Jorge Posada had Hall of Fame fire but not the votes

Jorge Posada will forever have a place in Monument Park at Yankee Stadium. That has to be enough, as he was shut out of Cooperstown on his first try. Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The no-doubt Hall of Fame quality Jorge Posada possessed was passion. He had it for the game, for the Yankees and for winning. While his best friend, Derek Jeter, was always the ice in the Yankees' most recent dynasty, Posada was the fire.

Whether it was jawing with Pedro Martinez or delivering a spicy quote from an otherwise rather bland locker room, Posada kept things burning in the Bronx.

There are no advance metrics for passion, which is why Posada fell off the Hall of Fame ballot on his first attempt. Just 17 of the 442 voters (3.8 percent) placed a checkmark next to Posada's name, short of the 5 percent he needed to get another shot next year.

Posada's .848 OPS was better than the .798 mark of fellow catcher and 2017 inductee Ivan Rodriguez. He hit 36 fewer home runs than Pudge (311 to 275) but in 3,500 fewer at-bats. Rodriguez had the most hits and played in the most games of any catcher in the history of the game.

Defensively, there is no comparison; Rodriguez might have been the best of all time. Pudge's glove helped him make 14 All-Star teams, while Posada, a five-time All-Star, was far from a great defender.

Even without the numbers, though, there is that gut-feeling question: Is "Player X" a Hall of Famer? For Pudge, it's an easy answer. For Posada, the answer is probably no -- though you might like a chance to think about it a little longer.

And, of course, because of the era of performance-enhancing drugs the two men played in -- along with 2016 inductee Mike Piazza, another catcher -- there is that elephant in the voting room.

The endless shame for the candidacy of a player like Posada is that the truth is basically impossible to discern. While Piazza last year, and Rodriguez this year, entered the Hall of Fame amid suspicion of steroid use, Posada, who has never been linked to PEDs, was shut out of Cooperstown.

There has been softening among voters on PEDs, accelerated by the Veterans Committee's election of the commissioner of that era, Bud Selig, to the Hall.

If Posada never used any enhancers, a relatively noble decision given the time in which he played, his one-and-done Hall of Fame rejection is unfortunate. That is the opposite end of the new leniency on PEDs in Cooperstown.

But even without the Hall, one tends to doubt Posada would exchange careers with either Pudge or Piazza. Posada won four rings (he wasn't on the 1996 postseason roster), and he formed a lasting bond with the rest of the Yankees' Core Four -- Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte and Jeter, who called him "Sado" after legendary public address announcer Bob Sheppard introduced him as "Posado" in his first major league game.

Sado got a plaque and his number retired by the Yankees. That's not too shabby. We'll never know for certain if he deserved even more.