- C, DH, 1B, 2B
- Pudge, I-Rod
- December 27, 1971
- 5' 9"
- 205 lbs
- Major League Debut:
- 6-20-1991 with TEX
- Allstar Selections:
- 1992 GG, 1993 GG, 1994 GG, 1994 SS, 1995 GG, 1995 SS, 1996 GG, 1996 SS, 1997 GG, 1997 SS, 1998 GG, 1998 SS, 1999 GG, 1999 MVP, 1999 SS, 2000 GG, 2001 GG, 2003 NLCS, 2004 GG, 2004 SS, 2006 GG, 2007 GG
Ivan Rodriguez was the Rangers' starting catcher at the age of 19 in 1991, and within a few years he had established himself as the best player at that position in all of baseball. He won ten Gold Glove Awards and was named to ten straight All-Star Games, and in 1999 he was the American League's Most Valuable Player. He became a tremendous fan favorite in Texas, but left the team via free agency following a third straight injury-plagued season in 2002, signing with the Florida Marlins. In 2003, his 17 RBI in 17 post-season games and gritty determiniation behind the plate, led the underdog Marlins to the World Series title.
"The squatty build that inspired Rodriguez's nickname became outdated a couple of years ago, replaced by a slimmer, faster frame." MLB.com reporter Jason Beck, Jan. 2007
Pudge won the AL MVP Award with his usual stellar defense and a huge season with the lumber. He batted .332 (seventh in the league), with a .558 slugging percentage, 199 hits, 335 total bases, 35 homers, 113 RBI, 116 runs scored and 25 stolen bases.
Ivan Rodriguez and Johnny Bench are the only catchers to win as many as ten Gold Glove Awards.
When Rodriguez won the 1999 American League Most Valuable Player Award, he was voted runner-up for Ranger's team MVP. Rafael Palmeiro won the honor.
Signed as a non-drafted free agent by Texas Rangers (July 27, 1988) Signed as a free agent by the Florida Marlins (2002) Signed as a free agent by the Detroit Tigers (January 2004).
Defensive ability, both in blocking balls and throwing out runners. In 2006, no opposing runners tried to steal off him for nearly two months.
Patience at the plate. Rodriguez's career-high in base on balls is 55.
In 1996, Rodriguez set records for a catcher with his 47 doubles and 639 at-bats. His 116 runs scored tied Yogi Berra's mark for backstops... In six of his first eight seasons (1992-1999), Rodriguez led AL catchers with the lowest stolen base percentage allowed. In 1997 he allowed just 37 stolen bases in 150 games behind the plate... On April 13, 1999, Rodriguez drove in nine runs in the first three innings against the Mariners. He hit a three-run blast in the first, a two-run single in the second, and a grand slam in the third frame... In 2006, Pudge became just the third catcher age 34 or older to bat .300, joining Al Todd (1937 Pirates) and Elston Howard (1964 Yanks).
Batting Leaders, AL (1995-2002) min. 2,000 AB
Nomar Garciaparra... .328 Edgar Martinez... .325 Bernie Williams... 321 Manny Ramirez... .321 Derek Jeter... .317 Ivan Rodriguez ... .316
The Promise of 2004, The Discontent of 2005
Everything seemed to go right for Pudge Rodriguez in his first season with the Tigers. At the All-Star break, he was among league leaders in batting and the Tigers were a surpise success on the field. He cooled a bit in the second-half, but the Tigers imrpved their win total from 2003 by 29 games. The future looked promising. But when Pudge arrived at spring training 30 pounds lighter, rumors swirled that he had gotten off the "juice." When he started the season poorly and missed time due to nagging injuries, critics took aim. He gave them ample ammunition in August when he left the team for four days during a suspension and was late returning. After Alan Trammell refused to give Pudge permission to leave the team during his four-game suspension, Rodriguez went upstairs to owner Mike Ilitch and got approval. The rift between the two was born. When Pudge returned a day late, his teammates took notice. A closed door meeting left Pudge brooding. He was never the same after that meeting. Later, as the Tigers racked up loss after loss in late August and early September, Pudge vented to the media. "I hate losing, I'm tired of losing," Rodriguez said in September, as the Tigers' season spiraled out of control. "I'm not used to playing like this. I don't like to play like this. I've been here two years and I don't see any changes. It's hard to be on a ballclub like that, because I'm not used to that."
On April 5, 2006, in the Tigers second game of the season, against the Royals in Kansas City, Rodriguez went 5-for-5 with three doubles, a home run, five RBI, and 11 total bases. The Tigers won 14-2.
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