Many professional baseball players — even players who have been in the game for decades — would tell you that Lee County’s Buster Posey has already had a tremendous career in just three short years.
Sunday night, he and his San Francisco Giants, all but written off in the seven-game National League championship series when they trailed St. Louis three games to one, completed a four-game sweep of the Detroit Tigers to claim their second World Series championship in three years.
The Giants truly played up to their nickname, rattling off a season high seven straight wins to topple, in order, the Cardinals and Tigers, and making their remarkable run despite the facts that their pitching staff ace, Tim Lincecum, had a baffling ineffective year that resulted in his demotion to the bullpen; their closer Brian Wilson was lost for the season with an injury, and their leading hitter, Melkey Cabrera, saw his season end prematurely in August when he was caught violating the Major Leagues’ performance enhancement drugs policy.
Along the way, Posey won the National League batting title and the NL Comeback Player of the Year Award, hit a critical home run in the deciding World Series game Sunday night, and is the odds-on favorite to be named the NL’s most valuable player for 2012.
When you look and what this young man has accomplished in his first three years in the majors — even after losing most of the 2011 season to a severe injury that could have been career threatening — it has been exceptional:
- NL rookie of the year, 2010;
- World Series champions, 2010;
- NL All-Star, 2012;
- Caught Giants’ pitcher Matt Cain’s perfect game, 2012;
- NL Comeback Player of the Year, 2012;
- NL Batting Title with a .336 batting average, along with 24 homers,103 RBI and a .408 on-base percentage, 2012;
- Hank Aaron Award, given to the league’s top offensive player as decided by fan voting and a Hall-of-Fame panel that includes Aaron, 2012;
- World Series champions, 2012;
- Career numbers so far: .314 batting average, 350 hits, 46 home runs, 191 RBI, .380 on-base percentage and a .503 slugging percentage.
And all of this has been accomplished while spending most of his time — 114 of his 143 starts this year — behind the plate, a difficult and demanding position that rarely leads to batting titles. The last catcher to win a league hitting title before Posey was Joe Mauer of Minnesota, who won his third AL batting crown in 2009. In the National League, however, you have to go back 70 years to Ernie Lombari of the Boston Braves, who led the league with a .330 average, to find a catcher atop the hit parade.
Meanwhile, he has done all this while also proving to be a wonderful representative for Southwest Georgia, but also for Major League Baseball.
While there’s no way to predict the future, Posey certainly is on track for a trip to Cooperstown some years down the road. But for the here and now, we congratulate Posey and the Giants for a great season and one of the most exciting world championship runs we’ve ever witnessed.