Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Rodriguez's records won't be easy to catch
When Ivan Rodriguez made his major league debut as a 19-year-old on June 20, 1991, the opposing catcher that day was future Hall of Famer Carlton Fisk.
Ivan Rodriguez wore the catcher's equipment more often than anyone who played the position.
Two decades later, Rodriguez finished his career with numbers that were of a similar caliber to Fisk's.
Sources tell Jerry Crasnick that Rodriguez will announce his retirement on Monday in Texas. Let’s take a look back at some of the statistical highlights of his career.
Rodriguez was one of four position players from Manati, Puerto Rico, who made their major league debuts in the 1990s. The other three are Jose Valentin, Javier Valentin, and Carlos Beltran.
All four players enjoyed careers of at least 10 years, and the quartet combined for 913 home runs.
Rodriguez had the best career of the group. He was a 14-time All-Star, 13-time Gold Glove Award winner and seven-time Silver Slugger Award winner.
His 67.3 wins above replacement is tied with Fisk for second-best among catchers, trailing only Johnny Bench.
Rodriguez is the all-time leader in games caught with 2,427. He hit 311 home runs, 304 as a catcher, which ranks fifth-best all-time.
Rodriguez won the 1999 AL MVP when he hit .332 with 35 home runs and 113 RBIs. He also had 25 stolen bases that season, making him the only player to have a 20-home run/20-stolen base season as a catcher.
In 2003, Rodriguez signed with the Florida Marlins and he would go on to help that team to its second World Series title.
Rodriguez had 17 RBIs in 17 postseason games, held on in a violent collision with J.T. Snow for the final out of the NLDS, and was named MVP of the NLCS after the Marlins rallied from a 3-1 series deficit to beat the Cubs.
Rodriguez ranks first among Puerto Rican-born players in games played, at-bats and doubles, and second in hits, trailing only Roberto Clemente.
Rodríguez is one of five players in MLB history with a .290 batting average, 2,500 hits, 550 doubles, 300 home runs and 1,300 RBIs.
The others? Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, George Brett and Barry Bonds.
Is Rodriguez headed to Cooperstown? Consider this: There are 16 players who have been inducted to the Hall of Fame as catchers. None has as many hits as Rodriguez’s 2,844.