While all professional athletes have to be tough, Major League Baseball catchers take a beating. Their gear is known as the “tools of ignorance” for a reason; stepping behind the plate exposes you to a constant risk of physical punishment. During his career with the New York Yankees, Jorge Posada learned that reality first hand.
Although he donned plenty of protective equipment behind the plate, Posada refused to ever wear batting gloves. Instead, he resorted to a disgusting technique to toughen his hands.
Jorge Posada’s New York Yankees Career
In the 24th round of the 1999 MLB draft, the New York Yankees selected an infielder by the name of Jorge Posada. While the organization saw potential in the prospect, they were skeptical of his footspeed; in an effort to mitigate that flaw, they moved him behind the plate.
Posada was first called up to the big club in 1995 but didn’t properly join the Yankees until 1997, when he became the club’s back-up catcher. Playing behind Joe Girardi, however, he slowly improved; he slowly claimed the lion’s share of the playing time and, in 2000, finally took over the starting job.
As the New York Yankees grew into a dynasty, Posada was an ever-present in the lineup. While he might not have had the gravitas of the other members of the ‘Core Four,’ he proved to be a key offensive contributor. When he retired in 2012, Posada was one of five catchers in baseball history to rack up 1,500 hits, 350 doubles, 275 homers, and 1,000 RBIs.
Jorge Posada used a gross technique to toughen his hands
Despite his prowess at the plate, Jorge Posada refused to wear batting gloves. The catcher simply wasn’t comfortable with anything affecting his grip. “I just like the way it feels without them,’’ he once explained. “I tried ’em when I was younger. I never got used to them.’’
While he wouldn’t wear gloves at the plate, Posada still wanted to keep his hands protected. You might not want to replicate his regimen at home, however. The Yankees catcher would use urine to toughen up his skin.
“I do it during the winter and spring training to keep my hands hard,” Posada said in 2004. “You don’t want to shake my hand during spring training before practice.”
Over the course of his career, though, Posada found a different way to take care of his hands. “My wife found out about it and made me stop,’’ he admitted in 2011. “Now, when my hands get cracked, I use what the trainer gives me.’’
The Yankees catcher wasn’t the only one with dirty hands, though
While urine isn’t going to be a skincare craze anytime soon, Jorge Posada wasn’t the only player to use that unconventional technique. There were actually a handful of men through Major League Baseball who followed the trend.
According to Stan Grossfield of the Boston Globe, Red Sox legend Luis Tiant believed in the practice. “I used to pee on my hands, because when my father pitched in Cuba, he did that,’’ the pitcher explained. “He said it really toughened up his hands.’’ Vladimir Guerrero and Moises Alou also used urine in lieu of batting gloves.
While correlation doesn’t equal causation, all four of those players had impressive careers. Their skincare routine might have been gross, but it clearly worked for them.