By: William Montgomery for Times Herald-Record
NEWBURGH — A few hundred Yankees fans gathered at Orange County Choppers on Sunday to wait for an autograph and handshake from Jorge Posada. They brought bats and balls and posters. And it was all for a good cause.
Posada was joined by his wife, Laura, and children, Paulina and Jorge Jr. They sat in front of the Yankees motorcycle featured on the Orange County Choppers television show years ago. Proceeds from the event went to myFace, a charity organization formerly known as the National Foundation for Facial Reconstruction. Jorge Jr., 15, suffered from craniosynostosis, a condition affecting the growth of the skull in infants. He underwent numerous surgeries over the years, but has started playing baseball in Miami, where the Posadas reside. Sean Schulich, a Woodstock native, is myFace’s Director of Development. He was thrilled to be a part of the festivities and glad to have the opportunity to spread his message among the Yankees fans in attendance.
The Posada family has long been a champion of the cause, originally with the Jorge Posada Foundation. “They had an organization in Puerto Rico that focused on helping folks out there,’’ Schulich said. “They folded their organization into ours and now Laura is on our board.’’ The myFace organization provides care and treatment for those with a variety of facial deformities. Based in New York, myFace gives families the resources they need, including lodging and financial support for medical costs. “It’s very difficult to get a celebrity for our cause and Jorge is an icon, a legend,’’ Schulich said. “He’s the real deal. They’re warm, nice people. It’s wonderful that they’re involved and it’s wonderful to have Jorge as a part of our team, and Laura as well.’’
Lou Spadone of Queens carried a seatback from the old Yankee Stadium, which already was covered in autographs. One signature, however, was missing. Posada rarely makes public appearances like these, so the most serious Yankees collectors didn’t mind making the trek to Newburgh to see him in person. “I came a long way but it was totally worth it,’’ Spadone said. Jared Eannucci, also of Queens, had a No. 20 seatback from the old stadium. He was looking for one name only on his prized piece of memorabilia. “I’m a diehard Jorge Posada fan. Diehard,’’ he said. “I named my dog after him, I’m probably going to name my first-born child after him. It’s obsessive.’’
With an apartment full of Yankees collectibles, Eannucci knows a thing or two about how to get an autograph. He realized getting this one might be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. “He did this in ’97 when he first came up and I swear, from then until now, I don’t think he’s done one,’’ Eannucci said. “It’s very rare.’’ Lindsay Reinhart of Hopewell Junction wore a No. 20 Jorge Posada jersey but didn’t bring anything for her favorite player to sign. Meeting her hero was enough. “I have a bunch of autographs of his already,’’ she said. “I just wanted a selfie and I wanted to touch his hand.’’