I just heard the biggest news ever… even bigger than when I heard that they finally cut Vicente Padilla loose!!
Ivan Rodriguez – Pudge, who was a Rangers catcher for 11 years from 1991-2002, who played for the Rangers all 3 times that they have gone to the post-season, who was the American League MVP in 1999, who has been a 14-time All-Star and a 13-time Gold Glover, who has been to the World Series twice since he left the Rangers, who is my absolute favorite player EVER – has just been acquired by the TEXAS RANGERS again!!!!!!
This is what it says on the Texas Rangers’ Official Webpage: “The Rangers have acquired Ivan Rodriguez from the Astros for two prospects. Pudge will be Texas’ backup catcher, and understands that Taylor Teagarden will be the starter.”
Oh my God… I absolutely cannot describe in words how excited I am about this. I feel like my heart is beating out of my chest! Pudge, you’re finally coming back home where you belong!!!
Seriously, you guys don’t understand. I adore baseball and the Texas Rangers, but I boycotted the Rangers for two years after they traded Pudge. My Daddy said there was nothing the Rangers could do about it, that Pudge was a free agent, and that he wanted to leave, but I would hear none of it. It just wasn’t Rangers baseball without Pudge. It was after I was in college that my dad finally convinced me that the Rangers had a totally new young team that was really good and I started to get back into it.
For the past several years, whenever Pudge’s team comes to Arlington to play the Rangers, I have to go. I went this year on June 17 to see the Rangers play the Astros, and I got to see Pudge catch his 2227th game, breaking the record set by Carlton Fisk for most games caught of all time. By any catcher EVER.
Here’s a summary of what Wikipedia says about Pudge:
Since his time with Texas, Pudge has played for the Florida Marlins, the Detroit Tigers, the New York Yankees (very briefly, thank God) and the Houston Astros.
When he made his big league debut with the Rangers in 1991, he was the youngest catcher in a majors at 19 years old.
No other catcher in the past 35 years of the majors has been as successful at catching basestealers, with Pudge throwing out 48% of attempted basestealers through May 2006.
In 1992, he started 112 games behind the plate and was the youngest player in the major leagues for the 2nd year in a row.
In 1994, Rodríguez led the American League in batting average among catchers, at .298. He caught Kenny Rogers’ perfect game on July 28, 1994.
He had his first multi-home run game in 1995, hitting both home runs off All-Star Roger Clemens.
In 1996, Pudge set an MLB record for most doubles by a catcher with 44 doubles over the season. He also set the MLB record for at-bats by a catcher in a single season that year, with 639.
With the Texas Rangers, he had a batting average of over .300 for 8 consecutive years, from 1995-2002.
He is one of only 9 catchers in the history of Major League Baseball to win the MVP award (which he did in 1999). In 1999, Rodríguez was also the first catcher to have more than 30 home runs, 100 runs batted in, and 100 runs scored in the history of Major League Baseball.
Pudge holds the distinction of being the first catcher in the history of the league to get more than 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases in a season.
He is one of only six players who have concluded a 30-homer season with more homers than walks (34 HR, 24 BB).
In 2000, Rodríguez appeared in just 91 games, which was the fewest that he appeared in since his first season in the league, 1991. On July 24, Rodríguez suffered a season-ending injury in a game against the Anaheim Angels. While trying to make a throw to second base, his thumb made contact with the swing of Mo Vaughn’s bat. He fractured his right thumb and underwent surgery the next day. This injury caused him to miss the rest of the season.
Rodríguez returned to full action in 2001 and had another All-Star season. He was selected to his 9th straight MLB All-Star Game in a row in 2001, which tied the all time record set by Johnny Bench. He also tied Bench’s record of 10 straight Rawlings Gold Glove Awards in a row.
Pudge has been selected to the All-Star Team 14 total times, and he has 13 total Gold Gloves