One of a Kind
I talked to Buster Posey’s college coach, Florida State’s Mike Martin, last week. I wanted to know about Posey’s transition to catcher two years ago when he was a sophomore. He had earned All-American honors as a shortstop his freshman year and also pitched. But Martin needed a catcher – someone who could be the leader on the field.
“I thought when he put the gear on for the first time, he’d walk like a duck,” Martin says. He didn’t.
“After three pitches, I said, ‘You got to be kidding me.’ He looked as if he had been catching all his life – the way he could frame a pitch, the way his mitt looked like a pillow, the fact he didn’t snatch at the ball. He looked very polished.”
Not that Martin was surprised.
Posey is one of those kids who seems to have stepped out of the pages of a Hardy Boys novel. Square-jawed, clean-cut, straight A’s, polite, hard working. A finance major, Posey made the President’s List in spring 2007 for his 4.0 GPA, and the Dean’s List in the fall of 2005 and 2007.
When Posey took over as catcher, everything changed, Martin said.
“Best leader I ever had,” he said. “He treated everyone with respect, but if someone needed to be dealt with, Buster dealt with him. We would have never gone to the World Series without him.”
In the NCAA regionals last year, FSU lost its first game and was facing elimination. Over the next four games, Posey batted .500 (8-for-16) with five home runs and 13 RBIs. FSU outscored Florida, Bucknell and Tulane 74-35 to reach the College World Series.
In his final at-bat as a college player, Posey came to bat in the top of the ninth with bases loaded and two outs and FSU behind by three runs. Martin says that one at-bat encapsulates Posey’s disciplined approach to the game.
“He doesn’t chase a single pitch,” Martin said. “He draws a walk – playing the game exactly how it’s supposed to be played. That (at-bat) shows what he is all about – some guys would want to be the hero, but Buster put together a great at-bat and turned it over to the next guy.”
Unfortunately, the next guy grounded out, eliminating FSU from the series.
Posey was such a force at FSU that fans created a song called “Hail to the Buster” and sang it whenever he came to bat. Martin said in 29 years of coaching, he has never seen a player have the impact Posey had.
“There ain’t nobody like Buster Posey,” Martin said. “One of a kind. I’ll never coach another Buster Posey.”
Posey married his high school sweetheart, Kristin, in their hometown of Leesburg, Georgia, in January.
In case you wondered, Posey’s full name is Gerald Dempsey Posey III. His father, known as Demp, was nicknamed Buster as a kid and passed it on to the oldest of his four children.
Pictures from the wedding courtesy of Buster’s aunt, Missy.
Some of the groomsmen (left to right): Jess Posey (brother of the groom), Demp Posey (father of the groom), Buster Posey (groom) and Jack Posey (brother of the groom).
The bride, Mrs. Kristen Posey: