Wednesday, January 21, 2015
#360 Ivan Rodriguez
About the Back: The Rangers had some interesting batteries in 1991, with teenager Rodriguez catching 44-year-old starting pitcher Nolan Ryan and 39-year-old reliever Goose Gossage, among others.
1. On September 11, 1997, Ivan homered in three consecutive at-bats against the Twins, driving in five runs in a 7-0 Rangers victory.
2. Rodriguez was the American League MVP in 1999, when he batted .332/.356/.558 with career highs of 35 home runs, 113 RBI, and 25 stolen bases (while being caught 12 times, so he probably should've been given the red light). There were many worthy candidates, but my vote would've gone to Pedro Martinez (23-4, 2.07 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, 313 K).
3. He retired after the 2011 season with an all-time record for games caught, squatting behind the plate for 2,427 games in all. He racked up 13 Gold Gloves and threw out 45.7% of would-be base stealers; in nine different seasons he led the American League in caught-stealing percentage
11-Year-Old Kevin Says: It used to annoy me that people called Ivan "Pudge", because that was already Carlton Fisk's nickname. I felt like he should have to go by something more original. Then people started calling him "I-Rod" at some point, and that was much, much worse.
Bill James Said: "He is still young enough and strong enough to develop 20-home-run power, but then I would have said the same thing about Tony Pena at the same age." From 1996-2004, Rodriguez averaged 22 homers and 83 RBI a year. Of course, offense was in a boom period during those years, for a variety of reasons.
On This Date in 1993: January 21. Here's an especially cynical daily strip from Calvin and Hobbes.