Jorge Posada was in his first full season as a pro baseball player, transitioning from infielder to catcher while at Single-A Greensboro in 1992.
Naturally, he had heard about one of the Yankees’ top prospects, Derek Jeter, who had just been picked sixth overall in that year’s draft.
So he was curious what the 18-year-old would look like when he got promoted to Greensboro in August after Jeter played 46 games in the Gulf Coast League.
“He came up those last two weeks in ’92 and everyone was talking about this first-rounder,” Posada said by phone on Monday. “He was very lean and very tall and he had high tops and ankle braces on and I said to myself, ‘Man, that’s our first-rounder?’ ”
That first impression changed quickly.
“Once he started playing, he made a play in the hole, another up the middle and hit a home run,’’ Posada said. “I went quiet after that.”
Their careers took similar paths up the Yankees’ system. Jeter took Posada’s roster spot at Triple-A Columbus in 1994 when Posada broke his ankle and both got to The Bronx for the first time in 1995.
They went on to win four World Series titles together (Posada wasn’t on the 1996 postseason roster), and with Jeter on the cusp of getting to the Hall of Fame, Posada — now working for Jeter with the Marlins as special adviser to baseball operations — expects to be in Cooperstown in July, where he was a year ago for Mariano Rivera’s induction.
“I’ll be watching on TV [Tuesday],’’ Posada said of the announcement of the BBWAA voting. “I think he will be like Mo with 100 percent [of the vote].”
Posada could point to a lot of examples of why Jeter belongs in Cooperstown, but consistency is high on the list.
“I remember in Greensboro how he always ran hard, no matter the situation,’’ said Posada, now 48. “And that was true in his last game in Boston [in 2014], with that last infield hit.’’
It was the final hit of Jeter’s career, leaving him at 3,465 — and on his way to the Hall of Fame.
Tuesday’s announcement will be the next step of a journey Posada predicted early in Jeter’s career.
“I think it was after his fifth season, when he was getting 200 hits every year and I said, ‘This guy’s gonna get 3,000 hits if he stays healthy,’’’ Posada said. “He came up when he was still young and you knew he was gonna keep doing it.”
Posada played his final game in 2011 and watched Jeter play shortstop for parts of 20 seasons between the minors and the Yankees.
“In ’95, we were at spring training camp together and we hit it off,’’ Posada said. “He wanted the same things I wanted. We made each other better. We had the same personality. We see things different than most people. We saw guys partying or not playing the game the right way and didn’t want to be part of that.”
They went on to win the four titles and now work together again with the Marlins, where Jeter is the team’s CEO, while Posada also continues to raise funds for his native Puerto Rico in the wake of the recent earthquakes.
“What stood out the most was how often he played hurt,’’ Posada said. “He’d be out there limping around, whatever it took to win. … He wanted to win more than anybody.’’