New York Yankees catcher Jorge Posada officially announced his retirement from the game Tuesday at Yankee Stadium.
During an at-times tearful press conference, the 40-year-old catcher said he is leaving the game after 17 seasons, all with the team that drafted him.
He said the decision was completely his, and that he made his choice shortly after last season.
"I was able to live my dream, to play baseball for the best sports franchise in the world, the New York Yankees," said Posada.
Joined at the podium with his wife Laura and two children, Posada also thanked his fellow teammates and franchise management for supporting him over the years adding, "I will forever be a Yankee."
The five-time All-Star was also joined by Diana Munson, widow of Yankee catcher great Thurman Munson, who credited him with bringing her back to baseball after her husband's tragic death.
Posada made his debut with the Bronx Bombers in 1995 and spent his entire career in pinstripes, hitting a career total 275 homeruns.
Known for his patient hitting and gritty persona, Posada helped the team win five World Series.
Yankee fans loved him for the player he was on the field and the person he was off it. When his son was diagnosed with craniosynotosis, a birth defect that causes an abnormally shaped skull, he founded the Jorge Posada Foundation for families affected by the condition.
Posada originally was an infielder but was switched to catcher in the early nineties in the minors. Pitcher Mariano Rivera was there.
“He was horrible. But he fought and fought and became one of the best catchers that I ever played with," said Rivera.
In his final season, Posada was switched from catcher to designated hitter, and initially struggled with the new role, seeking advice from his best friend Derek Jeter.
"You know someone for so long, you know how they feel without them even telling you. I could tell something was bothering him before he says anything. You just try to be there for him," said Jeter.
Posada was an integral part of the Joe Torre, Joe Girardi World Series title teams, but he has now taken the step all athletes must eventually take: retirement.
"Tino said you're going to enjoy yourself. You're going to feel like you're missing something but you still have so much now," said Posada.
The Yanks’ recent trade of the fine young player Jesus Montero freed up some designated hitter at-bats for the upcoming season. But Jorge Posada said there was no reconsidering: his mind was made up, and he was done.