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Jorge Posada belongs in Cooperstown

Put 'em in Cooperstown


Yesterday, Rob Neyer said this in the course of trying to identify the best catcher this decade:

So it's Posada vs. Rodriguez in a fight to the finish. And while the finish won't be until October of 2009, I have a hard time believing that Pudge can do enough in the next four months -- or has done enough with his glove and arm over the last nine seasons -- to make up for that 16-point gap in OPS+.

Ivan Rodriguez is going into the Hall of Fame. Posada isn't, and shouldn't; he just happens to have played the lion's share of his fine career in a single decade.

In response, Jonah Keri mounts a defense of Posada's Hall of Fame case:

Jorge Posada, to me, looks like a clear choice as one of the dozen best catchers of all-time . . . I absolutely think a [Hall of Fame] case can be made for Posada, even if he retired tomorrow . . . It's a shame that Posada can't elicit more enthusiasm for his accomplishments. Here's hoping, nine years from now, that the other voting members of the BBWAA are kinder to Posada than Rob will be.

It sort of kills things for me to know that Rob and Jonah are friends, because I think it would be fun to have a nasty fight over this. As it is, they'll probably just marshall evidence and arguments. Oh well.

In any event, I'm leaning more to Jonah's side of things here, though I don't agree that Posada would go in if he retired tomorrow. His case is really a Carlton Fisk-style case, and my sense was that people didn't truly appreciate Fisk as a Hall of Famer until the longevity portion of the argument really kicked in during his years in Chicago. Posada has no MVP awards like Rodriguez and was never the hitter Piazza was, but he has been a clearly above-average, and oftentimes excellent catcher who is aging well. He'll also get a bump for the World Series rings which, while not as important to a Hall of Fame case as many think it is, isn't unimportant. Mostly though, I think people will look back at the Yankees teams of the 90s and 2000s and ask themselves who is worthy of induction from that crew. Torre, Jeter and Rivera should be no-brainers. I think most will agree that more than just those three were responsible for the extended run of greatness. When looking to add a name or two to that list, Posada's is the best available in my view, and on that basis, he goes in.

Is that the most scientific reason for putting someone in the Hall of Fame? Nah. But if we've learned anything over the years it's that Hall of Fame voting isn't very scientific. I've grudgingly accepted that, so I think I'm entitled to use a little non-scientific argument of my own. On that basis, Jorge makes it.