Yankee Jorge Posada on Fatherhood and His Son's Health Condition

Filed under: Celeb News & Interviews

new york yankee jorge posada

New York Yankee Jorge Posada started a foundation to help kids with the skull condition from which his son suffers. Credit: Andrew H. Walker, Getty Images

One of the most popular players in Major League Baseball, Jorge Posada, catcher for the New York Yankees since 1995, has earned five Silver Slugger Awards, several All-Star team spots and five World Series rings.

But off the field, Posada, 40, turns his focus to his wife, Laura, and their two children, Jorge III, 11, and Paulina, 8.

And, although Posada tells ParentDish he loves being a dad, the job has come with heartache. An edited version of the interview follows.

PD: In addition to your athletic talents, you star in the role of Dad.
JP: Yeah, that is my favorite part of life. Nothing beats being a father and raising two beautiful kids that are a handful -- but in a good way.

PD: How would you describe your job as a dad?
JP: Unfortunately, I miss a lot of their time because I have to travel a lot for work. When I am not working, and have the time to be around them, I do everything I can to make them feel special. The worst part is when I have to miss parts of their life during the year that are really meaningful.

PD: Is hard to be apart for so long?
JP: Yes, it is tough. I really miss every bit of being around them and playing with them. I know they miss me and knowing that hurts a lot.

PD: How do you stay in touch when you're on the road for baseball games?
JP: We do a lot of the face time on the iPhone and we Skype, too.

PD: Your son, Jorge III, was diagnosed with craniosynostosis, a pediatric skull deformity, 10 days after he was born.
JP: Yes.

PD: Did you know about the condition prior to your son's birth?
JP: I did not know anything about it because I never heard of it and we have no family history of it. After Jorge was born and they used this big word when telling us about Jorge, my wife and I thought it was the end of the world. It was really tough. I remember Jorge's first operation when he was about 6 or 7 months old. It was eight hours long and the worst period, as you can imagine.

PD: How did you manage to keep it together and not fall apart?
JP: I kept a lot of it inside. The only people who knew what I was going through were Derek (Jeter), Joe Torre and Tino Martinez. The less people that knew and the less I talked about it, the easier it was for me to deal with what was happening.

PD: What went through your mind after you had a moment to digest what was happening?
JP: Thank God for family. I mean, they had to cut my son open from ear to ear to correct the problem, and that is so painful as a dad to hear. Jorge has had eight surgeries and still has one more to go, so it has been tough.

PD: How is Jorge doing now?
JP: He is doing really, really well. He has no limitations and lives his life normally.

PD: You and your wife established the Jorge Posada Foundation in 2000.
JP: We wanted to help out kids and their parents. When you have a child who has craniosynostosis, you need to connect with other parents who can relate to what you are going through. We have a program that helps parents understand what this condition is all about, what will happen during the operation and what to expect afterwards.

Jorge Posada son

Jorge Posada and his son, Jorge Posada III. Credit: Kathy Willens, AP

PD: Has creating this charity helped you deal with all of this?
JP: I think so. It has helped me talk about it and it also helps me realize we can now help other children, too.

PD: You also have a daughter, Paulina. Has it been hard on her, as well?
JP: I think so. Seeing him in magazines when she was younger and not understanding why he was featured in a story and she was not was a bit difficult to explain. Now that she is older, she understands what her brother has been through. Matter of fact, she is playing a very active role in the foundation.

PD: Some couples tend to split during an ordeal like this.
JP: We had both our parents there with us. Although, I never let Laura see me cry. I did that so I could be strong for her. We were each other's strength.

PD: Because of Jorge's condition, were you scared to have another child?
JP: When they told us Paulina had her 10 fingers, 10 toes and was healthy, we were so happy. But yes, those nine months were scary.

PD: Opening day is March 31. Will your family be sitting in the stands?
JP: I would assume so, since it is also a big family day and the kids can go on the field.

PD: Do you make your kids wear your jersey?
JP: They like to switch it up a bit. Jorge likes to wear Nick Swisher's number and Paulina tends to wear Derek's.

ParentDish: You've played for the Yankees your entire career -- will 2011/2012 be another championship season?
Jorge Posada: I hope so. We have a good team lined up and we look forward to the competition again.

PD: How is the new season looking?
JP: It is early right now because we are in the third day of spring training, but I think we look healthy and are ready to go.

PD: Starting pitcher Andy Pettitte announced his retirement earlier this month. How will that change the playing field going forward?
JP: We have to really put that behind us and get going. We will miss him dearly because he was a great leader and a great friend. However, now we have to look beyond Andy and get somebody to step up and fill those big shoes.

PD: Speaking of Yankee players, I read somewhere that Derek Jeter was the best man at your wedding.
JP: Yes. That is true (laughs).

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.