Crawford's emotional tribute to Posey after retirement originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
Nobody was looking forward to saying goodbye to Buster Posey, especially his teammates.
The longtime Giants catcher announced his retirement in a Nov. 4 press conference at Oracle Park, ending a decorated career that consisted of three World Series championships.
Two of which, he won alongside shortstop Brandon Crawford, who paid tribute to his teammate and friend with an emotional Players Tribune article titled "Thank you, Buster" that was published Tuesday afternoon.
Crawford goes on to discuss the player and person that Posey was, and the memories the two shared together from even before their respective Giants careers. The mutual respect goes all the way back to a high school summer tournament in 2004.
"It’s awesome to know that he and Kristen are going to be able to experience so many cool family milestones together as the kids grow up," Crawford writes. "All the memories that he’ll be making at home — while his former teammates are off ordering bad takeout in some hotel all the way across the country — that’s something you really can’t put a price tag on."
"Buster’s been there my entire professional career. We were part of the same 2008 Giants draft class. And we go back even further than that. We actually played against each other in a summer tournament in high school, so we go all the way back to 2004. He was on Team Georgia, and I was on Team California. This was before either of us had gotten too much hype, and I won’t say who won, but I distinctly remember him being on the other team because, well…."
Crawford goes on to discuss one of his favorite Buster Posey moments, which coincidentally, happens to be a favorite for many many Giants fans.
"2012. NLDS," Crawford says. "During what ends up being an absolutely magical run to the world championship. We lose the first two games to the Reds but fight back to force a winner-take-all Game 5. And Giants fans, you remember this well, I’m sure. I don’t need to tell you guys that what Buster did in that game was special.
"What I remember most about it is Buster rounding the bases and getting to home plate where the three guys he drove in were waiting for him, and then Buster just slapping the s--t out of their hands. And then him coming down into the dugout and doing the same thing to all the rest of us in there because he was so jacked up about giving us a six-run lead in such a big game."
A Giants team without Posey leading the way will be a hard pill to swallow for fans, players, coaches and the entire game of baseball.
"But, again, for me, the toughest part about this is going to be not seeing my friend for 162-plus days of the year," Crawford adds. "Not having those conversations, those moments that all good friends share — the little inside jokes, the laughs, the companionship. We’ve played together for so long, been through so much together. So, over the years, all those things have become part of what playing baseball means to me."
There's no replacing someone like Posey, and the Giants certainly have their work cutout for them if they hope to fill just a fraction of the void left by the seven-time All-Star who may one day be enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
"A few years from now, it’s going to be so cool to see my friend enshrined in Cooperstown, and then to visit the Hall of Fame and see that bronze bust of him wearing the San Francisco Giants cap," Crawford writes.
"And lastly, Buster, if you happen to be reading this, I just want you to know that I am so proud of you, and that your friendship means the world to me.
"I miss you already."