The Jorge Posada Appreciation Thread


(AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

Who has been the most valuable Yankee of the past 15 years? Last month Joe Posnanski wrote about the topic, assuming that it came down to Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera. That’s not a poor assumption. Those two have been staples in the Yankees’ lineup during that span, and they’re certainly the two most famous Yankees of that period. But he missed someone who deserves to be in the conversation. In fact, if you run a quick text search on that post you won’t see Jorge Posada‘s name mentioned once.

According to the FanGraphs WAR system, Jorge Posada has been worth 52.8 wins over a replacement catcher in his career, which place him 14th all-time. That list also includes some players, like Joe Torre, who didn’t catch for their entire careers. The Baseball-Reference database has him at 46.4 WAR, 12th all-time among catchers. It’s just so rare to see a catcher be that good for that long. That gives Posada incredible value to the Yankees.

Even as he ages Posada continues to produce for the Yankees. He just turned 39 in August, though this is his age-38 season. Only one catcher in history has produced an OPS+ of more than 100 in his age-38 or later season while playing at least 60 percent of his games at catcher. That would be Carlton Fisk, who had a 136 OPS+ in 419 PA at age 41, and a 134 OPS+ in 521 PA at age 42. This year Posada has a 123 OPS+ in 421 PA. His .478 SLG currently ranks above any catcher in his age-38 or higher season.

(AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

Posada takes care of everything for the Yankees. Sometimes that means hitting a gargantuan game-winning home run in Tampa. Other times it means working an 11-pitch at-bat to start the ninth, opening the door for a teammate to drive home the winning runs. He might not hit for that high an average, but he can hit for power and he gets on base at a clip far better than most catchers. He is one player who helps the lineup go ’round.

Chances are Posada will never be a Hall of Famer. He just doesn’t have the sexy numbers. But if he finishes this year strong and puts up a similar season next year, he has to at least cause a Bert Blyleven-like debate. I’ll look forward to that one sometime at the end of this decade. For now I just want to take the time to appreciate all Jorge Posada has been for the Yanks over the years.

Categories : Players


  1. Who has been the most valuable Yankee of the past 15 years? Last month Joe Posnanski wrote about the topic, assuming that it came down to Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera. That’s not a poor assumption. Those two have been staples in the Yankees’ lineup during that span, and they’re certainly the two most famous Yankees of that period. But he missed someone who deserves to be in the conversation.

    He missed two people who deserve to be in the conversation.

  2. Esteban says:

    I think that more and more people are waking up to how great Posada really is. The Yankees would not have been nearly as good over the last decade + without him.

  3. Jamal G. says:

    I’m glad this was written. I was just saying to myself a week ago how remarkable it is that Jorge Posada was able to give the Yankees 400+ PA’s, 3+ WAR and the league’s second-best offense at catcher (.295 TAv and .370 wOBA) as a 39-year-old. Really one of the best things to happen this year.

  4. Gonzo says:

    Fact: Posada has a higher brWAR & fgWAR than Fisk between the ages 26-35. I didn’t believe it myself when I looked it up. Of course, catcher defense is very hard to quantify.

  5. noseeum says:

    Never be a hall of famer? Seriously? I think the rings should put him over the top.

    • I think the rings should never put anyone over the top, but sadly, you may be right. If it happens, Jorge’d be getting in for the wrong reasons (although he probably does deserve to be in).

      • This is all very subjective, but I actually disagree a little bit… I think ‘putting someone over the top’ is exactly the situation in which something like championships should be considered. Only in cases where someone is maybe borderline – look at the context of his career for some more color on his impact on the game. If you have a borderline guy who won a bunch of championships, I don’t have a problem looking at that as context and as something that could put that guy over the top.

        It’s when we look at something like championships earlier in the process that I have a problem with it. A guy shouldn’t get into the discussion because of something like championships – the resume should be strong enough to put him, at the very least, right on the cusp. But using something like championships as that one tiny little push to put a guy with an otherwise worthy resume over the top? I think I’m ok with that.

        • This is where we just disagree, then. I can’t consider team accomplishments for an individual honorific.

          • But how do you just disregard things that happened on the field of play?

            I get the hesitance to EVER consider team accomplishments for something like MVP or Cy Young – but the distinction is that those are awards that are competitive and only go to one guy per season, so docking a player for playing on a bad team, or rewarding a player for playing on a good team, is hard to swallow.

            But for the Hall of Fame, we’re honoring a career body-of-work. And yeah, it sucks that some players get to play on bigger stages and in bigger moments than others, but that’s life. I think this idea that we can’t consider team accomplishments in ANY way, in that context, is putting your head in the sand a bit.

            • Steve O. says:

              He’s not disregarding things that happened on the field. He’s just not giving a player credit for being on a team fortunate enough to win the WS. We can consider it, but team accomplishments are overrated in this type of evaluation.

            • Steve H says:

              Hypothetically, what if he had 5 rings but was utterly craptastic in the playoffs? Would you consider the rings to put him over the top or his actual performance and downgrade him?

              • No, that’s not what I’m saying at all, and I think you probably know that. I specifically said I’m talking about “things that happened on the field of play.” I’m not saying you push a guy over the top for simply being on a good team, I’m saying you might push a guy over the top for how he contributed to that good team, even though he may have only been in those situations because he was on a good team, etc.

                Look… To everyone… I hear you, and I’m not saying we reward someone for something done by other people.

                (Also… I think I was pretty clear that I’m talking about looking at this stuff in very few situations and in a very narrow context. I’m only talking about it as ancillary evidence to give context/color/further understanding of a guy’s career.)

                • So… Basically… Do I reward a guy who hit .125 in the postseason but whose team won? No. But do I consider it as evidence in his favor if he put up decent numbers and maybe even (I hesitate to say this because I know it’ll make heads explode a bit) had a big moment or two in the postseason? Yes.

                • Ted Nelson says:

                  “I’m saying you might push a guy over the top for how he contributed to that good team, even though he may have only been in those situations because he was on a good team, etc.”

                  Huh? Everyone is looking at what happens on the field… I mean what else would you look at? You look at how a guy contributed to a good team and you also look at how a guy contributed to a bad team: individual impact/performance/contribution. Your argument is effectively that team accomplishments should not be considered.

                  • No, I think my argument is that you can put a little bit of special emphasis on a postseason accomplishment. A HR hit in the World Series in a big spot can be considered when analyzing a player’s career – again, in very narrowly defined and relatively rare cases. Or, even without a big postseason performance or moment, I think that if a guy who has a HoF consideration-worthy resume played on a team that won a bunch of division titles or pennants or WS championships, and that guy didn’t perform badly in those postseasons, I think you can mark that as a check in his column.

                    • But none of that is TEAM TITLES WON, Mondesi.

                      All those postseason accomplishments — what he hit, how he pitched — are fine to include. Whether or not his team won the ring, that shouldn’t be included.

                    • It’s totally unreasonable to think that a guy who played on 4 World Series winning teams should get some credit for those wins?

                      This is where I think the positions aren’t so different, a statement you seem to reject. Obviously once you say “well this guy was on 4 teams that won the WS, which I think is a check in his column,” you then look at his performance and make sure he wasn’t the last guy on the bench for those teams and/or didn’t shit the bed in the postseason, so it does come back to the individual player’s performance. But I don’t think it’s unreasonable to use WS titles won as an indicator, and I think it’s something to be considered. How many guys who fit my criteria (again, guys who have HoF consideration-worthy resumes) are going to turn out to be non-factors, or even negative contributors, to their teams that won 4 World Series titles? I think that’s pretty unlikely.

              • Steve O. says:

                Heh, I don’t think playoff stats are actually considered. The rings will probably put him over the top, though. I’m not in favor of crediting a player for team accomplishments.

                • “Heh, I don’t think playoff stats are actually considered.”

                  What? I’m pretty sure playoff stats are considered.

                  • Steve O. says:

                    They’re considered, but not very heavily. I mean they aren’t essential into getting in. If a great player has bad playoff numbers, so what?

                    • Chris says:

                      It works more the other way. If a meh player has great playoff stats, then they get a boost.

                      The writers are generally smart enough not to penalize a player because their team didn’t make the playoffs.

                    • Steve O. says:

                      You’re probably right, but it’s still retarded. Why reward a player who did well in 50 plus ABs?

                    • Chris says:

                      Why reward a player who did well in 50 plus ABs?

                      Because they can?

                    • “You’re probably right, but it’s still retarded.”

                      I’m not angry here, I’m really just saying this in the spirit of participating in an interesting conversation and being a little helpful… But calling someone else’s position “retarded” is probably not the best way to go about things. I’m not coming in here flame-throwing and espousing completely asinine theories, and I don’t think I have a reputation for doing so. I may be wrong, but I think I’m, at the very least, participating in this conversation in good faith.

                • Chris says:

                  The writers consider whatever they want.

                  Included bullshit like how feared someone was. But not actually how feared they were. More like how feared people wished they were back in the day, but trying to remember that 20 years after the fact.

            • Ted Nelson says:

              I agree with those who say team accomplishments should not be considered. In basketball I can see discussing the issue since there are 5 guys on the court and one guy has more impact, but with 9 guys in the line-up, 5 starting pitchers, and a bullpen/bench… one player only has so much control over his team’s performance.

          • matthaggs says:

            Forgetting how he has performed in the postseason (not great, but not terrible), he has appeared in (not sure how many he started) 111 postseason games to date, which is not far off from another full season for a catcher.

            One could (maybe)argue that the wear and tear of catching during his annual trips to the postseason have had a negative effect on his individual regular season numbers.

    • Rob says:

      I agree. When folks look back on this era, and see what Jorge has managed to do, I don’t see how he doesn’t eventually make it. In fact, the five rings probably put Pettitte over the top too.

      But Jorge stands on his own. He’s a better hitter than Pudge and a better fielder than Piazza. He was never the best catcher in the game but he’s been top 3 for over 15 years. I don’t see how voters miss that.

      • He’s a better hitter than Pudge and a better fielder than Piazza.

        That doesn’t really matter, though. While he may have been a better hitter than Pudge (and that’s only because Pudge has had a long tail end of crappiness; Pudge during his prime was every bit the hitter that Posada was), Pudge’s defense more than makes up for it. While he may have been a better defender than Piazza, Piazza’s offense more than makes up for it.

        Splitting his offense and defense into two separate evaluations and picking a defense-centric elite comparison to compare his offense to and an offense-centric elite comparison to compare his defense to is a bit disingenuous, IMO. Borderline quotemining.

    • MikeD says:

      Reading (well, skimming quickly) the thread, I’m not all that sure that TSJC and the Honorable Mondesi really disagree. I see common ground on the concept that the # of rings does not equal entry into the HOF, but how a player performs in the postseason could elevate him to the HOF if he was in s borderline area.

      Mariano Rivera (who is not borderline in my book) has obviously fashioned quite an exceptional postseason resume, tossing what equates to approximately two full regular seasons (133 innings) of postseason ball, and doing it against a higher-level of competition, higher stakes, for multiple innings at a clip, and with overall better numbers than in the regular season, which is staggering considering his great regular-season numbers. Many have identified him as the most indespensible player of the late 90s dynasty Yankees in helping them to their four titles. Any voter would have to take that into account when deciding his entry into the HOF. If a voter viewed him as borderline (and there probably are some whom have issues with relievers in general making the Hall), then Rivera’s postseason work may push that voter over the top.

      To put it another way, imagine it was Billy Wagner, who was the Yankees closer over the years, and he has the same regular season resume, but now craft Rivera’s postseason heroics and numbers onto Wagner’s resume. Wagner is regarded as a great reliever, but most don’t think he’s done enough for the HOF. If he had Rivera’s postseason record that might not be the case.

      I can’t credit a guy for just being on the roster, yet I can’t ignore great accomplishments in the postseason.

  6. RCK says:

    Hip, hip Jorge!

  7. Steve H says:

    That would be Carlton Fisk, who had a 136 OPS+ in 419 PA at age 41, and a 134 OPS+ in 521 PA at age 42.

    That’s normal……

  8. JGS says:

    bWAR per 650 PAs:

    Johnny Bench: 5.35
    Bill Dickey: 5.01
    Mike Piazza: 4.96
    Yogi Berra: 4.81
    Gary Carter: 4.78
    Thurman Munson: 4.78
    Gabby Hartnett: 4.48
    JORGE POSADA: 4.48
    Carlton Fisk: 4.44
    Ivan Rodriguez: 4.34
    Joe Torre: 4.11

  9. steve s says:

    Jorge has been great but is there anyone among us who saw them both play that would say he was better, or meant more to the Yanks success during his career, than Munson?

    • I didn’t see them both play.

      What I do see, though, is that Jorge is a much better offensive force than Munson (.276/.378/.480 123+ v. .292/.346/.410 116+) and that Jorge’s teams had more success than Munson’s teams (four rings and counting v. two rings).

      Whether that means Jorge’s “better” and “meant more to the Yanks success”, I’m not sure. It’s persuasive, though.

    • larryf says:

      less gritty for sure. Thurm was the original grittster and hit for higher average..

    • Rob says:

      He hasn’t had to lead in the same way. Jeter arrived first. Without Jeter I have no doubt Jorge would have taken more of a vocal role. That’s his attitude. In fact, he seems very much like Munson.

      • Hughesus Christo says:

        Isn’t it Good Cop/Bad Cop, with Jeter offering positive words of advice and/or excess groupies while Jorge pees on people and throws their equipment into the hallway?

    • noseeum says:

      Munson’s career pales in comparison to Posada’s. He may have had a higher peak, but he declined much more quickly. I love the guy too, but don’t get all nostalgic on us.

      • vin says:

        Munson’s final season was his age 32 year. He certainly would’ve added to his counting stats more, but his rate stats definitely would have suffered as he got further away from his prime years.

        • As evidenced by the decline he already showed during the 1977-78-79 seasons (e.g., the slugging falling off a cliff).

        • larryf says:

          Hard to compare them but Jorge has had a better cast around him. Munson batted third mostly, rookie of the year, MVP-1976 and a .357 post season batting average in 6 series. Hit .292/career and didn’t strikeout much. I’m glad we had them both and am strongly hoping/feeling that Montero will be better than both eventually.

          • Hard to compare them but Jorge has had a better cast around him.

            He did?

            Chambliss, Nettles, White, Maddox, Bonds, Randolph, Rivers, Gamble, Reggie, Pinella… seems like they both played on teams full of offensive talents. If Posada’s teams were better, it wasn’t by a lot, IMO.

            • larryf says:

              Well-I’m glad you didn’t challenge any of my other points here!

              • You want it, you got it.

                Munson batted third mostly,

                And he hit .290/.332/.401 while doing it. And he batted third because he came up on a team that had only Roy White and Bobby Murcer as the only two other good offensive players. Posada batted 5th and 6th mostly, and hit better than Munson while doing it (.273/.372/.455 and .290/.394/.515), and he hit where he hit in the order because we already had an established 3-4-5 core in O’Neill/Williams/Martinez. A lot of batting order is timing and circumstance. If the Yankee team he joined had been weaker, Jorge probably would have hit 3 or 4 from the beginning.

                rookie of the year,

                A nice honorific, but one that doesn’t really help us determine who was better. Thurman came up and was the fulltime catcher instantly. Jorge was in a timeshare with Joe Girardi, who was one of our high-priced FA imports. He didn’t take over behind the dish fulltime until after his rookie eligibility had expired. Jorge didn’t have the same chance to win that Munson did.


                An award he may not have deserved. Go look at what George Brett did in 1976. Or, for that matter, Thurman’s teammates Graig Nettles and Mickey Rivers, who both had higher bWARs than Thurman did (thanks to excellent defensive campaigns).

                Again, like RoY and other honorifics, the BBWAA is so frequently wrong that citing awards won isn’t a very reliable way to determine which player is better. If we went by RoYs and MVPs, we might stupidly think that Andre Dawson was a better player than Tim Raines and elect the wrong man into the Hall of Fame.

                (Wait, that happened? DAMN YOU, BBWAA!!!!)

                .357 post season batting average in 6 series

                He’s a great postseason hitter, for sure. Better than Posada. I won’t argue this. It’s not more compelling than other counterarguments, though.

                Hit .292/career and didn’t strikeout much.

                But he didn’t hit extra-base hits as often as Jorge did, and he made outs at a higher rate than Jorge did. Batting average and strikeouts are not the end-all, be-all of offensive production.

      • Chris says:

        He may have had a higher peak

        Munson’s best season was 1973 when he has a 141 OPS+. Posada topped that twice (144 in 2003 and 153 in 2007) and was close a third time (139 in 2000). Munson had 4 additional seasons with an OPS+ over 120 and Posada has had 5.

        So it’s not even clear that Munson had a better peak.

  10. Chances are Posada will never be a Hall of Famer.

    I think he will be a Hall of Famer. Maybe not a first-balloter, but he’s never been tainted with PED accusations, and he has the offensive numbers to back up his candidacy.

  11. Steve H says:

    I think the fact that people are already discussing his HOF merits will help. I have a theory that guys who’s merits are discussed have a better chance. I think most people who watched Tim Raines play in the 1980’s knew they were watching a Hall of Famer, so his merits weren’t discussed. Then the HR era came and diminished many of the things that players did in the 80’s. The fact the Posada’s case is being debated more than 5 years before his name is on a ballot can only be a good thing for him, because if you dig deeper into more modern stats, you can make a fantastic case.

    • vin says:

      Speaking of digging deeper into modern stats…

      Posada will absolutely be helped by the more astute voters, whereas Pettitte’s candidacy will probably be hurt.

      He has a little bit of a Jack Morris-type career. Except Pettitte was more consistent, and much better. Lots of win, but not 300. Great postseason reputation, but probably overblown. No Cy Youngs, a few all-star games.

      Don’t want to veer too far off topic, but I think its interesting that one guy will probably benefit from the paradigm shift, while his long-time teammate will not.

  12. bexarama says:

    He’s my boy. I really am incredibly fond of him. Like, you know how sometimes, if someone says something even moderately critical of Jeter, people get RAEG!!!!-y? That’s like me with Posada. I just feel like he’s not appreciated at all, and people treat him like he’s been a detriment to the team, which is ridiculous.

    Not to keep dumping on Cervelli because God knows he gets it enough, but I STILL remember all the “we win with Cervelli! We don’t win with Posada!!” shit from the beginning of the year, and it just really pissed me off that people write Posada off like that. And it seems like they do, every year. Yeah, he sucks defensively, but he is a beast – still.

    • seimiya says:

      Andy feels jealous.

    • Andrew says:

      The Cervelli Magic Juice that some fans thought existed, both early in the year and last year when he chipped in when Jorge and Molina were dinged up/unavailable/whatever–that drove me crazy. Advocating less playing time for one of the best offensive Cs still active today and a franchise cornerstone for the last 15 years in favor of a no-hit backup was a disgustingly frustrating narrative to deal with. Give me the Glowering Jorge Urine over the Cervelli Magic Juice any day of the week.

  13. larryf says:

    and was that an infield hit I saw yesterday? And what about his SB’s this year? guy does it all….

  14. vin says:

    According to B-R’s WAR system, Posada is 10th among catchers (with 75% of games at C).

    The top 5 guys played considerably more games (between 400-800 more) – Fisk, Carter, Bench, Pudge, and Berra. Among those 5, only Bench and Yogi were better hitters than Posada.

    The 6-9 catchers are Piazza (legendary hitter), Dickey (similar hitter to Jorge), Cochrane (interesting offensive numbers), and Hartnett (very similar rate stats to Jorge).

    You could argue that Jorge is anywhere from the 4th to 8th best hitting catcher ever.

    Dickey played a similar number of games to Posada. He hit for a higher average, similar SLG, but with 60 fewer HR’s. I assume the funky dimensions of YS1 and other parks of that era contributed to his high 3B totals.

    Cochrane played in 223 fewer games, but had only 31 fewer doubles and 70 more hits. He had 1/2 as many HR’s, but he too hit a lot of triples. He has the highest OBP on the list (by a lot) – .419 to Jorge’s .378. Right now, Posada actually has the second highest OBP on the list, just .001 ahead of Piazza.

    The most interesting comparison is Gabby Hartnett. His OPS is exactly the same. He had a slightly higher SLG, and lower OBP than Jorge. Hartnett also has Jorge beat in BA by .020 points. But in 290 fewer games, Posada has 25 more HR’s and just 32 fewer 2B’s. Cochrane, like Hartnett and Dickey hit a bunch of triples (64).

    It’s clear to me that in today’s ballparks, many (perhaps 60-70%?) of these old-timer’s triples would probably be HR’s. But the game has changed, obviously. Jorge has drawn more walks than any of the guys on the list, despite being less of a hitter than some (Bench and Piazza), and not playing nearly as many games (Fisk, Pudge).

    As Joe said above, if Jorge can put together just one more solid season, he should have a much more clear case for the HOF.

    Another interesting factoid from B-R:

    Mauer’s WAR 38.4 (832 games)
    Posada’s WAR 46.4 (1705 games)

    • Rob says:

      Except for that last bit, I was going to say “Great Post!”. Mauer could be the best catcher of all time when all is done and the usual caveats. There’s really no comparison.

      • vin says:

        B-R’s WAR calculator definitely favors Mauer. Fangraphs has Joe at 32.8 (and Bench 81.5 to B-R’s 71.3)

        Why can’t we get 1 standard measurement of WAR?! I get the feeling it’ll be like the metric system and just drag on for decades.

    • Thomas says:

      Just wondering about the high 3B totals. I don’t know if anyone can check this, I wonder how many player were thrown out going from second to third trying to stretch a double to a triple. I am thinking the high triples may be a result of more catcher/players trying to go to third and being overly aggressive on the basepaths (in addition to larger ballparks preventing the triples from being homers). The high triples may be similar to how most players in the early years of baseball tried to steal a bunch of bases regardless of how ofter they would get caught stealing.

      • vin says:

        I believe they call that “Angels Baseball!!!”

        Seriously though, I doubt they keep record of 2b’s with a guy thrown out at third. It’s possible that it occurred more often back in the day, but probably more for speed guys than catchers. The fast guys always have some leeway to take risks (see Gardner, Brett; Crawford, Carl).

      • Chris says:

        The bigger impact is probably that the old stadiums were larger. For example Shibe Park (where Cochrane played most of his career) was 468ft to CF and 400ft to left and right center. That’s a lot of extra room to run if the ball gets past an outfielder.

  15. noseeum says:

    RE rings, I completely disagree that the shouldn’t matter to HOF votes. It’s the Hall of Fame, not the Hall of Accumulated Statistics and/or High Peak Seasons.

    One shouldn’t get in on the basis of World Series rings alone, but when a guy is on the cusp of making it from his own individual accomplishments, being one of the top players on four world championship teams, and one of the greatest teams of all time, can certainly be thrown into the mix. I see nothing wrong with that at all.

    Same goes for Pettitte.

  16. Tank Foster says:

    Jorge suffers from playing in NY. Jeter has always gotten the attention here. Much as I hate to say it, had Jorge played in Boston, or St. Louis, he would be more highly regarded by the press today, and would definitely be touted as HOF worthy.

    He is similar, offensively, to Yogi Berra, in his effectiveness and durability.

    I think he’s a marginal HOFer because of defense. Career wise, he isn’t so bad in terms of throwing out runners (I did the numbers once and he was essentially league average or slightly better, career wise; and not much different than Varitek on that score), but he just doesn’t get the respect from peers and writers in terms of his defense. Some of that is noise you have to ignore, but still I don’t think Jorge’s defensive ability is on the same level as Fisk, Boone, Bench, Yogi, etc.

  17. Tank Foster says:

    Oh and by the way: Jorge is an example of the “short guys with fat asses and short legs make great baseball players” theory. Bill James was the first guy I remember who wrote this.

    Ron Cey. Yogi. Jorge. Strong, muscular legs, which are also short, gives you alot of power, and a low center of gravity. Stability at the plate, stability in the swing, compact power.

    That’s our Jorge. Hip hip….or should it be “butt butt”.

  18. seimiya says:

    I have nothing intelligent to add to this discussion, so i’ll just say:

    hip motherfucking hip.

  19. ND Mike says:

    Me love me some Jorge. Had my wife not been a party pooper my first son would’ve been a Jorge.

    I am currently in negotiations for the exclusive naming rights over the yet to be agreed upon third child. We have two boys and wife wants a girl. How does Jorge Derek Mariano Andy sound?

  20. Yanksontop says:

    Bernnie Williams the most underated Yankee of all time, not only on the field but of the field as well, it’s all good bernnie never went after the fame so i’m sure thats ok with him

  21. SK says:

    jorge is old school and i like that. batting gloves? jorge scoffs at those wearing batting gloves. he’s a REAL man.

  22. Matthew G. says:

    I love Jorge Posada.

    That is all.

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