On Saturday and Sunday, the Yankees honored two legends in Jorge Posada and Andy Pettitte. The ceremonies honoring the two men were well done and their numbers were retired forever in Monument Park. So with this great honor, the Nos. 20 and 46 will never be worn by another Yankee.
I think it is well deserved.
I love when people make a big deal of numbers getting retired and start to debate whether or not that individual deserves that honor. Just because a player is not on the level of Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle or Joe DiMaggio, does not mean they do not deserve to have their day to be honored.
You can and should easily argue that every player in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown is not of the same quality or importance. The same argument rings true here. Posada and Pettitte were important Yankees that were vital for teams that lived in October and won many a championship. In 1,829 games as a Yankee, Posada hit .273 with 275 homers and 1,065 RBI. He caught 119 games in the postseason. Unreal. He was never a great defensive catcher and Yankees fans would bemoan his inability to block the plate, but he was a great offensive catcher. He played with a fire and passion, one that certainly rubbed some opposing players and fan bases the wrong way. He was certainly a leader and was the top lieutenant for former Yankees captain Derek Jeter.
As for Pettitte, he went 256-193 with a 3.85 ERA during his 18 years in the majors, 15 of which were with the Yankees. He was a remarkable big game pitcher as he made 44 postseason starts, with 19 victories during his career. Nobody had a better stare with the brim of his cap pulled down just above his eyes when he toed the rubber. You always had confidence that Pettitte would give you a big time start when the pressure was on. He pitched in eight World Series', seven with the Yankees and one with the Astros.
Maybe you thought his PED past would keep him out of Monument Park. Think again. The way that he handled that situation and as straightforward as he was, helped lead to a day that he and his family enjoyed on Sunday in the Bronx. Both Posada and Pettitte were part of five teams that won the World Series. Both were key contributors. Both gave Yankees fans memories during hot summer days and cool October nights. Both were part of a Yankees baseball era that will be near impossible to repeat. So instead of complaining that too many Yankees have their numbers retired, embrace it. Celebrate those who made baseball great in this city when they played.
The Yankees realize their past helps define them. Pettitte and Posada were part of a group of Yankees that defined an era in the Bronx. They are not in the class of a Babe Ruth, but they do not have to be. They were big game players who won a lot and lived in October. On an August weekend they were given a well deserved honor. It is something that they will never forget, just as we will never forget all the big moments and joyous nights they gave us.