Ivan Rodriguez: Closer To Cooperstown
Last March during the second round of the World Baseball Classic in Miami we were fill the blank with the proper adjective to have the lead for The Puerto Rico Daily Sun that Iván Rodríguez was going to be playing his 19th season in the Majors with the Houston Astros.
Four months in the calendar have gone by and ‘Pudge’ is in the news again. The Vega Baja native is set for history again. He will become the all-time major league leader in games caught passing Carlton Fisk 2,226 behind the plate. Coincidentally, Fisk was the opposing catcher when Rodriguez made his debut on June 20, 1991.
Moreover, in interleague play he is in line to break the record against his original team, the Texas Rangers, June 16-18.
If any one have forgotten, Rodriguez, 37, played 12 seasons with the Rangers. It was in Arlington were he established his actual credentials. In Texas he was a 10-time All Star; won 10 out of his 13 Gold Gloves; 6 of 7 Silver Slugger awards; the 1999 American League MVP and many, many other honors and recognitions.
In 2003 he added to his resume something that he could not enjoy as a Ranger. As a Florida Marlins he have a dream season (.297, 16 HR , 85 RBI) and led his young club to the World Series. He was the 2003 National League Championship Series MVP against the Cubs and one of the leaders in the win against the Yankees.
What’s next ?
“I still can play this game on an every day basis,” Rodriguez said. “I just look forward to have a great year and make this ballclub (Astros) in the playoffs. That’s going to be my goal”.
At this moment the Astros are off in the race in their Central Division but in the other hand Rodriguez (.259, 5HR, 24 RBI) is showing good shape to keep playing in the Majors.
No matter he have surpassed Fisk and Johnny Bench in numbers and recognition, ‘Pudge’ have been clear that with his discipline, hard and strong ethic work if he can go on he will. And is no secret he’s next goal is try to reach the 3,000-hit plateau.
Time will tell if he will achieve it or not. However, no matter what, Rodriguez at this moment is enjoying the big moment and no doubt once he retires he will be bound to Cooperstown.
This column was also published by The Puerto Rico Daily Sun / MLB Commentary