After 2,427 games behind home plate during a massive 21 season career, future first ballad Hall of Famer Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez retired Monday afternoon.
The 14 time All-Star was signed out of Puerto Rico in 1988 at 16 before making his Major League debut for Texas in July of 1991 at the age of 19. For the next two decades, Rodriguez killed the game, batting .296 with 311 homers, 1,354 runs and 2,884 hits - his consistency at the plate can be defined by looking at one stat: he finished 19 MLB seasons with over 100 hits.
Pudge was not only consistent at the plate, though. Behind the dish he threw out runners trying to steal bases 46% of the time, to go alongside 13 Gold Gloves. No to mention he caught Kenny Rogers' perfect game and one of Justin Verlander’s no-no’s.
Over his career Pudge suited up for the Rangers, Marlins, Tigers, Yankees, Astros and Nationals, grabbing an American League MVP with Texas in ’99, and a World Series ring with Florida in ’03.
Pudge could go down as one of, if not, the greatest all-purpose catcher of all time, giving guys like Yogi Berra, Gary Carter and Roy Campanella all runs for their money. The epitome of an SB Legend, Rodriguez certainly deserves a tip of the cap after one illustrious career.
Long live Pudge.