SAN FRANCISCO -- Buster Posey’s championship dreams first began to percolate in 1995, when he stayed up late to watch the Braves win a World Series championship as an 8-year-old fan in his hometown of Leesburg, Ga.
“For me, I think that’s where the dream really took off,” Posey said. “Even at 8 years old, I was captivated by 25 men jumping around with youthful enthusiasm because of what they had just accomplished.”
The drive to win championships only increased when Posey was selected by the Giants with the fifth overall pick of the 2008 Draft. His arrival ended up ushering in the most successful era in franchise history, as he developed into a seven-time All-Star who helped bring three World Series titles to San Francisco in 2010, 2012 and 2014.
The Giants honored his unparalleled legacy by hosting Buster Posey Day on Saturday afternoon at Oracle Park, giving fans a chance to celebrate the greatest catcher in franchise history for the first time since he unexpectedly announced his retirement in November.
Posey, accompanied by his wife, Kristen, and his four children – Lee, Addison, Ada and Livvi – walked out onto the field to a standing ovation from the crowd during an hour-long pregame ceremony. Several of Posey’s former teammates and coaches, including Bruce Bochy, Matt Cain, Bengie Molina and Jeremy Affeldt, were on hand for the occasion and delivered brief speeches in his honor.
“As much as I appreciate the kind words, I never thought this was about me,” Posey said after taking the podium for his closing remarks. “This was about me being a part of something. Right now, it’s an opportunity for me to thank you fans for letting me be a part of that, letting my teammates be a part of that. I just want to tell you how thankful I am.”
The Giants played a video tribute with plenty of highlights from Posey’s iconic 12-year run with the club, but team officials also praised his significant impact off the field, particularly through his BP28 foundation, which is dedicated to raising money to support research to cure pediatric cancer.
“It was an honor to ride with you,” Bochy said. “It was an honor spending time with you. It was an honor having a front-row seat to watching one of the best ever do his thing every day. … You made our team better, you made the city better and you made me better. I cannot thank you enough.”
The ceremony also included plenty of ribbing, with Giants broadcaster Duane Kuiper making several jokes about Posey’s “blazing speed” and filmmaker Chris Columbus emerging to award Posey an Emmy for the acting chops he showed in the legendary Giants Spanish promos that co-starred Sergio Romo and Javier López.
Molina, who was traded to the Rangers after Posey took over as the Giants’ starting catcher midway through the 2010 season, brought additional levity by making two requests of his former understudy. He asked for a Buster Hug and a signed No. 28 jersey, both of which he got.
“Buster, what can I say about him?” Molina said. “He got me a ring.”
The festivities ended on a touching note, with the older Posey twins, Lee and Addison, each throwing out a ceremonial first pitch to their dad. Afterward, Brian Wilson and Posey re-created their hug from their World Series-clinching win over the Rangers in 2010, which sealed the Giants’ first championship title since moving to San Francisco.
"I’m forever grateful I got to wear a Giants uniform for my entire career,” Posey said. “I never wanted to wear another one."
Posey said he continues to keep tabs on the Giants, but his priority is spending time with his family and coaching Lee and Addison’s Little League games. While he misses the relationships with his teammates, Posey said he remains at peace with his decision to step away from the game.
Could he see himself taking on a new role as a big league coach or manager at some point in the future?
“Never say never, but I think it would have to be a ways down the road because it is so time consuming,” Posey said. “I guess that’s a long way of saying no.”