There will be no more on-field battles between Buster Posey and Clayton Kershaw.
Posey made his retirement official Thursday, announcing that after 12 MLB seasons with the Giants, he was calling it a career.
There is no one Posey faced more during his iconic MLB career than Kershaw. The two future Hall of Famers sparred 120 times since 2010, with Posey going 25-for-113 with three doubles, three homers, 10 RBI, 19 strikeouts, six walks and one hit-by-pitch.
Kershaw, fresh off the Dodgers' NLCS exit against the Atlanta Braves, took time Thursday to speak to NBC Sports Bay Area about what he admires about Posey.
"I just have all the respect in the world for him," Kershaw told NBC Sports Bay Area's Laura Britt and George Kontos. "I think that's the best way to say it. When you play against a guy for a long time and you're part of the rivalry that is the Giants and Dodgers, obviously there's some built-in animosity towards the other team. We've had our tiffs in the past with other teams in the division, a lot of different things, but I've always admired Buster from afar, I've always thought he carried himself on the field really, really well.
"And now that I've got some boys, I always think about guys I would want them to emulate their game after. Not just how they play, obviously, because Buster was really good at that, but just how they go about the game, how they play, how they interact with their teammates and different things like that, Buster is at the top of the list for me. I'm happy for him and congratulations on his retirement. That's pretty cool that he gets to do that and spend some time with his beautiful family. I was honored to be a part of this. It's pretty cool to be a part of."
While other catchers of this generation have put up better numbers and might have more individual awards, Posey was the foundation for the Giants turning their franchise around. He was the backbone for three World Series titles, won 2010 NL Rookie of the Year, 2012 NL MVP and was a seven-time NL All-Star.
It's impossible to tell the story of the 2010s without Posey's contributions to the Giants and the game of baseball. His Hall of Fame candidacy in five years will be hotly debated. As Giants play-by-play broadcaster Duane Kuiper said on "Giants Talk" on Wednesday night, the Bay Area fully understands Posey's impact, but there's half of the country that will look solely at his stats.
Kershaw has seen all the top catchers of this generation, and while he's not sure about Hall of Fame criteria, he knows exactly which backstop stood out above the rest.
"I don't know. I have no idea what the rules are and different standards are for catchers or anything like that, but as far as in our era with catchers, he's the best," Kershaw told Britt and Kontos. "Offensively. Defensively. He's won the World Series, he's got the hardware, he's done the MVP thing, he's done the Rookie of the Year thing. I don't know what it all entails, how much you have to do to become a Hall of Famer, but all I know is his body of work over the last 11, 12-plus years, he has been the best catcher in the game. So that's got to stand for something. Obviously, we have Yadier Molina, Salvador Perez, we had Joe Mauer, we had different guys, a lot of great catchers. But to me, both sides of the ball, Buster is the best."
Posey and Kershaw are two of the most defining players of the last decade. While they battled in some games with huge implications, the respect is always there. And it's one of the highest compliments for Kershaw to say he wants his kids to model themselves after Posey.