Jorge Posada is the toughest man in the world.
That title keeps him in the background, but he’s never out of the picture. Near game time at Yankee Stadium his left foot is always planted on the top step of the dugout. He points when it’s time and Derek Jeter leads the team onto the field.
Jeter is the team’s heart and soul. Posada is its stubbornness and toughness.
Broken noses, sprained fingers and torn tendons can’t stop him. If a piano fell from the upper deck he would flick it off his uniform like an errant sunflower seed.
Recently, people have been digging up numbers and making fancy charts and graphs to show that Major League catchers decline at his age. They conclude that the Yankees are going to need a younger catcher soon.
The problem with those conclusions is that they have never collided at the plate with the toughest man in world or tried to sneak a fastball by him late in a game.
He always finds a way to win because he hates to lose. The data can’t show you that.
Pedro Martinez was tough on him early in his career, but during the 2003 American League Championship Series the toughest man in the world called him out in game 3 and delivered the double that knocked Martinez out of game 7.
Those who believe the data can have the numbers, charts, graphs, and even Pedro Martinez.
I’ll stick with the toughest man in the world.