Friday, January 13, 2012

On Jorge Posada and the Real Core Four

Sorry for not Squawking much as of late, but I have been busy with lots of real-life stuff. Anyhow, this has been arguably the quietest Yankee offseason in ages, so I haven't missed all that much. The biggest news as of late is Jorge Posada retiring. I'm glad he's doing so, and that his last moments in pinstripes were when he was one of the few Yankees to hit well in the ALDS. (For another take, read my friend Jason Keidel's piece on Posada -- and people think I've been tough on Jorge!)

But can we please stop inflating his importance to the late-90s dynasty? Posada's best years were in the 2000s, not in the 90s. Joe Girardi, not Jorge Posada, was the No. 1 catcher for much of the Four Rings years. This Core Four stuff, which inflates Posada's importance to that team, is revisionist nonsense, especially given that Posada had nothing to do with the 1996 team. Yet there are worshipful knuckleheads like Sports Illustrated's Tom Verducci, who writes nonsense about how Posada had an "underappreciated career" (underappreciated by whom, exactly?) and talks about Posada and Jeter driving to Yankee Stadium together in 1995:
It was like the Beatles back in Liverpool before things went crazy, this friendship that grew among Jeter, Posada, Rivera and Andy Pettitte, the Core Four, the most famous, longest-running quartet of teammates in pro sports.
Yeah, other than when Andy Pettitte left the Yankees for three years to play for the Houston Astros.

Newsflash: there was another Core Four in Yankeeland in the late 90s. You may have heard of them, although the Tom Verduccis of the world seem to have forgotten about who they were, relegating them to a footnote. Their names were Bernie Williams, Paul O'Neill, David Cone, and Tino Martinez. All four of them had much more to do with the Four Rings than Posada ever did.

That's not a knock on Posada -- it wasn't his doing that he didn't get the playing time until late in the dynasty years. But it's a little annoying to notice how this other Core Four have been forgotten by sports journalists who should know better. Speaking of which, I never understood why Posada was so bitter and resentful at Girardi for slowing his chance as being the No.1 catcher, when it was Joe Torre, not Girardi, who made the decision to keep Girardi in that spot. Yet Posada considered Torre a father figure. Go figure.

Anyhow, my favorite Posada moment, as it is for many, was his big hit off Pedro Martinez in Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS. And Posada was a valuable part of the Yankees team in the 2000s -- if he hadn't been injured in 2008, the Yanks would have made the playoffs. The only Core Four he belongs in, though, is the Core Four of Yankee catchers, as Kevin Kernan suggested.

What do you think? Tell us about it!


Alvaro Fernandez Ravelo said...

There is no dictionary definition for the core four but my understanding is that there are this four guys who were raised thru the Yankee system and brought a lot of postseason glory on the late 90's and 2000's.
You might agree with this definition or not. But the weird thing about glorifying the inbreds is that actually Yankee management is afraid of using the guys in the minors.

Paul said...

There really should be a core five of Yankee catchers. Kevin Kernan forgot about Elston Howard.

Bob said...

Welcome back Lisa, we've missed you. Hopefully the real-life stuff you've been dealing with is in a better place of peace for you at this time. Keep writing when you get a chance, we enjoy your insights.

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