, manager and executive Gene Michael and general partner Jennifer Steinbrenner Swindal.

Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada, Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams (NY Daily News photo).

Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada, Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams (NY Daily News photo).

Posada was truly moved at being considered part of the legacy of great Yankees catchers that began with Bill Dickey and continued through Berra, Elston Howard and Munson, whose widow, Diane, was also on the field. Posada kept a baseball card of Munson in his locker throughout his playing career.

“I never saw myself as part of that group,” Posada said. “Just a lot of respect for the guys. It’s just being there with them now is such a great honor. I’m never going to forget this day.”

Berra, hobbled by painful knees, was unable to attend but sent Posada a personal message that was displayed and narrated on the video board in center field.

“You were a really good ball player for a long time,” Berra wrote. “I’m proud of you, kid.”

Posada could not help but appreciate the irony that he had resisted at first the Yankees’ suggestion that he convert to catcher from second base, his natural position, while in the minor leagues in 1991. He recalled a conversation he had with Mark Newman, then the Yankees’ director of player personnel.

“He said, you have a great arm. You’re going to be very strong because your legs are very strong. You haven’t been catching, so you’re going to be very durable. Your knees are not [worn out]. They haven’t caught.’ And he said, ‘It’s the fastest way to get to the big leagues.’ When he said that, that was it. That was it for me. I wanted to get to the big leagues. That’s all I wanted.”

Posada went on to play 17 seasons behind the plate, all for the Yankees, and batted .273 with 275 home runs and 1,065 RBI. He was a five-time All-Star, won five Silver Slugger Awards and wore four World Series rings. Only twice did the Yankees fail to reach postseason play in Posada’s time. He played in 125 postseason games, including 29 in the World Series.

Posada evoked DiMaggio when he said, “Today, I must say I want to thank the Good Lord for making me a Yankee.”

He was all Georgie when he said, “Ever since I can remember, all I wanted to ever do was play baseball. Honestly, I didn’t have a Plan B.”

That was a break for all of us, no matter how old it made us feel Saturday.

Jorge Posada’s Plaque

1995 – 2011





AUGUST 22, 2015

Yanks to honor A-Rod’s 3,000th hit Sept. 13

The Yankees will stage a special pregame ceremony celebrating Alex Rodriguez’s 3,000th career hit prior to their 1:05 p.m. game Sunday, Sept. 13, against the Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium. Gates will open two hours before the first pitch at 11 a.m. and fans are encouraged to arrive early and be in their seats by 12:30 p.m.

Rodriguez became the 29th player in Major League Baseball history to reach the 3,000-hit plateau with a first-inning solo home run June 19 off the Tigers’ Justin Verlander. He is the third player hit a home run as his 3,000th career hit, along with Wade Boggs in 1999 and Derek Jeter in 2011.

A-Rod also joined Jeter as the only players in franchise history to reach 3,000 hits while playing for the Yankees and the only ones to reach the plateau at the Stadium, original or current. With the hit, Rodriguez became one of only three players to collect at least 3,000 career hits and 600 home runs. The others are Willie Mays and Hank Aaron.