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Monday was the 20th anniversary of Ivan Rodriguez’s debut

Jun 22, 2011, 11:51 AM EST

ivan rodriguez rangers

Ivan Rodriguez celebrated the 20th anniversary of his big-league debut Monday, but the Nationals had the day off and then last night he sat on the bench as the man who’s replaced him as the starting catcher, 23-year-old Wilson Ramos, delivered a game-winning homer.

Despite that lack of drama, Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post wrote a nice article about the future Hall of Famer’s first 20 years in the majors, beginning with his first game on June 20, 1991.

Rodriguez was still a teenager then and the Rangers were playing the White Sox, whose catcher was 43-year-old Carlton Fisk, who in addition to being a Hall of Famer is also the original “Pudge.”

At this point Rodriguez is one of the worst hitters in the league, but he’s hit more career home runs as a catcher than anyone in baseball history and is the first catcher to top 2,500 career hits, let alone make a serious run at 3,000. He needs 161 more to get there, which is a tall order for a 39-year-old hitting just .224 while playing a couple times per week.

  1. jjschiller - Jun 22, 2011 at 12:54 PM

    A going-nowhere club with a young pitching staff could give him a shot next year. I realize that was supposed to be that Nats situation; but hey, you can’t blame them. When some foolish GM want’s to trade you a solid hitting prospect at a premium defensive position for a fungible right-handed reliever, errm, CloserTM, you just gotta do it.

    For those of us who don’t follow his club, it seems Pudge must be just hanging on to get that number. For that reason, I hope he gets it. Because as sad as it is to see a once-great player hang on like that, you kind of forget the sadness if he reaches his number.

    When a guy hangs on for a number, and never gets there, that’s the saddest of all.

    I don’t remember if Eddie Murray was any good at the end. Wade Boggs, either. But remembering Fred McGriff’s final years sure make me sad.

    But anyway, hey, hits or not, I heard that if Pudge can stick it out a few more years, and rack up as many years as a BAD hitter as he had GOOD years.. they will consider making him an honorary Molina! So, he’s got that going for him. Which is good.

  2. natstowngreg - Jun 22, 2011 at 1:36 PM

    True, Pudge is no longer a good hitter. But he can still catch and throw, making him at least as valuable as most backup catchers. So he should be able to find work as long as his knees hold up.

    I expect that after the season, the Nats will thank Pudge for his contributions and wish him well, and install Jesus Flores as the backup catcher. Unless some team overpays for Flores to be its starter.

  3. royalsfaninfargo - Jun 22, 2011 at 2:10 PM

    Just because of the mood im in today i will ask this question: What is the anniversary of the first time he used PEDs?

    • jjschiller - Jun 22, 2011 at 3:16 PM

      It was in Kansas City, a hot day in 1995. A young, burgeoning super star Pudge, somehow lost, wandered in to the home club house restroom. He opened the door to the third stall to find Gary Gaetti pants around his knees, bent slightly at the waist, while Wally Joyner held a syringe filled with a murky liquid….

      The rest, as they say, is history.

      • jjschiller - Jun 22, 2011 at 3:17 PM

        Oh wait, we reserve our ire for GOOD players who have been found to be, or have been implied to be, or who show secondary or tertiary circumstantial evidence of steroid use.

        My b.

    • royalsfaninfargo - Jun 22, 2011 at 3:28 PM

      No arguments about Joyner and Gaetti, but is that meant to be a shot at the Royals for having players that used PEDs? Because every team in baseball has that stain on them.

      • jjschiller - Jun 22, 2011 at 3:40 PM

        That’s funny because I didn’t expect someone who watched them play to agree with me.. I just couldn’t find any good Royals players, so I picked the two I’d heard of….

        What does that tell us?

      • royalsfaninfargo - Jun 22, 2011 at 3:43 PM

        You could have also picked Juan Gonzalez, although not sure if he used them when he was with KC, judging by his numbers probably not. I am a Royals fan but I am also honest and a realist.

  4. foreverchipper10 - Jun 22, 2011 at 2:21 PM

    I really hope he gets to 3,000 hits but at this point I just don’t think he will get enough at bats whether it be with the Nats or another club next year.

  5. pauleee - Jun 22, 2011 at 5:50 PM

    .224! He should be welcomed with open arms in Anaheim.

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