Ivan (Torres) Rodriguez
None (Lino Padron Rivera High School, Vega Baja, PR)
1988 Amateur Free Agent, Texas Rangers
.299 AVG, 305 HR, 1264 RBI, .807 OPS, 108 OPS+
14 time All Star
13 time Gold Glove Winner
Seven time Silver Slugger Winner
1999 AL MVP
2003 NLCS MVP
1st all-time in games caught
Best Tiger Season
Pudge’s first year as a Tiger, 2004, was his best. He was outstanding, hitting .334 with 19 homers, 86 RBI, an OPS of .893, and an OPS+ of 136. That would be his only year as a Tiger with an OPS+ over 100. It was also his last season as a true offensive threat at the plate, as his numbers have tumbled in every season since.
Little Known Fact
In 2004, Pudge became the first Tiger to win a Gold Glove since the immortal Gary Pettis did so in 1989.
Reason for Being on the List
Ivan Rodriguez is on this list simply because without him signing with the team in 2004, none of the magic of 2006 would have been possible. There probably wouldn’t have been any Magglio Ordonez, Kenny Rogers, or other big free agents coming here. Sure, Fernando Vina started the trend of the Tigers signing free agents, but it was Pudge that made it seem okay for good ballplayers to come to Detroit again. His fire and leadership on the field helped to make the Tigers into winners again and it’s something I’ll never forget, even if he did come off as a sort of selfish player towards the end in ’08.
What Happened To Him?
Pudge has turned into sort of a “hired gun” since his departure from Detroit. He was traded to the Yankees for Tiger legend, Kyle Farnsworth, in 2008. After playing miserably in New York, he spent part of 2009 with the Astros before being traded back to his original team, the Rangers.
On Dec. 11, I-Rod signed a two-year, $6 million deal with the Washington Nationals, for some reason. It must be about padding stats instead of winning ballgames for Rodriguez at this point in his career. I’m not sure why, though.
Though I stated in my last DNR 25 post that Jack Morris might have the best chances of anyone on the list as a Hall of Famer, I overlooked Rodriguez, who is a certain lock for the Hall unless questions about possible steroid use, alleged by Jose Canseco, keep him out. Nonetheless, Pudge is up there with Johnny Bench, Yogi Berra, and Carlton Fisk as one of the greatest catchers in baseball history. It was nice to have him in Detroit for a while.
Rodriguez has three kids, Ivan Derrek, Amanda Christine, and Ivanna Sofia, with his ex-wife whom he divorced in 2006. Pudge remarried in 2007. I hope he got a prenup. Harf…
Info ripped off of baseball-reference.com and Wikipedia.