The New York Yankees annual Old Timers Day is taking place on Sunday, prior to the Yankees taking on the Texas Rangers in their scheduled regular season game.
This will be the Yankees 71st Old Timers Day, a day in which the greatest Yankees to ever grace the baseball field are remembered and honored.
They are divided into two teams, the Clippers (an ode to Joe DiMaggio who was known as the “Yankee Clipper”) and the Bombers (an obvious reference to the Yankees’ nickname, the “Bronx Bombers”) and engage in a short game lasting around three innings.
The tradition that began in 1947 has included Yankee greats from Mickey Mantle and Joe DiMaggio to Rick “Goose” Gossage and Whitey Ford to Reggie Jackson and Tim Raines, who will enter the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown this summer, to Bernie Williams and now Jorge Posada.
The event really bridges generations of Yankees players who get to mingle with the kids of today, such as the current Major League Baseball home run leader, 25-year-old rookie Aaron Judge. It allows them to reconnect with old friends and meet other great Yankee stars.
The widows of those Yankees Old Timers who have passed away are also honored on this special day in New York.
Still, the biggest addition to Old Timers Day this year is Posada. He’ll be the first member of the infamous “Core Four,” from the great Yankees teams of the late 1990’s to participate in Old Timers Day. The former Yankees’ catcher and “Core Four” member is expected to be one of the biggest stars of this year’s game.
The “Core Four” — made up of Posada, shortstop Derek Jeter, starting pitcher Andy Pettite and closer Mariano Rivera — were all signed as amateurs by the Yankees in the early 90’s, came up through the minor leagues together and all made their debuts in 1995.
The 1998 New York Yankees are widely considered one of the greatest baseball teams of all-time, alongside the 1927 Yankees, nicknamed Murderer’s Row.
Posada played all of his 17 big league seasons for the Yankees winning four World Series Championships, appearing in five All-Star Games, winning five Silver Slugger Awards and placing third in the MVP voting in 2003.
He was a team leader alongside his good friend Jeter and played almost every game behind the plate with the rare day off.
Posada ended his career after the 2011 season having a batting line of.273/.374/.474 and 275 home runs. Despite his offensive prowess, especially for a catcher, he will be the only member of the “Core Four” who will not be a member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Rivera and Jeter, who retired in 2012 and 2014 respectively, are first ballot locks to get into the Hall of Fame. Pettite still remains on the Hall of Fame ballot and has a good chance of making it before his time on the ballot runs out.
When asked about the other three members of the “Core Four,” Posada told YES TV Sunday morning that he tried to get Rivera and Petitte to come out to the yard with him but was told “maybe next year.”
Jeter and his new wife are expecting baby girl soon and so Posada gave his friend a pass on this year’s game, but once again said, “maybe next year.” And he’s right, you just never know.
Hopefully for baseball fans everywhere, whether they love or hate the New York Yankees, the “Core Four” will one day reunite as a group on Old Timers Day. With all four of them there it would be a day to remember.
For now, however, at least the fans will get to see Posada play once again. Rumor has it that pitcher David Cone, who pitches almost every year, throws as though he is tossing batting practice balls. He almost always gives up a home run and this year everyone is betting on Posada to hit that ball out of the yard.
[Featured Image by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images]