By Dylan Wilhelm – Intern
On Nov. 4, 2021, Buster Posey announced his retirement from baseball after an exceptional 12-year major league career.
Posey was drafted fifth overall in the 2008 MLB Draft by the San Francisco Giants, entering the league as one of the top collegiate prospects. That same year, Posey was awarded the Golden Spikes Award as the best amateur player in the country.
Over the course of his big-league career, he earned a Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player award, was a seven-time All-Star and a five-time Silver Slugger. He helped bring the San Francisco Giants their first title since they were in New York and ended up leading them to three rings in a five-year span.
Before he was bringing hardware to the Bay, Posey was winning championships out east in Cape Cod. His exceptional career was no surprise to those who saw him, especially Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox manager Scott Pickler, who is entering his 25th year with the team.
“I wasn’t surprised that he had that good of a major league career,” Pickler said.
Posey spent two summers on the Cape, both with Y-D, in 2006 and 2007. In each season, he helped lead the Red Sox to a combined 59-28-1 record and back-to-back Cape Cod championships. He earned All-Star honors both seasons, first as a shortstop and second as a catcher. He also spent time on the mound, closing out games both summers.
Before bringing Posey onto the team, Pickler had never seen him play. He had heard great things about him through other coaches around the country.
Posey was originally drafted out of high school in the 50th round by the Angels in the 2005 MLB Draft but opted to play college baseball for Mike Martin at Florida State.
Martin had reached out to Pickler about Posey and emphasized the impact he believed Posey was going to have on his team, not only that season but throughout his college career.
“Mike called me and said I got a freshman coming in that we think’s going to really help us on the mound,” Pickler said. “I trusted Mike Martin. I had some good people from his program.”
Posey also had the option to spend his summers with the United States national team, but instead felt that Y-D would be better for his development and chose to come to Massachusetts for the summer.
“Not many kids do that,” Pickler said. “And he just said no, I want to play in the best league, and I don’t want to travel around. And he was really mature for his age. Really, very mature.”
Throughout his two summers on the cape, Posey spent time at shortstop, on the mound and behind the plate. His on-field skills were obvious to everyone, but his work behind the scenes stuck out to those who were with him every day.
According to Pickler, Posey was a “regular” in the cages, as he would spend extra time getting swings four to five times a week. He also spent time in camps working with younger ball players during each summer.
“If you would have been an eight, nine, ten-year-old kid in 2006 or 2007, Buster Posey is working camp. And you got him as your camp leader. Then you look back… that’s the mystique of the Cape. It’s so amazing,” Pickler said.
It wasn’t just coaches and fans who were taking notice of Posey, either. His teammates observed and followed the example he set on the field and in the locker room.
“He was a silent leader. Kids on the team wanted to be like Buster Posey,” Pickler said. “He wasn’t a rah-rah guy, you know. He came to play every day, and he played hard.”
Pickler also noted Posey’s resiliency to return to catching after a potential career-ending injury in 2011. After a violent home plate collision, Posey suffered a fractured fibula and torn ligaments in his ankle, ending his season after just 45 games.
“It would have been easy for him to go to first base, keep his bat in the lineup,” Pickler said. “But he worked his way back, from that injury, to be a catcher. That’s who he was.”
While Posey won’t be earning any more accolades on the field, there is one more accolade that likely awaits him, and it is one that will place him in baseball immortality.
“I think he’s a Hall of Famer,” Pickler said. “Look at what he did. He should be.”
Posey will be MLB Hall of Fame eligible in 2027 and some of our teams Board Members say that he should be inducted into the CCBL Hall sooner than that.
All MLB accolades per Baseball Reference.