- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 24, 2012

NEW YORK (AP) - Jorge Posada was watching television when he saw speculation on which teams were interested in signing him as a free agent.

“They put my face on different uniforms,” he said. “And it didn’t look good.”

He began a Yankee and ended as a Yankee, spending his entire career in pinstripes.

Flanked by his wife and children, with five World Series trophies sitting on a table to his right, the five-time All-Star catcher retired at age 40 on Tuesday after 17 major league seasons. He finished with a .273 career batting average, 275 home runs and 1,065 RBIs.

At a crowded Yankee Stadium news conference, Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and CC Sabathia were among those who watched Posada fight off tears as he sat on a dais with wife, Laura, 12-year-old son Jorge Jr. and 9-year-old daughter Paulina. It was clear the rest of the family also wanted to be Yankees lifers.

“This is so cool,” Paulina said to her dad as she picked up the cardboard in front of her seat with her name and the famous interlocking “NY” logo. “I’m going to keep this.”

Posada joins Bernie Williams and Andy Pettitte in retirement, leaving only the 37-year-old Jeter and 42-year-old Rivera from the core group that led the Yankees to four World Series titles in five years from 1996-2000.

Mariano said this is it. He says one more year. But Derek says he’s got like three more to go. So we’ll see,” Posada said, adding he didn’t expect the great closer to quit after next season.

“I don’t think about it right now. But the time will come,” Rivera said. “Definitely the time will come when I’ll have to just admit it and hang (up) the glove and the uniform and move on. We all go through that.”

Jeter, the Yankees’ captain and leader, expects to outlast Rivera.

“Mo’s still got to go first. He’s a lot older than me,” he said before adding with a laugh: “Mo’s going to be here longer than all of us.”

Shrieking at success and fuming over failure, Posada often was nuclear fission at the center of the Yankees and what became known as the Core Four. While Jeter and Rivera rarely reveal their feelings, and Pettitte does only on occasion, Posada has been a passionate open window into the Yankees, praising, strutting, venting and battling.

“We feel the same way; I’m just better at hiding it. But we feel the same way inside, and I think that’s why we’ve gotten along so well throughout the years,” said Jeter, who first played alongside Posada in the minors in 1992.

He has called him “Sado” for years, since late Yankee Stadium public address announcer Bob Sheppard mispronounced Posada’s name when he pinch ran for Wade Boggs in Game 2 of the 1995 AL playoffs.

In the same room where Pettitte announced his retirement 11 1/2 months ago, select season ticket holders were invited to sit in the audience.

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