Game 2 of the 1995 Division Series between the Yankees and Mariners was a truly underrated game. Everyone remembers the Edgar Martinez double that scored Ken Griffey Jr. from first to clinch Game 5 and the series. It is one of the iconic baseball images from the 1990s. But the whole series was dramatic and Game 2 was quite simply bananas.
Seattle and the Yankees locked antlers and after Paul O’Neill homered off of Norm Charlton in the 7th, the game was tied and destined for extra innings.
In the 12th, Ken Griffey Jr. hit his third homer of the series and gave Seattle a 5-4 lead. In the bottom of the 12th, Wade Boggs walked with one out.
As the Mariners made a pitching change, giving Tim Belcher a chance to close out the game, Yankees manager Buck Showalter made a move too. A player was summoned from the bullpen to run for Boggs. The player was essentially the bullpen catcher but was activated onto the roster.
I remember watching the game thinking “Who the hell is this player?”
The announcers identified him as “Jorge Posada.” I had never heard of him. Now keep in mind, I was living in New York at the time and watched a LOT of Yankees games. I was a Red Sox fan to be sure but there was no MLB.com yet.
And I never heard of him. He evidently was a September call up who got into one game late and had no at bats.
A catcher was running for Boggs. What a slap in the face to the future Hall of Famer. Posada moved to second when Bernie Williams walked. Then with 2 outs and the Mariners and out away from a critical win, Ruben Sierra launched a ball to left.
It hit the top of the wall, narrowly missing being a 3 run walk off homer. Instead it was a double. Posada came around to score the tying run. It was the first big league run ever scored by Jorge Posada and it was in the post season. Bernie Williams was thrown out trying to score the winning run, ending the inning and putting everyone in a state of confusion.
Russ Davis wound up replacing Boggs in the field. Posada would not appear again in the post season.
I bring up that specific game because I always thought of that shadowy Posada moment whenever I saw him play over the next decade and a half. I remember thinking in 1995 that that strange pinch running appearance would probably be the only post season experience of his life. He was going to be the answer to an obscure trivia question that not even the biggest die hard Yankee fans could answer.
I even remember condescendingly thinking “How nice of Showalter to put in poor Posada. He can tell his kids that he got to play in a playoff game.”
Little did I know he would have his number retired and have some people bringing his name up in Hall of Fame discussions.
Comparing his numbers to Gaby Hartnett and Gary Carter works in Posada’s favor. Frankly I don’t see him getting in unless the flood gates for the Joe Torre era Yankees pour in.
I was never a fan, I admit. I felt including him in the “Core Four” was an insult to Bernie Williams, who was the big Yankee powerhouse before Jeter.
Either way, he had a fine career, got some big hits, especially against the Red Sox in the 1999 ALCS.
He is a beloved Yankee who was part of the 1998 team that will be gushed over for generations.
If you would have predicted THAT when he made that pinch running appearance, then please go buy a lottery ticket tonight. Your ability to see the future is unrivaled.