With the retirement of Jorge Posada, only two of the core four remain: Mariano Rivera (left) and Derek Jeter. (Mike Stobe / Getty Images)

Nobody, but nobody, does a ceremonial occasion like the New York Yankees and they pulled out all the stops when catcher Jorge Posada announced his retirement Tuesday.

World Series trophies? Check ... times five. Future Hall of Famers and fellow members of the team’s core four: Check...Derek Jeter. Check...Mariano Rivera. The widow of iconic catcher Thurman Munson? Check...there sat Diana Munson.

“I could never wear another uniform,” an emotional Posada said at a Yankee Stadium press conference. “I will forever be a Yankee.”

For nearly two decades Posada, along with Jeter, Rivera and pitcher Andy Pettitte, formed the backbone of the Yankees’ glittering teams. The record shows that he was a .273 career hitter with 275 home runs and 1,065 RBIs, as well as a five-time All-Star who handled a pitching staff filled with some of the biggest arms, egos and paychecks in baseball.

Used mostly as a designated hitter this season, it became clear that at the age of 40, Posada could either retire as a Yankee or try his luck elsewhere. As touching as his send-off was, underlying tensions over his demotion — mostly with General Manager Brian Cashman — lingered.

“We obviously had a rough patch with Jorge in transitioning from catching,” Cashman said (via John Harper of the New York Daily News). “But we fought through it. I’m real happy that today went the way it went — the organization values everything he did for us.”

And despite whatever mixed emotions the day brought, Posada said he entered the Stadium every day thinking the same thing: “I quoted Joe DiMaggio's [comment], ‘I want to thank the Good Lord for making me a Yankee.’ ”


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