SAN FRANCISCO -- A day after celebrating a title-winning team effort, the Giants honored their de facto captain.
Buster Posey received his MVP trophy in a pre-game ceremony that included past National League MVP's Willie Mays (1954, 1965), Willie McCovey (1969), Kevin Mitchell (1989) and Jeff Kent (2000). Posey easily took home the 2012 award after leading the league in hitting (.336), slugging 24 homers and starting 111 games behind the plate the season after a devastating ankle injury.
"I don't know what the perfect package is in terms of a player," manager Bruce Bochy said during the ceremony. "But I do know that Buster is as close as I've ever seen."
The first 40,000 fans in Saturday's sellout crowd received a commemorative Posey bobblehead and Posey's grandparents, parents, wife and twin children sat on the field for the ceremony. During a speech that lasted just under two and a half minutes, Posey thanked his family, a lifetime of coaches, the Giants organization, his teammates and the fans.
"To win an award like this takes a lot of support," Posey said. "It was a very surreal feeling when I heard my name announced as the National League Most Valuable Player last fall. I'm extremely humbled."
Bochy said that even in a weekend filled with celebration, this was one ceremony he was really looking forward to.
"It's a special day for Buster and he's a special player," Bochy said. "I'm fortunate to have been doing this for a while and have managed some great players, and he's as good as I've had."
"He's a guy that's going to be talked about for a long time."
Mitchell and Kent both believe Posey will be catching for a long time, too. Mitchell, who played six different positions in his career, called the 2011 home-plate collision a fluke play, and said it's clear that Posey has a deep passion for catching that will keep him behind the plate. Kent, who played the vast majority of his career at second base, said he thinks Posey could catch throughout a contract that should keep him in San Francisco through at least 2021.
"You wait until the writing is on the wall," Kent said. "And it may be his handwriting. When his arm and knees and ankle start to hurt, maybe he'll wake up and think he should play first base. But that's way down the line.
"And he'll decide that."
Kent said that if Posey does eventually have to move away from catching, he could envision a move to third base. Bochy has made similar statements in the past.
"Catchers have great hand reaction and initial quickness," Kent said. "He's got a great arm, too. But hey, give that decision 10 years."
For now, Posey is the best all-around catcher in baseball and the face of the franchise. When Mitchell was addressing the media, he looked up and saw a photo of a smiling Posey on the scoreboard.
"He's like Captain America up there," Mitchell said, laughing.