Family always will come first for Buster Posey. It's why he chose to opt out of the 2020 season, and it's the main reason why on Thursday he announced his retirement from baseball after 12 legendary years as a Giant.
But following that 2020 season away from the Giants, he could have easily hung up his cleats right then. He already had won three World Series rings and had every other accolade to his name that a kid could dream of. He had nothing left to prove, at least on the outside.
Inside, he knew there still was business to do be done.
"I told Jeff, my agent, at the beginning of the year I said, 'I want to individually prove to myself that I can still play this game at the highest level,' " Posey said to reporters. "Not playing last year, not having a good year in '19 -- doubts creep in, for sure."
Any doubts were quickly answered. Posey proved to himself and everybody else that he still is an elite player at 34 years old.
In 113 regular-season games, Posey hit .304 with 18 home runs and an .889 OPS. Two years prior in 2019, he hit a career-low .257 with seven home runs and a .688 OPS, which also was the worst of his career. This year, Posey's batting average was his highest since 2017, he hit his most home runs since 2015 and his OPS was his highest since his MVP season in 2012 when he was only 25 years old.
He then hit .300 in the National League Division Series, and his final home run of course came against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Oracle Park.
Posey was an All-Star this season and is set to win his second NL Comeback Player of the Year. As he did his entire career, he refused to keep the spotlight on him, even in retirement. Throughout the day, he couldn't downplay what a joy it was to play with this group of Giants in 2021.
"It's very cliche to say 'a special group of guys' because it's overused, but I can honestly say that clubhouse probably meshed and got along as well as I've ever seen," Posey said.
He even gave the Dodgers credit for constantly pushing the Giants all season long. He can call it fun now but acknowledged it was far from that with their dreaded rivals breathing down the Giants' necks for the majority of the year.
Posey went out on his own terms and proved the only person whose opinion really matters to be right. In his own fashion, it'll always be about more than one person or player, though.
"That's the great thing about being able to push yourself and have other people and teammates around you pushing the same way," he said, "because when it's all said and done, win or lose, you know if you've put it all out there -- it's a satisfying feeling."
From his debut to his final day as a Giants player, Posey put it all out there. We all saw it, and whether he likes to admit it or not, so did he.