DETROIT — Buster Posey hugged Sergio Romo, because catchers are supposed to hug their pitchers when they win the World Series. Then he held the baseball aloft and looked for his manager, Bruce Bochy.
Posey, the 25-year-old leader of the San Francisco Giants, wanted to get the ball in responsible hands before one of his hirsute teammates wrestled it away.
Even in a moment of wild celebration on Sunday night, Posey was determined to do the right thing.
“I gave it to Boch. I’ll let him make the decision what he does with it,” Posey said on Sunday night after the Giants beat the Detroit Tigers, 4-3, in 10 innings to sweep the World Series.
Perhaps Bochy should have given the ball right back. Posey deserved some kind of award.
After a regular season that could earn him the National League MVP award, Posey drove in nine runs in 16 postseason games. His grand slam in Game 5 of the Division Series against the Reds led to a 6-4 victory. Posey homered on Sunday night in the sixth inning.
Posey also handled a pitching staff that had a 2.88 earned run average in the postseason as the Giants won their second title in three seasons.
Third baseman Pablo Sandoval was the Most Valuable Player of the Series. But the Giants aren’t preparing for a parade without Posey.
“Nobody’s really talking about Buster, what he did with the pitching staff. He was putting the right fingers down,” Giants general manager Brian Sabean said. “There weren’t many shakeoffs in my estimation or trips to the mound. He was terrific.”
With two World Series titles in his first three full seasons in the majors, Posey is becoming the Derek Jeter of his generation. Like Jeter, Posey was the Rookie of the Year and won the Series in his first season.
Then came a second title in the third season. Jeter was 24 when the Yankees swept the Padres in 1998.
Like Jeter was — and still is — Posey is a remarkably composed player with the ability to bring together a clubhouse full of diverse characters. Jeter leads from shortstop, Posey from behind the plate.
“I have no idea what Jeter feels like,” Posey said. “I think he’s won a few more.”
Posey also overcame missing the final four months of the 2011 season after a home plate collision with Scott Cousins of the Marlins that resulted in a broken left leg and torn ankle ligaments.
When he returned to the lineup this season, Posey hit .336 with 24 home runs and 103 RBIs, playing all but 14 games. He then led a team that won six elimination games in the postseason and won seven straight to finish the season.
“For three years, I’ve understood how hard this game is. What it takes to win, not only in the regular season, which is 162 games and a complete grind, but then in the postseason, where everything is amplified,” Posey said.
“To get two in three years, it’s unbelievable. This time around, I appreciate it even more because I understand the difficulty of doing it. In 2010, everything happened so fast, it was a whirlwind. This year, we overcame a lot in the first two rounds before we got it done here against Detroit.
“They’re both just as sweet. After the first time, it sinks in what you’ve done and you realize how great it would be to accomplish it again. To do it again, it means a lot.”
With Posey behind the plate and a strong rotation and bullpen, the Giants are set up for long-term success.
Bochy has proven himself as the right manager for this team and the underrated Sabean is adept at small moves, such as trading for Marco Scutaro, that turn out to be important.
Sabean leans on scouts far more than he does statistics, something baseball has turned away from. But with the right scouts and attention to detail, that can work.
“I think the Giants organization does it right,” Posey said. “It starts from the top with ownership and works its way down. To have an ownership that wants to win, that takes risks to give us the best shot to succeed, as players, you can’t ask for anything more.
“It’s a special group of guys. You have to have this chemistry and this bond to get something like this done. The memories you make with these guys are what will really last. The trophies are great, the accolades are great, but the memories you can take and share with your family are what really last.”