For the man known as much for his passion as his production, it came down to this:
"Because I'm tired," Jorge Posada said Tuesday at a lavish Yankee Stadium news conference announcing his retirement.
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Tired, he explained, of the work required to ramp up for a season. Worn down, he acknowledged, from the drama of 2011, his final Yankees season.
Yet on this day of finality, with the Yankees' 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2009 World Series trophies positioned just to his right, Posada emphasized the many good times he enjoyed in a Yankees uniform. The 40-year-old grew emotional when discussing his family, his teammates and just how much he loved his 17 years in the Bronx.
"I had the idea of going to play somewhere else," Posada said, "but it wasn't in me." Had he been closer to 300 career home runs, he added later -- precisely at 291 or higher -- that might have motivated him to continue his career. At 275 homers, though, he thought he might need as many as three more seasons to reach 300.
He already has received feelers from ESPN, MLB Network and YES about a broadcast career, Posada said, but he isn't interested. He said he might want to coach in the future but is looking forward to a summer off.
A gaggle of Yankees dignitaries attended the news conference, including Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner and his sister Jennifer Steinbrenner Swindal; president Randy Levine, COO Lonn Trost, general manager Brian Cashman and manager Joe Girardi; former Yankees second baseman, third-base coach and bench coach Willie Randolph; and current Yankees Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and CC Sabathia. Thurman Munson's widow Diana attended and contributed a touching speech, in which she saluted Posada for reigniting her interest in baseball.
A minor-league second baseman who switched to catcher in 1992, Posada thanked a long list of people who helped him, including minor-league managers and instructors and the major-league manager for whom he played the longest, Joe Torre.
He identified his personal highlights as breaking into the majors in 1995, catching David Wells' 1998 perfect game and being on the field for the last out of the 1999 World Series. His worst day? July 15, 2001, when he committed three passed balls against the Phillies at Veterans Stadium.
More Yankees fans and employees probably would have chosen May 14 of last year, when he removed himself from the Yankees' lineup against the Red Sox, the culmination of the saga that began when the team moved Posada from catcher to designated hitter after the 2010 season. It's an issue that clearly still stings him, even though he has said he had moved past it.
"Being demoted from day one. I never even got a chance to fight for my job," Posada said Tuesday. "They told me, 'You've got to do this and that's it.' That was one of the toughest things for me."
"Sometimes everyone's not going to see everything the same way," Cashman said. "After the dust settles, it's what you do collectively to get through it. We found our way through it. It's like a mosquito bite on a career of nothing but positives."
And now, after a career of bugging opponents -- and occasionally teammates and superiors -- Posada will rest with his family.