Buster Posey Adds Final Missing Piece to MLB Legacy with Gold Glove Award

Jacob Shafer@@jacobshaferFeatured ColumnistNovember 9, 2016

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - OCTOBER 10:  Buster Posey #28 of the San Francisco Giants plays catcher against the Chicago Cubs during Game Three of the National League Division Series at AT&T Park on October 10, 2016 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Buster Posey didn't need to pad his resume.

At age 29, the San Francisco Giants catcher has already won a Rookie of the Year trophy, a batting title, three Silver Sluggers, a National League MVP and three championship rings.

For even the all-time greats, that's a career and change.

On Tuesday, however, Posey gilded the lily, winning his first Gold Glove award, per MLB.com's Doug Miller.

Posey beat out St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina, who had won the prize for the past eight seasons and become the Baby Gerald to Posey's Maggie Simpson. 

That's not to suggest Molina was undeserving. During his impressive Gold Glove streak from 2008 to 2015, he was the best defensive catcher in baseball, per FanGraphs

Posey, however, was a better backstop than Molina between 2015 and 2016 by FanGraphs' metric, and was a better pitch framer in 2014, 2015 and 2016, per StatCorner

In 2016, StatCorner had him as the best pitch framer in baseball. He also gunned down a stout 37 percent of would-be base stealers. 

"Defense is something that I've always taken pride in," Posey said, per Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News. "It was a bigger focal point as a kid with my coaches and my dad, so as a kid, I paid attention to the Gold Glove award as much as any. So it's pretty cool to be recognized in this way with this honor."

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On Oct. 27, Baggarly threw his weight behind Posey with a hefty Molina caveat:

The point, again, isn't to take away from Molina. But Posey has been hovering around the edges of a Gold Glove for a few seasons at least. It was the last feather missing from his cap.

The fact he won it along with fellow Giants Brandon Crawford (shortstop) and Joe Panik (second base) ratchets up the Bay Area's pride.

"I think it was the one award that he hadn't won yet," Crawford said of Posey, per Alex Pavlovic of CSN Bay Area. 

Posey has been such an indelible part of the MLB landscape since he burst on the scene in 2010; it feels as though he's been with us forever.

Posey has won three rings and an MVP among other awards, but this is his first Gold Glove.
Posey has won three rings and an MVP among other awards, but this is his first Gold Glove.Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

More than anything, the cherub-faced Florida State alum has packed a career's worth of highs (and lows) into a scant seven seasons.

He won NL ROY and a title in 2010, busting the Giants' 56-year championship drought and bringing the first Commissioner's Trophy home to San Francisco.

In 2011, his ankle exploded in an ugly home plate collision with the Marlins' Scott Cousins, and the Giants missed the playoffs.

In 2012, he won the batting crown with a .336 average and hoisted a second trophy.

Then, in 2014, he reeled in a third ring and top-10 MVP finish.

That's a lifetime of peaks, valleys and confetti. Or, to put it another way: Every World Series in San Francisco history has been won with Buster Posey on the roster.

Granted, in 2016 Posey posted a good-not-great .288/.362/.434 slash line with 14 home runs as the Giants were bounced in the division series. It's possible he'll need to get out from the squat before long to save his legs and prolong his productivity. 

First base is the most logical landing spot, which could mean shifting Brandon Belt to the outfield and various other machinations.

Posey will eventually need to come out from behind the plate to save his legs.
Posey will eventually need to come out from behind the plate to save his legs.Denis Poroy/Getty Images

The Giants will consider it all at some point. Posey is a cornerstone at AT&T Park, inked at least through 2021 and embedded into the team's recent even-year lore. 

For now, we pause to consider the legacy of a ludicrously decorated player who's still on the right side of 30 and plays a premium position perennially lacking in star wattage.

In April, Grant Brisbee of McCovey Chronicles parsed Posey's Hall of Fame candidacy and concluded, correctly, that he's not quite there.

This Gold Glove doesn't earn him a bust in Cooperstown. It pads his resume, however. That much we know.

On a night when America made a consequential, divisive decision, let's focus on one we can all get behind: Buster Posey is an awesome catcher.

Now, he has the hardware to prove it.

All statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.

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