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Lee County's Posey featured on cover of latest ESPN Magazine

Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

Leesburg's Buster Posey likely doesn't have much room left in his trophy case these days.

And his latest honor might just be the coolest of them all.

The World Series-winning San Francisco catcher and reigning NL Rookie of the Year was the December cover boy for ESPN the Magazine's "Next" issue, which is released annually by the sports giant as it nominates the athletes it feels is destined to make the biggest impact on their respective sport for years to come.

Along with Posey, Atlanta Thrashers star Evander Kane, Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin and LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson were all chosen as the future stars in their field. ESPN the Magazine has been putting out its "NEXT" issue since 1998, which was its first year of publication.

The article takes a closer look at Posey's rise from his days at Lee County High School -- where he was named the Gatorade Player of the Year for Georgia in 2005 -- to Florida State -- where he was asked to move positions from shortstop to catcher and went on to win the Johnny Bench Award two years later -- to eventually his May 29 call-up from the Triple-A Fresno Grizzlies to the Giants' big-league club.

The piece was written by ESPN senior writer Buster Olney, who ironically shares the unique nickname with Posey. Posey's birth name is Gerald, although the fact that Olney and Posey share the same moniker "Buster" is a point the longtime, respected sports reporter humorously touches on early in the piece.

Olney writes in the opening passage: "It hasn't been easy being a Buster. Think about it: Busters are usually pets, mostly dogs, and sometimes you're asked if you're housebroken. People shout, "Hey, watch it, Buster!" as if they're the first to think of it. So when a guy like San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey comes along, he gives the rest of us Busters some street cred. Which is why I wanted to thank him the first time we spoke last June. But as soon as I heard his voice over the phone, I changed my mind. He sounded extremely serious, greeting me with an abrupt "Hello." His no-nonsense tone suggested that bonding about our name wasn't going to work."

Posey, who hit .305 in the regular season with 18 homers and 67 RBI and then .288 in the postseason, will report to spring training in Scottsdale, Ariz., with the team in early February. The Giants will open their spring training schedule Feb. 25 against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

For those looking for the December issue of ESPN the Magazine, it's on newsstands and in bookstores now. One issue retails for $6.