Two of a kind

Posada, Garcia to be enshrined

The Latin American International Sports Hall of Fame will induct a pair of Major League Baseball superstars this weekend. New York Yankees catcher Jorge Posada and St. Louis Cardinals starting left-handed pitcher Jaime Garcia are slated for induction. Both World Series champion athletes generously give back to their communities while striving for perfection in America’s pastime. EPSN’s Buster Olney reported on Jan. 9 that Posada, 40, plans to retire before next season.

Jorge Posada, catcher

Posada was born on Aug. 17, 1971, in Santurce, Puerto Rico. From a young age, he showed an aptitude for sports, particularly baseball. He attended Alejandrino High School in San Juan, participating in basketball, volleyball, track, and baseball. As a baseball player, he was named an All-Star in the 1988-89 seasons.

He attended Calhoun Community College in Decatur, Ala., where he earned an Associates degree. At Calhoun, Posada developed his skills and was voted best hitter in 1990.

A year later, he was named co-captain, in addition to being selected to the All-Conference team. He was drafted by the New York Yankees in 1991, beginning his professional career with the Oneonta Yankees, making his major league debut on Sept. 4, 1995. In the year 2000, he became the starting catcher for the Yankees, a position he held before becoming the designated hitter before last season.

In 1999, Jorge married Laura Posada, an attorney from Puerto Rico. The couple has two children — Jorge Luis, 10, and Paulina, 7. Just 10 days after birth, Jorge Luis was diagnosed with Craniosynostosis, a congenital birth defect — the premature closure of the bones in the skull.

Jorge Luis has endured numerous surgeries to correct the condition. In the 2000, the Posada family created The Jorge Posada Foundation to promote education and awareness about Craniosynostosis and provide emotional assistance to families and children affected by this condition through its mentorship network and fundraising to medical centers.

Jorge has received a number of awards on and off the field. In 2000, he received the Thurman Munson Award for his baseball accomplishments and philanthropic work in New York. From 2000-03 he was awarded the Silver Slugger, and he received the 2001 Milton Richman “You Gotta’ Have Heart” award by the New York Chapter of the BBWAA. He was also named one of the Diamond Dad’s Founding Fathers in 2003 and was nominated for a Roberto Clemente Award in 2005 and 2007.

Posada received the 2004 “Good Guy” Award by the New York Press Photographers; he also received the 2007 Bart Giamatti “Caring” Award from MLB’s Baseball Assistance Team.

He was also honored with the 2006 Mentor of the Year award from Kids in Distressed Situations, Inc. and Fashion Delivers. Jorge also received the 2006 Puerto Rican Family Foundation Excellence award for his commitment to children, especially those affected by Craniosynostosis. Furthermore, Jorge received the Parent Magazine award in 2007 and the Ted Williams Community award from the Ted Williams Museum and Hitters Hall of Fame in 2009. In 2010, Jorge was honored by the New York BBWAA as the “Willie, Mickey and the Duke” Award winner.

Professionally, he is a five time World Champion — 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, and 2009 — as well as a five time All Star. In 2005, he recorded his 1,000th career hit.

In 2009, Posada hit the first homerun at the new Yankee Stadium and the first homerun of the 2010 season. At the start of the 2010 season, Jorge made his 11th straight Opening Day start at catcher, the most consecutive starts by a Yankee at catcher on Opening Day since Thurman Munson.

 

Jaime Garcia, LHP

When Garcia took the mound as the St. Louis Cardinals’ starting pitcher for Game 2 of the 2011 World Series against the Texas Rangers, it was a dream come true.

While the media hyped the fact that Garcia was the first Mexicanborn pitcher to start a World Series game since 1981, when the legendary Fernando Valenzuela started for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Garcia told the Los Angeles Times that he was “thrilled.”

“I’m going to go out there and represent the team, my family and not only my hometown, but the whole country of Mexico,” Garcia said.

Represent he certainly did. Despite losing that game, Garcia — a Texan — came back strong, leading the Cardinals to victory in Game 7.

Impressed with his natural abilities, the Baltimore Orioles picked Garcia in the 2004 draft, but he wasn’t signed. Four years later, the Cardinals signed him as a pitcher. He made his debut on July 11, 2008, just three days after his 22nd birthday. His breakout season came in 2010 when he had one of the best rookie seasons ever — he posted numbers that rivaled even the most veteran of players. He finished third in the Rookie of the Year voting and earned 12th place in the race for the Cy Young award.

Last week, Garcia joined his teammates, visiting the White House where President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama honored the St. Louis Cardinals for the World Series title.

Re-signed by the St. Louis Cardinals at the end of this past season, Garcia makes his home in Mission.

Ticket information

The 37th annual induction banquet will be this Saturday at the Laredo Country Club at 7 p.m.

Six outstanding sports personalities and three state championship teams will be inducted. Tickets for the banquet are $35 per person, with tables of 10 available for $350. Tickets may be purchased at Graphitiks Advertising Design, Inc., at 5415 Springfield Ave., Suite 6-A. For more information, please call 723-4389.