Posey got his nickname "Buster" from his father, who was known as Buster in his youth.
To say Posey comes from a small town would be an understatement. According to numbers from 2009, Leesburg, Georgia, the Lee County seat, has a population of 2,965. In 2008, the median income in Leesburg was $33,724 and the average home cost $121,087.
But, besides Buster, Leesburg, Georgia has other talented folks, like "American Idol" 2011 season-winner, Phillip Phillips, and country singer Luke Bryan, who were born there.
Both in high school and at Florida State, Posey was a dean's list student with a near-perfect GPA. He was getting his degree in finance.
Posey was a pitcher/shortstop for the Florida State Seminoles, sporting a 90-94 mph fastball on the mound. Posey's pitching achievements included a 10–1 record and a 1.53 earned run average (ERA) in his senior year.
In 2008, Posey led NCAA Division I in hitting (.463), on-base percentage (.566), slugging (.879), hits (119), total bases (226), and RBIs (93), en route to winning Baseball America's College Player of the Year and the Golden Spikes awards.
Buster is they kind of player that will do whatever it takes to help his team win. He loves the competition.
Posey would rather talk about his teammates than himself.
- He is a real leader, but somewhat of a quiet leader. And he is a real baseball player. He is never intimidated and he has never been afraid of failure.
On July 16, 2008, Posey was selected as the winner of the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award.
Past winners of the Golden Spikes award include current Major League players Tim Lincecum ('06), Alex Gordon ('05), Jered Weaver ('04), Rickie Weeks ('03), Khalil Greene ('02), Jason Jennings ('00), Pat Burrell ('98), J.D. Drew ('97), Mark Kotsay ('95), and Jason Varitek ('94).
Former Major League stars who have captured the award include Robin Ventura ('88), Jim Abbott ('87), Will Clark ('85), Dave Magadan ('83), Terry Francona ('80), and Tim Wallach ('79).
In 2009, the Baseball America Prospect Handbook rated Posey as the second best prospect in the Giants' organization, behind only pitcher Madison Bumgarner. Baseball America rated Buster as the #1 prospect in the California League in 2009 after hitting 326/.416/.531 and throwing out 49 percent of base-stealers at San Jose.
In the winter before 2010 spring training, they had Posey as the #1 prospect in the Giants' farm system.
In October 2010, Baseball America rated Buster as the #1 prospect in the Pacific Coast League.
Buster draws raves for his poise and maturity.
Posey got married to his high school girlfriend, Kristin, after his 21st birthday. He is the pride of Leesburg, Georgia, population 2,920.
In 2010, Posey was named the National League Rookie of the Year.
August 2011: Buster's wife, Kristen, gave birth to twins (a boy and a girl): Lee Dempsey and Addison Lynn.
October 19, 2012: Posey was named the NL Comeback Player of the Year.
In 2012, Posey was the NL Most Valuable Player award winner.
Posey was asked that if he could catch any pitcher in baseball history, who would it be, and why?
"I grew up in Georgia and the Braves were my favorite team growing up. It was right in the middle of when they won 14 straight division titles. I loved Maddux, Smoltz, and Glavine. So if I can pick a retired guy, I think it would be a lot of fun to catch Greg Maddux, just because he was so pinpoint with his control. In talking to other people about him, I've heard he was as good as anyone at understanding hitters. Sometimes it's easy for a pitcher to lose sight of that, because he's not a hitter. So it'd be fun to work with him. I'm sure I'd learn a lot," Buster said.
His journey to becoming catcher started when an FSU coach suggested he try the position for the first time since Little League. It was obviously a wise idea.
In an "MLB 13: The Show" PlayStation video game commercial, a reporter interviews Posey about how he "failed miserably" in last year's World Series before cutting to virtual "footage" of the game, showing Posey grounding into a series-ending double play.
"It's a video game, you moron," Posey says as he storms off the set.
Acting chops, too?
Man, this Posey kid's got it all.
"Actually," Posey told me, "we had been there shooting for a while, and I was a little bit tired by that point. So it was a little bit easier [to act like a jerk]."
Posey has done several endorsements, he held an online Reddit chat with fans, he posed for GQ and he's the star of his own iPhone app—a game called "Buster Bash," in which the user swipes his or her finger on the screen to hit home runs off a virtual pitcher.
"That's been a fun experiment," Posey said of the game. "It's been a learning process. There are always tweaks that need to be made to it."
Posey balances all of these off-the-field endeavors against his primary wish, which is to put all his focus on baseball. And the difficulty of that balance increases exponentially when you build the kind of portfolio Posey has.
Buster is the only catcher in history to have won two World Series championships and one MVP by the age of 26.
The 26-year-old has gilded the franchise's glory. Posey was coming off a 2012 campaign in which he hit .336 with 24 home runs and 103 RBIs, won the National League Most Valuable Player Award and helped the Giants earn their second World Series title in three years. In 2010, the club's other World Series-winning season, Posey captured the NL Rookie of the Year Award.
Posey became the first catcher to win the NL MVP Award in 40 years and the first to win the league's batting title in 70 years. He's also just the third catcher to win the MVP and World Series in the same season, along with Hall of Famers Roy Campanella (Brooklyn Dodgers, 1955) and Yogi Berra (New York Yankees, 1951).
Posey and St. Louis' Stan Musial are the only players to perform for two World Series champions and win an MVP Award in their first three Major League seasons.
In the 2012 all-star voting, Posey collected 7,621,370 votes, the highest total ever accumulated by a National Leaguer.
Posey's younger sister, Samantha, played softball for Valdosta State University. On April 18, 2011, she hit for the cycle in a doubleheader.
Walk-Up Music: Posey reminds San Franciscans about his Southern roots by walking out to “Hell On Wheels” by Brantley Gilbert.
June 11, 2014: Posey's first glove was a hand-me-down his mother had previously used. He used it for a couple years. He slept with it. He still has it. Prior to a game at AT&T Park, Posey made sure roughly 1,000 kids from the Giants Community Fund's Junior Giants baseball program had a glove to call their own. Junior Giants is a free, non-competitive co-ed program in more than 90 underserved communities across California, Nevada and Oregon. Of the 21,000 players, more than 10,000 do not have a glove of their own. Eighty percent of participants come from low- to moderate-income households.
July 13, 2014: Never before had a starting pitcher-catcher tandem each hit a grand slam in the same game, but that's precisely the history Bumgarner and Posey made with their twin slams in the Giants' 8-4, end-of-the-first-half of 2014 blasting of the D-backs at AT&T Park.
"Our battery had quite a day," manager Bruce Bochy said coyly after the game. "Buster's grand slam was the one that gave us a sense of relief throughout the dugout. We've been missing that hit; that's what you're hoping for from those guys in the heart of the order. With two outs, to get a hit like that, that's huge."
"We've been needing a big hit. You're just trying to get on the board at that point, but to get four across, that was great," said Posey, who was encouraged by the way the team found ways to reach base. "When we've had success here is when we're scrappy—we're able to get guys on and we come up with big hits. That's what we did in '10 and '12 and hopefully that's something we can do the rest of this year."
Added Bumgarner: "It's what big-time players do and he's one of the best." No pitchers have been better at the plate than Bumgarner in 2014. When he turned a 98 mph Matt Stites fastball into four runs in the sixth, he became the first pitcher to hit two grand slams in the same season since the Braves' Tony Cloninger, who hit two in the same game against the Giants at Candlestick Park in 1966. Bumgarner leads all qualifying pitchers in average, home runs, RBIs and runs scored. (Hood - mlb.com - 7/13/14)
Posey and Stan Musial are the only players in baseball history to win two World Series titles and an MVP award over their first three seasons.
“My dad was the first to tell me when I was pitching when I was 7 or 8 that he didn’t want the other team to know if I was having a great game or a bad game,” Posey said. “That’s something that’s always stuck with me. That type of attitude bodes well for me with this sport because we play so many games.”
Buster, as the newest "face of MLB," wore a day-old beard and a mildly amused expression as he discussed his latest honor Feb. 25, 2015.
Posey emerged victorious in MLB Network's "Face of MLB" competition, which was determined by a widespread fan vote. The Network announced that Posey beat out Mets third baseman David Wright, baseball's reigning "face," in the finals.
Posey has won the National League Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year awards, made two All-Star teams and captured three World Series titles in five years with the Giants. So being recognized for his wholesome visage instead of his singular performance was a little different for him. But he welcomed the recognition he received from fans who cast their online ballots on Twitter and Facebook.
"Anytime, no matter what it is, when the fans vote, it's cool for the players to get fan votes," said Posey. (Haft - mlb.com - 2/26/15)
Intangibles: Statistics cannot measure the core of Buster Posey's excellence. It consists of intangibles, manifested in behavioral and motivational tools that benefit the Giants' accomplished pitchers.
Pitching is baseball's currency, and in many ways, Posey surveyed and supervised San Francisco's pitching ensemble from his director's chair behind home plate, a catcher who gives perhaps more than he receives. Giants pitchers readily acknowledged the guidance Posey provides.
"Even if it's a huge situation, you would never know by the way he acts behind the plate," Ryan Vogelsong said. "He has a very good knack for knowing when to slow the game down and slow you down, or when to come out and [agitate you] a little bit, to tell you, 'Come on, let's go.'" But Posey soothes batterymates more than he jabs them.
"Everything's always positive," Vogelsong said. "Even if he thinks that you're done and your stuff's not that good, he would never let you know that. Everything is always reassuring."
"He's a special talent," said righthander Jake Peavy, a 13-year Major League veteran. "It's not hard to figure out the success around here. He's a huge staple of what makes this team go and why he's so valuable behind the plate and not at other positions."
Posey said, "I don't know if I make a conscious effort to try and get to know each guy. I think it has to happen on its own. You're probably going to get the best out of each other when it's that way, rather than try to force it. I'm not as good as Hunter [Pence] at positive vibe constantly," said Posey. "But definitely, I think you're going to get more out of your day if you look at things on the up and up."
An interrogator suggested to Posey that he seemed to regard catching as an intellectual pursuit, given the considerable decision-making that occurs regarding pitch selection, among other duties, and the need to understand each pitcher as thoroughly as possible.
"I don't think I've ever heard it mentioned that way," Posey politely said, though he admitted, "I think I enjoy the thinking aspect of it." (Chris Haft - MLB.com./3/29/2015)
Posey was selected to start in the 2015 All-Star Game.
To his fellow Giants catchers, Buster's Major League skills have an Ivy League quality to them. Whether it's by example or with occasional words of wisdom, Posey furthers the continuing education of San Francisco's receivers.
"It's like going to school and having the best teacher teach you the game," said Andrew Susac, the Giants' projected backup catcher in Spring Training 2016. "You can't pay for those lessons."
Some professors come across as heavy-handed -- or, to borrow an academic word, didactic. Posey strives to avoid sounding tedious, as if blocking a slider in the dirt were akin to organic chemistry. Therefore, he prefers to let his actions in drills and games convey his expertise. "Like anything, there's a balance and a fine line," said Posey. "I want to help, but I think for somebody to maximize his potential, he has to figure things out on their own." That's precisely what's happening on a regular basis in Giants camp.
"Sitting there and watching him, and seeing how he works, he doesn't even have to tell me," Susac said. "I can just see it from the bench or in practice."
Observing Posey's execution of fundamentals is especially important for Trevor Brown, who switched from playing infield to catching full-time only two years ago. "Obviously he knows what he's doing, so when I'm not playing, I'm trying to learn from watching," Brown said.
Tyler Ross said that he benefits simply by being around Posey. "Watching how professional he is, how he goes about his business," Ross said. "He just looks determined, in everything he does. The aura he gives off is that he's confident but very humble." Posey even dispenses catching wisdom with humility. "The biggest thing that I've noticed is, if you're doing something wrong and he has a tip for you, he's not going to say something in front of a lot of guys," Ross said. "He'll take you off to the side and whisper something. He'll bring it to you in a way that's not belittling you."
Said Aramis Garcia, rated the ninth-best prospect in San Francisco's Minor League system by MLB.com early in 2016, "Buster's been great. This is my second year of [big league] camp, and he's very open. He welcomes you to come and talk to him. This year I came into camp and he asked me how last year went, what I was working on and whether I needed help with anything."
Posey's thoughtfulness for his aspiring counterparts can be traced to the treatment he received from Bengie Molina. The gentlemanly veteran was the Giants' No. 1 catcher as Posey made his ascent, which accelerated in 2010. That prompted the Giants to trade Molina to Texas and assign Posey the everyday role.
"I think the biggest thing that Bengie did for me is he made me so comfortable, right away," Posey said. "He was nearing the end of his career; obviously mine was just starting. I didn't know what to expect. I didn't know which way it was going to go. I honestly don't feel there was any ill will toward me whatsoever. That's a cool thing, because I've seen guys even in my short time in the big leagues become kind of bitter."
Posey easily commands the same respect and regard. "As far as playing behind somebody, there's nobody better," Susac said. "The way he manages a [pitching] staff, the way he can clear his mind and go to the plate and have the approach he does—it's special, man. He's going to make history. It's definitely fun to watch. I'm just glad I can sit here and soak it in. It makes me a better player, learning from him at the same time." (Haft - MLB.com - 3/6/16)
Touched by what he was seeing in front of him, Dick Vitale leaned over and whispered into Buster's ear in the playroom of the UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital. Dozens of children with cancer and their parents crowded into the room to meet Buster. And a woman in front of Vitale and Posey was hugging her baby while tears streamed down her face.
"Crying her eyes out," Vitale, the vibrant ESPN college basketball analyst, said. "They're not going to a baseball game like he is. They're sitting in here from 7 in the morning to 11 o'clock every night. Their life is chasing a dream, hoping and praying that somehow, through a miracle, their child can be saved. These are beautiful young kids. I was ready to bust out crying myself."
A few precious moments meeting and talking to Posey had an indescribable effect on these patients. Dr. Robert E. Goldsby, a pediatric oncologist, said one of his patient's smile was "unbelievable" after he received a signed cap and ball from Posey.
Posey's visit to the UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital is part of his foundation's ongoing effort to raise awareness and funds for pediatric cancer research. Since the foundation was launched in April 2016, Posey has dedicated time visiting children who are undergoing treatment at a variety of Bay Area hospitals. Vitale, a longtime advocate for the V foundation, joined Posey and the catcher's wife, Kristen, and the three answered questions from a full-capacity audience, ranging from what their favorite ice cream is, to how Posey acts when he's in public.
"Just a few minutes of smiling and seeing a baseball player lightens their day," Goldsby said. "It makes the time go by. It's really a powerful experience for all of them. I applaud Buster. In this day and age when there's so many hard things going on in life and out in the world, it's nice to see kindness and people using their passion to help other people. It's really beautiful."
Becoming a father set in motion Posey's desire to become an active voice for children fighting cancer. The seventh-year Giant said in April that the lack of funding for pediatric cancer is "unacceptable." Every 40 minutes another parent finds out their child has cancer, according to Goldsby, and about 20 percent of those patients will die.
"USCF and many other places around the country are trying our darnedest to try and figure out better ways to take care of cancer," said Goldsby. "The only way to do that is to have the funding to conduct those studies." (Wise - MLB.com - 9/13/16)
December 2016: Posey committed to play for the USA in the 2017 World Baseball Classic.
June 23, 2017: As a National Baseball Hall of Fame voter, I know what somebody destined for Cooperstown looks like, talks like, hits like, pitches like and inspires like, and here's an example these days: Buster Posey.
"Well, thank you," said the man himself, always in low-key mode around the Giants' clubhouse and away from the ballpark.
When it comes to Posey's demeanor on the diamond, that's another matter. His performance at the plate with a Louisville Slugger and behind it with a catcher's mitt continues to speak loudly during his nine seasons in the Major Leagues. They've all been in San Francisco, where he is as entrenched as famous bridges across the bay and cable cars on hills.
Everybody knows Posey can play, but do we really know? I'm thinking we're taking him for granted. Seriously. He has four trips to the All-Star Game on his resume, along with a NL Most Valuable Player Award, three NL Silver Slugger Awards, three World Series rings and an NL Gold Glove Award. He is also a former NL batting title champion, and he was the NL's Rookie of the Year, Comeback Player of the Year and Hank Aaron Award winner.
All Posey has done is excel, despite the season-long struggles of the Giants.
"Yeah, I mean, it's a challenge, especially since things seem to go easier when things are going well," Posey said, referring to the Giants owning one of the worst records in the Majors at 27-48. "I think this applies to a lot of things in life. When things aren't going well, you start to worry about things you can't control, and it also holds true with baseball. When things are going well, your mind is free, and you go out and play instead of overanalyzing things."
Posey gets that mental thing, all right, and the same goes for that physical thing, because his baseball accolades say so. When you study the totality of each of his full seasons with the Giants, he has never spent one less than splendid. He operates at a consistently high level. (T Moore - MLB.com - June 24, 2017)
June 23, 2017: Unlike many already in Cooperstown or those headed that way, Posey never spent his childhood fantasizing about someday earning a bronzed plaque as a Baseball Hall of Famer. He was too busy performing incredible feats as a pitcher and shortstop in his hometown of Leesburg, Ga., when he wasn't prospering in football, basketball and soccer.
"I think, as a lot of kids, I had a dream to play Major League Baseball, but I think I was pretty good about enjoying the moment, enjoying my high school years, enjoying my time in college and not looking too far ahead, and just appreciating where I was at the time,'" said Posey.
Buster cheered as a youth for perennially playoff-bound Braves teams, making an easy three-hour drive to the north in Atlanta, where they spent the 1990s winning a record 14 consecutive division titles, five NL pennants and the 1995 World Series championship.
"I liked a lot of their pitchers -- Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, John Smoltz -- and I liked a lot of their position players. Chipper Jones, for one, and Andruw Jones came up when I was probably 7 or 8 years old, so I got to watch them my whole childhood. And the fact that they always won didn't hurt."
Then Posey was off to Florida State University to make a name of his own, and it happened in a hurry. Not only did he remain efficient at shortstop through his freshman year with the Seminoles, but he also continued to hit as well in Tallahassee as he did at Lee County High School. Soon afterward, Posey changed positions. In fact, after he followed the urging of an FSU assistant coach by turning into a catcher before his sophomore year with the 'Noles, he finished second in the balloting for the Johnny Bench Award, which is given yearly to the top collegiate backstop. He captured the award his junior year, and with even more potent offense, he was named the Collegiate Baseball Player of the Year.
The thing is, given Posey's athleticism at 6-foot-1 and 215 pounds, he could have risen to the top of the college game and beyond as a shortstop. Or even as that standout pitcher he was in high school. Why stick with catcher?
"I think it was just the chance to be involved with every play, working with the pitchers, being able to think through some at-bat in an entire lineup," Posey said. "When I first started catching, I also liked the ability to help a guy get through a game when maybe he doesn't have his good stuff, and obviously, when he has his good stuff, it's a lot of fun. I really didn't have a favorite Major League catcher in college, but I would watch a lot of games. If one was on, I'd try to pick up little things from whomever was catching at that time."
Now others are doing the same with Posey, who accomplished the previously unthinkable last season. After eight consecutive years of the NL Gold Glove Award for catchers going to Yadier Molina, Posey stopped the streak, and he eased into a smile with the memory. After all, the 34-year-old Molina seemed destined to win NL Gold Glove Awards every season until he retired.
"He also was heading to signing a three-year-extension, so I didn't know if I would win one anytime soon," Posey said, laughing. "It was a tremendous honor to win the Gold Glove because I've always taken a lot of pride in my defense. That also was true when I was younger, whether I was in the infield or now as a catcher. To be recognized with that award is really cool."
Offense is pushing Posey toward Cooperstown, though. His lifetime batting average of .309 ranks among the elite in baseball history of catchers who played nearly a decade or more. Take Bench, who is considered the best catcher ever: His career batting average was .267. Bench also had 389 homers to Posey's 126.
That's 126 and counting. (T Moore - MLB.com - June 24, 2017
June 2008: The Giants made Posey their #1 pick in draft, and the 5th overall pick, out of Florida State University. Buster signed for a bonus of $6.2 million from the Giants, via scout Sean O'Connor.
January 18, 2013: Posey and the Giants agreed on a 2013 contract for $8 million, avoiding salary arbitration.
Then on March 29, 2013, Buster and the Giants agreed on a landmark nine-year, $167 million contract. The contract is the longest in Giants history, covers 2013-21, with a team option for 2022. There is also a full no-trade clause for the duration of the contract.
It is also the most money ever guaranteed to a player with fewer than three years of service time—more than doubling Carlos Gonzalez's $80 million contract with the Rockies. And it's a record guarantee for a player with fewer than four years of service, surpassing Todd Helton's $151 million deal with Colorado.
Posey had been due to make $8 million for 2013. He instead got a $7 million signing bonus, with $5 million payable Oct. 15 and the remainder Jan. 15, 2014, and his 2013 salary was reduced to $3 million (plus that $7 million signing bonus).
He will make $10.5 million in 2014, $16.5 million in 2015, $20 million in 2016 and $21.4 million in each of the following five seasons. The Giants' option is for $22 million with a $3 million buyout.
Posey will earn $57 million for his arbitration years—the third-highest amount ever—and $110 million for his free-agent years, a $22 million average annual value. Before Posey, no catcher had earned more than Mike Napoli's $20.8 million in his arbitration-eligible years. Posey's deal nearly triples that.