Ivan Rodriguez, Pudge Rodriguez, great catcher retires, Pudge


Iván “Pudge” Rodríguez One Great Catcher Retires


Iván is considered one of the greatest catchers that has played the game.

El Bronx, NY – Iván Rodríguez, the future Hall of Fame (HOF) catcher for the Texas Rangers officially retired from major league baseball last night, Monday April 23rd, 2012 at the Texas Rangers’ game in Arlington against the New York Yankees. This is quite fitting since he also played for one brief season with the Bronx Bombers.

After playing 21 years in the majors he will hang up his spikes and will leave a legacy that will be hard to ignore. Iván should be a first ballot candidate for the HOF after a five-year wait. From his debut in 1991 when he became the youngest player at the age of 19 to catch a major league game to tonight when he calls it quits, Iván will be remembered as one of the greatest catchers to play the game. From his first day catching through 2006 Iván had a gun for an arm that threw out 48% of the runners that tried to steal against him. That is one incredible statistic. In addition, another statistic not mentioned was the number of runners that he picked off first base with his cat like reflexes throwing from a squatting position. His ability to do that so frequently helped keep runners so close to the first base bag that few would be able to run to third on a hit which is a routine in baseball. That statistic will also never appear on any piece of paper.

Ivan is one of several excellent catchers that have come from Puerto Rico. The island had produced, Benito Santiago, Sandy Alomar and Javier Lopez and all made their mark on the game during their time. However, from that list of great Puerto Rican catchers and from the overall list of great MLB catchers like Yogi Berra and Johnny Bench (who was named the greatest catcher ever by the Sporting News in late 1998, in which he was also named the 16th greatest player of all time) Iván stands among the greatest as well.

Johnny Bench himself once stated publicly that he felt that in his opinion, Iván Rodriguez was one of the greatest catchers to play the game of baseball.

Since his early years, Ivan has always been supportive of Latino Sports. (Photo LSV)

Rodríguez though a quiet individual and known for his great defense also did his talking with the bat as well.

In 1994, he caught Kenny Rogers’ perfect game, and in 1995, the Texas Rangers named him player of the year. In 1996, he broke the record for most doubles by a catcher and in 1997 he led Texas in batting average with a .325.

By 1999, Iván was voted the American League MVP and also won the prestigious LatinoMVP award as well. His 35 home runs was a new record for catchers and he also made baseball history by being the first to hit over 30 home runs, 100 RBIs and 100 runs scored in a single season. After several years suffering from injuries he was traded out of Texas to the shock of many adoring fans. He was traded to make room for Alex Rodríguez.

Iván proved the substance of that wise Puerto Rican saying, “no hay mal que por bien no venga” (there is nothing negative that something positive won’t come from it) because that year Texas finished in the bottom of the standings and Iván helped lead the young Florida Marlins team to a World Series victory, the only one of his career.

Ivan speaking after winning the LatinoMVP award at Mickey Mantle's in NYC. (Photo LSV)


My personal experiences with Ivan are among some of the most pleasant of any player that I have had the pleasure to meet. He was always cordial, always made time to talk to you, not from a rehearsed script, but from the heart like a regular guy. He also gave me much respect when he would see me and go out of his way to come over and greet me, making me feel like if I was the star, not him. That is the person who is Iván “Pudge” Rodríguez a star baseball player that never allowed his ego to overshadow the shine he carried internally. Baseball will miss a player like Iván I know I will.

Special Offer To Our Readers

The year that Ivan played for the NY Yankees Latino Sports had a “Welcome to the Bronx” luncheon for him. We also made a special commemorative poster of Ivan in his new Yankee uniform. We will give FREE posters (just pay postage) to the first 25 readers that post a comment below.





About Julio Pabón

Julio is President and Founder of Latino Sports LLC., the parent company of Latinosports.com. Julio is a product of the South Bronx where he still lives and runs his businesses. Julio has written and has been interviewed for numerous publication and networks on sports & political issues. He has been an activist promoting social justice and respect for all communities. He is a recognized motivational speaker, was an adjunct professor of American History and presently volunteer's as a lecturer in local South Bronx High Schools. His primary goal is to make Latinosports.com a multi-facet sports portal that will engender social and economic empowerment to the Latino community.

  • Jose

    Free poster, now that is a great. 

  • Wilito

    Interesting to see the relationship he had with Latino Sports. He played 21 years, wow! He came in the twilight of those years to the New York Yankees and could not get it going. I am interested to know why the author did not mention Jorge Posada as a Boricua. So much so, that it would have been not two catchers from Borinquen retiring wihin a year.

  • Josesena1993

    This is a true hall of Famer gonna miss him on the field been watching him since i was a little kid and to see the close relationship he had with latino sports its great man, great article.

  • Felix Rodz

    Ivan Rodriguez is a down to earth person always will and an All Star player. He is a friend of mine and also Juan Gonzalez even tho I move to Los Angeles, Ca. 24 yr ago. When they come an play in LA or Anaheim I will call then up and most of the time they will leave some tickets at will call, and after games we get together at the hotel with our families. We are from the same town in Vega Baja, PR. I’m proud of all puertorican players but especially of Ivan Rodz & Juan Gonz. We play little league baseball for different teams n play against each other in our home town. About Juan I remember that I was a bit taller than him but when he reach 16 yrs of age he became a monster at 6’3″ high and I stay at 5’10”. About Ivan he was a Pit bull, I use to play more against his brother because Ivan is 4 yrs younger than me but his been playing seen he was in pampers. Ivan was the bat boy and back up catcher for his brothers team that’s how good he was becoming. They both play for our high school team, they made the all star team of our town Vega Baja and they both play for our National Puertorican team. We need more players in the mayor leagues, What’s going on?

    Go Boricua!
                         Felix Rodriguez