With all the hue and cry among fans and in the blogosphere over whether Jorge Posada should or shouldn’t start in tonight’s game, one contention by those who oppose the move stood out to me, and got me thinking. When someone would cite Jorge’s defensive deficiencies (which are indisputable) they would minimize that by saying “We’ve won championships with Jorge Posada as our starting Catcher.” Remembering that Joe Girardi was on those teams as well I wondered, is that true?
The answer is yes. . . sort of. I went through the 96-03 World Series game logs last night to see exactly who caught each game and who they were paired with. Joe Girardi was our starting Catcher in 1996, although Jim Leyritz memorably substituted for him in the games that (then sophomore pitcher) Andy Pettitte started. Posada and Girardi split time in the 1998 and 1999 World Series, as they had for much of the season. From 2000 on, it was all Jorge and the WS results were mixed.
Here’s the game by game breakdown:
1996 World Series
Game 1-Jim Leyritz (Pettitte)
Game 2-Joe Girardi (Key)
Game 3-Joe Girardi (Cone)
Game 4-Joe Girardi (Rogers)
Game 5-Jim Leyritz (Pettitte)
Game 6-Joe Girardi (Key)
1998 World Series
Game 1-Posada (Wells)
Game 2-Posada (Hernandez)
Game 3- Girardi (Cone)
Game 4-Girardi (Pettitte)
1999 World Series
Game 1-Posada (Hernandez)
Game 2-Girardi (Cone)
Game 3-Girardi (Pettitte)
Game 4-Posada (Clemens)
2000 World Series-All games caught by Posada
2001 World Series-All games caught by Posada
2003 World Series-All games caught by Posada
So while it’s true we did win one (and lost 2) World Series with Posada as our everyday starting catcher, it’s also true that we had split duties among the catchers and personal catchers from 1996-1999. Girardi was clearly David Cone’s personal catcher, and David Wells has often stated that he preferred throwing to Jorge Posada. El Duque and Posada likely worked together since Jorge is bilingual, although that pairing was memorably combustible. Pettitte had a personal Catcher in 1996, but after ‘the King’ left he was willing to work with either Girardi or Posada. So its clear that personal Catchers and Yankee championships aren’t mutually exclusive.
I support the move, since I never value a bat over my starting pitcher in the playoffs. It’s simple math for me, a position player can only affect his 5 ABs while the starter can affect 30+ ABs for the opposition. Anything that helps him do his job better is more valuable to me. While I have great respect for Sabermetricians, you don’t need to be one to understand that.
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