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Counting down Southwest Georgia’s Top 10 sports stories of 2012 — #1: Leesburg’s Posey named NL MVP, wins second World Series title

Leesburg native Buster Posey celebrates during a parade after San Francisco swept Detroit to win the 2012 World Series. Less than a month after his second World Series title in his short three-year career, Posey was named the National League MVP.

Leesburg native Buster Posey celebrates during a parade after San Francisco swept Detroit to win the 2012 World Series. Less than a month after his second World Series title in his short three-year career, Posey was named the National League MVP.

Top 10 sports stories of 2012

  1. Leesburg native Buster Posey's incredible year
  2. Monroe grad Deion Branch plays in third Super Bowl
  3. Albany native Angelo Taylor wins silver medal at Summer Olympics
  4. Three area coaches achieve career milestones
  5. Southwest Georgia loses four beloved sports figures
  6. Area GHSA, GISA programs celebrate state championships
  7. Seminole County's Bacarri Rambo overcomes suspension at UGA, finishes season strong
  8. Darton State College athletics celebrate banner year
  9. Albany State football team posts worst season in 11 years
  10. Albany Panthers repeat as arena league champs

If there was ever a slam dunk, a gimme, a no-brainer for Southwest Georgia’s No. 1 sports story of 2012, this is it.

Heck, one might argue it was the biggest story ... period.

Leesburg native Buster Posey’s third season of Major League Baseball as the star catcher for the San Francisco Giants is one that will be talked about for years and decades to come — and may never be matched.

Following a World Series win and the National League Rookie of the Year honor in 2010, Posey missed two-thirds of 2011 after a brutal home-plate collision left him injured and down for the count. The defending World Series champion Giants subsequently missed the playoffs altogether.

Would Posey return to full strength in 2012? Would he be the same player?

Try better.

Following eight months of extensive rehab from his injury and going into spring training not at 100 percent to start the year, Posey not only led the Giants on a wild ride to their second division title, league championship — and, yes, another World Series crown! — in three years, the list of accolades that became attached to one of the single-greatest individual seasons was seemingly endless.

Here’s the highlights:

National League MVP

NL batting champ

Comeback Player of the Year Award

Willie Mac Award (given to most inspirational Giant, as voted on by team and staff)

Hank Aaron Award (top overall offensive player)

Posey was presented the latter award by the legend himself.

“I’m humbled Hank Aaron knows who I am,” Posey told the crowd as he and Aaron stood on stage together before a World Series game in late October in San Francisco. “Growing up in Georgia, he’s a legend everywhere — but even more so there.”

Posey not only finished the year with an NL-best .336 batting average — to go along with 24 home runs and 103 RBI — he became the first catcher in 70 years to win the league batting title.

And when the season was all over and he returned home to Leesburg, he accepted his NL MVP honor on the same night he was keeping his promise of making a guest appearance at a local Lee County school — where his mother is a teacher.

“Being home, here with my mom and entire family, to share this with everyone,” Posey said shortly after winning the award, “it’s just a great feeling.”

Amazing ball player, even better person — that’s Buster Posey for ya.

Combine that with a mind-boggling, historic season — and the certainty of more greatness to follow for the 25-year-old kid from Leesburg — and Posey’s comeback journey to the top was an easy choice for Southwest Georgia’s No. 1 sports story of 2012.