Why Chris 'Mad Dog' Russo changed Buster Posey Hall of Fame candidacy stance

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Why 'Mad Dog' Russo changed stance on Posey's Hall of Fame case originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

Buster Posey’s retirement at the age of 34 caught many in the baseball world by surprise, and it also ignited discussions over whether the former Giants’ catcher will make it into the Hall of Fame.

The way Posey went out changed at least one person’s mind over the catcher’s candidacy for Cooperstown. MLB Network’s Chris Russo, aka "Mad Dog," previously was defiant that Posey will “definitely not” make it into the Hall of Fame, but now believes he’ll make it after Posey hit .304 with 18 home runs and 56 RBI in 113 games last season.

“Last year, he was very, very good,” Russo told NBC Sports Bay Area’s Laura Britt and Rich Aurilia. “He’s going to probably make the Hall of Fame. I do think it’s a little easier to get in now than it used to be 15, 30, 40 years ago. He’s not Johnny Bench. He’s not Gary Carter. We understand that. He’s not going to hit 30 homers, not going to get 100 RBIs. But he has won an MVP, won a Rookie of the Year, three championships. He went out good, because he played very well last year too.”

Posey’s career was relatively brief – he played 12 seasons – and his numbers don’t automatically scream Hall of Fame. But as a catcher, he guided the Giants to three World Series in five years, winning Rookie of the Year and an MVP award during that run.

Russo’s previous argument was that Posey has only had “four very good seasons” and that he needed more than four to get into the Hall of Fame.

But after a 2021 season where Posey hit over .300 and helped the Giants to a franchise-best 107 regular season wins, Russo is sold.

“He’s not the prototypical ‘year after year after year after year,’” Russo said. “But as a catcher, where he hit cleanup on a good team four or five different times – good enough defensively, three-time champ. He kind of represents this Giant group. I think he’s probably going to make it.”

Related: Why Bochy believes Posey is a lock for the Hall of Fame

Russo also pointed out that longtime St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina, who is retiring after this season, is a lock for the Hall of Fame. If Molina gets in – and if voters believe Posey is as good as Molina – then Buster should be in Coopertown too, according to Russo.

Molina’s career batting average sat at .279 entering this season, though he’s been playing since 2004 and has generally been regarded as one of the top defensive catchers in the league since then.

“He’s a better catcher than Buster was,” Russo said of Molina. “Not as good a hitter. Good enough hitter. But not a very good hitter. He’s kind of the Ozzie Smith of catchers in a lot of ways. And he’s going to make it. If I put Molina in and I think Posey’s as good as he is, I’m probably going to put him in too.”

Posey won’t be eligible for the Hall of Fame until 2026. Perhaps nostalgia and appreciation for his Giants’ tenure will fully sway public opinion in favor of his candidacy by then. It’s apparently already changed Chris Russo’s mind.

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