Results tagged ‘ american league ’

Baseball’s Best Latino Players By Number

clemente.jpgSince 1929 when the New York Yankees and the Cleveland Indians were the first major league clubs to wear uniform numbers, players have been marked forever by their jersey numbers.

In Yankee Stadium at Monument Park you can see all the famous numbers that have been immortalize by such names as Billy Martin, Babe Ruth, JoeDiMaggio, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Don Mattingly and Reggie Jackson.

The most famous no. 8 ever in Baltimore Orioles history was Cal Ripken. In Boston the most notable no. 9 ever was Ted Williams. No fan in Philly have forgotten that no. 20 was property of Mike Schmidt.

In Pittsburgh never has been forgotten the no. 8 Willie Stargell and number 21 Roberto Clemente.

Every franchise has its own history. Every fan is loyal to their favorite player’s number. When I pitched in the little leagues I was no. 30 in honor of Nolan Ryan. When my pitching young days were over my jersey number was no. 8 in honor of Dickie Thon.

This is my list of numbers that have been immortalize by latinos in Major League Baseball history:

0-Rey Ordoñez
1-Luis Castillo
2-Hanley Ramírez
3-Alex Rodriguez (Seattle Mariners-Texas Rangers))
5-Albert Pujols
6-Tony Oliva
7-Ivan Rodríguez
8-Dickie Thon
9-Minnie Miñoso
10-Miguel Tejada
11-Luis Aparicio, Edgar Martinez, George Bell
12-Roberto Alomar
13-Alex Rodriguez (New York Yankees), Dave Concepcion, Omar Vizquel
14-Andres Galarraga
15-Carlos Beltran
18-Moises Alou, Omar Moreno
19-Juan Gonzalez, Bert Campaneris
20- Jorge Posada
21-Roberto Clemente, Sammy Sosa, Ruben Sierra, Carlos Delgado (New York Mets)
24-Tany Perez, Manny Ramirez, Miguel Cabrera
25-Jose Cruz, Rafael Palmeiro, Mike Lowell, Carlos Delgado (Toronto Blue Jays)
27-Juan Marichal, Vladimir Guerrero
29-Rod Carew
30-Orlando Cepeda, Dennis Martinez, Magglio Ordoñez
34-David Ortiz, Fernando Valenzuela
35-Mike Cuellar
40-Bartolo Colón
41-Victor Martínez
42-Mariano Rivera
45-Pedro Martínez, Carlos Lee. John Candelaria
46-Tony Armas Sr.
51-Bernie Williams
53-Bobby Abreu
55-Fausto Carmona
57-Francisco Rodriguez
61-Livan Hernández
63-Rafael Betancourt
74-Ugueth Urbina

MLB’ Best Latino Players Last 20 Seasons

Ivan Rodriguez.jpgESPN is celebrating 20 years of covering Major League Baseball and the network asked fans to vote for their all-time team of the last 20 seasons.

At this moment, fans are being asked to pick the winners for each position.

Not surprisingly, winning names in this national poll have been Edgar Martinez as the top DH, Albert Pujols top first baseman, Ivan Rodriguez as top catcher, and Mariano Rivera as the top closer in the last 20 years.

All players from Latin America.

For the last 23 years I have been covering the Major League Baseball beat of the Puerto Rican and Latin American players, and over that time I have seen a bunch of great players.

I’ve also seen how appealing they are to their fans. I have seen how hall-of-famers Roberto Clemente, Orlando Cepeda, Tany Perez, Luis Aparicio, Rod Carew, and Juan Marichal are perceived as never-gone heroes in the respective towns they played in in their hey-days.

Nowadays players like Albert Pujols, Hanley Ramirez, Manny Ramirez, Johan Santana and many others are closely watched and being regarded as the No. 1 players of their respective franchises.

Quite different to ESPN’ SportsNation Poll, I will share whom I believe are the best Latino players the last 20 years. Most possibly readers will have have a different opinion, but this is my own Latino All-Star team.

Catchers-Santos Alomar Jr., Javier López, Jorge Posada, Iván Rodríguez, Benito Santiago

First Base-Miguel Cabrera, Carlos Delgado, Andrés Galarraga, Rafael Palmeiro, Albert Pujols

Second Base-Roberto Alomar, Carlos Baerga, Julio Franco

Third Base-Vinny Castilla, Mike Lowell, Alex Rodríguez

Shortstop-Hanley Ramirez, José Reyes, Miguel Tejada, Omar Vizquel

Outfielders-Bobby Abreu, Carlos Beltran, José Canseco, Juan González, Vladimir Guerrero, Magglio Ordoñez, Sammy Sosa, Bernie Williams

Pitchers-Pedro Martinez, Johan Santana

Closers-Mariano Rivera, Francisco Rodriguez

Designated Hitter-Edgar Martinez, David Ortiz

Roberto Alomar and Edgar Martinez: First Ballot Hall of Famers ?

Once upon a time Puerto Ricans used to chat about just two boricuas Roberto Clemente and Orlando Cepeda being in baseball Hall of Fame. If dream comes true like a fairy tale story this same time around next year we can be praising two more.

That fantasy could be reality next December when members of the Baseball Writers Association of America will receive ballots that list candidates eligible for induction into the Hall of Fame in 2010.

With historical and stats records furnished to them and with their own perception of greatness to back up their judgement, there should be great hope in Puerto Rico the writers wii consider our own Roberto Alomar and Edgar Martinez.

In my opinion, their career records should assure them of gaining acceptance and earning plaques in Cooperstown and why not in their first year of eligibility.

Roberto Alomar was one of the biggest stars and arguably the best second baseman in the history of the game. He was a 12-time All-Star, 11 consecutive seasons from 1991-2001, in 17 major league seasons.   In the same career time he won 10 Gold Gloves, the most by a second baseman ever. In his prime he was doing everything right at second base a la Ozzie Smith did at shortstop or Brooks Robinson at third base.

Going strictly by his offense, his numbers are hall of fame too. He finished his career with a .300 batting average and among hall-of-fame comparisons he had more career hits and RBI than two other Hall-of-Fame second basemen Joe Morgan and Ryne Sandberg. Not enough ? In Alomar’s case, the most basic statistics should serve. Among all second basemen, Alomar ranks sixth in hits, seventh in runs scored,  10th in RBIs and fourth in steals. When he called it quits he was just 276 hits shy of 3,000 hits.

Among his hardware let’s not forget he was an American League Championship Series MVP (1992); All Star Game MVP (1998), two-time World Series member (1992,1993) and a four-time Silver Slugger Award. A three-time Toronto’ Player of the Year, franchise that inducted him into their Blue Jays Level of Excellence group last year and a two-time Cleveland Indians’ Player of the Year.

On the other hand, Edgar Martinez accolades are very,very long. To start, when as soon Martinez retired Major League Baseball recognized him as the greatest designated hitter of all time and renamed its yearly Designated Hitter Award as the Edgar Martinez Award. And its qualifications are his own numbers.

The 18-season veteran is only one of six in all history to have finished its career to have a batting average of .300 or more, on-base percentage of .400 or more, a slugging percentage of .500 or more, 2000 hits, 300 home runs, 500 doubles, and 1000 walks.

He is the Mariners’ all-time leader in hits (2,247), doubles (514), walks (1,283), and games played (2,055). He is also among the top 10 in other categories including at-bats (7,213), runs (1,219), home runs (309), RBI (1,261), total bases (3,718) and extra base hits (838).

He was among many recognitions a 7-time All Star, 5-time Silver Slugger, 2-time American League batting champion (1992, 1995) and won the Roberto Clemente Award (2004). He was also a two-time Mariners Player of the Year.

By the way, let’s not forget Edgar is “Señor Mariner”” not only in Seattle but in the whole Pacific Northwest. He was so cherished the Mariners waived the waiting period so they could induct him into the team hall of fame after his 2004 retirement and on the south side of Safeco Field named a street after him. Moreover, the Mariners have not issued Martínez’ #11 jersey since he retired.

Hope December arrives soon.

Bye, Bye Baltimore Orioles

alomar1.jpgC’mon…whom the South Florida politicians are kidding that are sad and crushed with the departure of the Baltimore Orioles from Fort Lauderdale Stadium.

“It’s very, very dissapointing to see a tremendous era of spring training end”, Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Selier said. “It’s a sad day”.

Yeah, right.  Since 2004, the team has been on a year-to-year lease with the City of Fort Lauderdale. Every time a possible discussion for a long term deal was brought to the table by the Orioles there was always some type of road block.

Finally after so much, should I stay or should I go, the franchise is relocating to the state’s west coast. The City of Sarasota and its county approved a $31.2 million renovation and expansion of Ed Smith Stadium, which hosted the Cincinnati Reds from 1998 to 2009. Also renovations were approved for the Twin Lakes Park, the new Orioles’ full time minor league complex.

The Orioles are expected to be in Sarasota next February.

In this side south side of the Sunshine State a big deal have been made now that it will be without a major league team in the spring for the first time in 60 years.

Let’s not forget long time ago Fort Lauderdale was home for the New York Yankees for 33 seasons before they went off to Tampa in 1995.

One year later, in 1996, Fort Lauderdale became the spring training home of the Birds franchise. Since that opening year you could hear the rumbles of problems between the two sides. It look the marriage was not going to be a long one.

It is true the nowadays Orioles are not even close to those of the late 90’s anchored by Cal Ripken Jr. and other big name stars such as Roberto Alomar, Mike Mussina and many, many others.

However no matter the Orioles product, the City of Fort Lauderdale never show a commitment and effort to keep them for a long time in town.

Let’s not forget either they are the same politicians never wanted to build a home for the Florida Marlins. Hey, no sorrow and complaints now that they will be the Miami Marlins in 2012.

Fort Lauderdale should not cry. The truth is they never like the baseball business in their backyard.

Cheers to Sarasota. The Orioles will have a spring training home there for the next 30 years.

Bye, Bye Orioles.

NOTE: The author covered the Baltimore Orioles from 1997 to 2008. Thanks Bill Stetka for your support to the international media.

MLB’ Midseason Report: 2009 Latino Awards


The All-Star Game is almost here and the 2009 season have reached its historically midway point of its schedule, making the perfect moment for this year Midseason Awards.

Disregard the predictions written back in April. Both The Sporting News and Sports Illustrated had the Yankees, Twins, Angels and Red Sox making October . Both publications went Phillies, Cubs, Dodgers and Mets in the National League.

Honestly, not bad at all. Except in both Central Division, the Tigers and the Cardinals at the moment are changing the spring prognosis.  Also,  the Angels have to be careful with the surprising Rangers  in the American League West. Moreover,  in the National League wild-card race unless the Mets get a miracle as the famous New York expression “Forget About It!”. At the moment the Giants, Marlins and Brewers look best for the coveted prize in the old circuit.

I will not give any forecasts. After all, who said back in 2007 the Colorado Rockies would make it to the World Series. Nobody crystal ball predicted the Phillies and the Rays last season in the October Classic.

Let’s have fun. Here are my midseason award winners:
American League

Best Team: Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees (tie)
Surprise Team: Texas Rangers
Disappointing Team: Cleveland Indians
Best Latino Player: Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers
Best Latino Pitcher: Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners
Best Latino Rookie: Elvis Andrus, Texas Rangers
Best Boricua: Mike Lowell, Boston Red Sox
Best Latino Surprise Player: Nelson Cruz, Texas Rangers
Dissapointment Latino Player: Magglio Ordoñez, Detroit Tigers
Forget About Him!: Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankees

National League
Best Team: Los Angeles Dodgers
Surprise Team: San Francisco Giants
Disappointing Team: Chicago Cubs
Best Latino Player: Albert Pujols, St. Louis Cardinals
Best Latino Pitcher: Yovani Gallardo, Milwaukee Brewers
Best Latino Rookie: Omir Santos, New York Mets
Best Boricua: Carlos Beltrán, New York Mets
Best Latino Surprise Player: Joel Piñeiro, St. Louis Cardinals
Dissapointment Latino Player: Alfonso Soriano, Chicago Cubs
Forget About Him!: Manny Ramirez, Los Angeles Dodgers

My Midseason Latino All-Star Team:
C Victor Martinez (Indians); 1B Albert Pujols (Cardinals); 2B Robinson Cano (Yankees); 3B Mike Lowell (Boston); SS Hanley Ramirez
(Marlins); OF Carlos Beltran (Mets); Carlos Lee (Astros); Juan Rivera (Angels); P Felix Hernandez (Mariners); PR Mariano Rivera (Yankees).

This column was also published by The Puerto Rico Daily Sun / MLB Notebook

Yadier Molina: The Lone Boricua in the Majors


This  upcoming 2009 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, Yadier Molina will be the lone boricua shining with the best of the best .

There is no doubt, the younger of the Molina brothers deserved the accolade from the fans to be the starting catcher in the National League lineup. Not because the fans wanted to award him with his first All-Star experience playing at home.  The 2009 All-Star Game will be played at Busch Stadium in his Cardinal nest in St. Louis on July 14. Neither a gift because he will be celebrating his 27th birthday the night before the big mid-summer classic game.

Yadier is validating he is the best defensive catcher in the National League. At midway point of this season he has thrown out 44 percent of would-be basestealers and picked off four baserunners as well. He’s second in the league in innings caught.  Numbers that are in pace to help him win his second career Gold Glove Award.

Do not misremember either his batting. The Bayamon native is hitting for a .284 average with 5 homers and 28 RBI’s.

Of course, we can not forget that Carlos Beltran was also selected to be a starter outfielder in the National League. However,  the Manati native at present is receiving a second treatment in his ailing right knee and would be re-evaluated during the All-Star break.

At this moment,  the New York Mets have informed if doctors cleared him, he could resume baseball-related activates, like hitting and running after the All-Star Game break.  For now, he is exercising on a bike and in a pool. Beltran publicly have acknowledged he does not have a timetable how long it would take to return to the Mets.

For the rest, after 85 games, I keep asking que pasa boricua ? Besides Molina and Beltran whom this season deserve to be an All-Star. Possibly in the National League older Yadier’s brother Bengie and in the American League Mike Lowell before getting re-injured again with hip problems. That’s it !

No longer are the hey-days of full of boricuas All-Star Games. See the accompanied chart below this decade. Make your own conclusions. I know we can do better again. Hopefully soon.

Puerto Ricans in All-Star Games (2001-2009)
2001 (Seattle): Roberto Alomar, Juan González, Edgar Martínez, Jorge Posada, Iván Rodríguez, Bernie Williams
2002 (Milwaukee): José Hernández, Mike Lowell, Jorge Posada, Benito Santiago, José Vidró
2003 (Chicago): Carlos Delgado, Javier López, Mike Lowell, Edgar Martínez, Jorge Posada, Jose Vidró
2004 (Houston): Carlos Beltrán, Mike Lowell, Iván Rodríguez, Javier Vázquez
2005 (Detroit): Carlos Beltrán, Felipe López, Iván Rodríguez
2006 (Pittsburgh): Carlos Beltrán, Alexis Rios, Iván Rodríguez
2007 (San Francisco): Carlos Beltrán, Mike Lowell, Jorge Posada, Alexis Rios, Iván Rodríguez
2008 (New York): Geovany Soto
2009 (St. Louis): Yadier Molina

This column was published by The Puerto Rico Daily Sun / MLB Notebook

Mike Lowell: Time For A Break

For the first time this season Mike Lowell is accepting a break. Not because he is pulling one of those Alex Rodriguez ‘fatigue’ stories  as the ‘A-Rod’ did when the Yankees came to Miami. Lowell’  hip had grown stiff and sore lately and his Manager Terry Francona have offer him to take longer breaks.  Not good news for the Puerto Rican four-time All-Star.

Let’s remember this season is one he does not want to finish hurt. Lowell pointed us out back during spring training that he very well know he needs a healthy season and finish with good numbers.

He really wants to demostrate Boston’ management he can still play and would like to be a Red Sox longer than his signed contract through 2010.

“This season is very important to me. I love Boston and I want to stay here. If not I play in Mars along their is big league baseball. After all I’m a major leaguer,” Lowell said.

For the veteran Gold-Glove third baseman, up until few weeks ago it look his numbers were amazing hitting over .300 and taking him to the path for a run for American League Comeback Player of the Year. Some Boston media were even talking All-Star Game in St. Louis. However, the last two weeks his hitting has gone down faster than the Titanic. At this moment he’s hitting .281, 10 homers with 41 RBI’s.

According to Lowell, 35,  the pain is not constant but some days his hip would feel “locked up”.

For Red Sox Nation fans this is not good news either. Specially right now that they are in command of their East Division pennant. Nonetheless, they have not forgotten that it could be déjà vu all over again as last season.

Last year Lowell went down as they were fighting the surprising Tampa Bay Rays. For most of the 2008 campaign he was hurt to the point he was left off from the Red Sox roster for the American League Championship Series. And in October 20th he decided on to go to surgery for a torn labrum in his right hip with well catalogued Dr. Bryan Kelly in New York.

Remember the Rays won and were the one with the ticket to the World Series. And this year the Red Sox besides the Rays they also have the Yankees and the Blue Jays  in their back very close too.

At this moment the Red Sox are planning to put Lowell on a maintenance program starting next week up to the All-Star break where he’ll receive at least one day off a week and receive occasional lubricating injections to ease the friction in the cartilage in hip and they want to make sure he’s rested accordingly. After the All-Star Game they will check on Lowell’s progress.

The Red Sox acknowledge that they need a healthy Lowell to win it all again. In the other hand, Lowell wants to be healthy enough to go back to a post-season and who knows if he can repeat again his 2007 World Series MVP performance. And of course, stay as a Red Sox.

Last Minute Note: Lowell probably will not play this weekend against the Atlanta Braves according to various reports.

This column was also published by The Puerto Rico Daily Sun / MLB Notebook

Bernie Williams: 51 Next ?

Just a little time ago here in Miami, a group of New York media reporters and myself were talking about which great Yankee’s player should be next to have his uniform’s number retired.

The immediate answer was number 2′ Derek Jeter.

The quick response is understandable. For 14 seasons the nine-time All-Star shortstop’s long list mark of honors and accolades are not doubt hall-of-fame bound. Not counting that besides Mr. Yankee Captain since 2003 he has been twice Mr. Captain of Team USA in both editions of the World Baseball Classic. Sixteen (16) pages of Jeter’s biography in the 2009 Yankee Media Guide tells it all.

Moreover his number 2 is at the present time, the only number from 1 through 9 not yet retired at Yankee Stadium’ s Monument Park.

What about 51 ? Yes, Bernie Williams. The reaction from the same group was something like he deserves it but we totally forgot about him.

In The Big Apple who should have forgotten whom in 16 seasons was one of the Mr. Yankee. He racked up from 1991-2006 batting .297, 287 homers with 1,257 RBI’s, The Barceloneta native is among  the top 15 Yankee career batting leader in 10 offensive categories. Five-Time All-Star; Four Gold Gloves; 1996 American League Championship Series MVP and 1998 American League Batting King.

At least in Borinquen who have forgotten when Williams and catcher Jorge Posada each hit home runs from both sides of the plate in 2000 in a win at Toronto. Only time in history that wo players have hit swith-home runs in the same game. That’s good history.

Back in March after the last Puerto Rico game in the World Baseball Classic the always amiable Williams gave us this wrap-up responses to the Puerto Rico Daily Sun in South Florida.

“I felt really good about playing,” Williams said. “I am my worst critic and I didn’t feel very bad about it. It took me a while to get acclimated. But after a while, I felt very encouraged. I can still play,”

“At this point, I don’t want to be the guy that tries to come back and goes to the independent leagues or the minor leagues for a couple [of] weeks,” Williams said. “I would certainly welcome the opportunity to play in the big leagues at some point, even though the window is very short right now.”

The window never open. And even though he never said  it if he’d play for a team other than the Yankees, we really knew he would have only played for the Yankees.

Nowadays Williams, 40, is on the road on his “Moving Forward” second-album jazz tour. And we well very know he still thinks he could have been in the pinstripes uniform one more time.

Just a suggestion to the Yankees organization. Next time you invite him to play a national anthem give him finally a Bernie Williams Day like any other Yankee greats and retire his number 51 forever. And be the first Puerto Rican and Latino to be in Monument Park. Jeter can join him later.

As an extra note, if this column is read in Seattle, the Mariners should finally retire Number 11′ Edgar Martínez. His honors are very long. Then someday another Mariners’ 51 , Ichiro Suzuki.


This column was also published by The Puerto Rico Daily Sun / MLB Notebook

Yadier and Bengie Molina: The Forgotten Gold Glovers


When thinking about Puerto Rican catchers, it first comes to mind such names as future hall-of-famer Iván Rodriguez, veteran Yankee Jorge Posada and the new wave kids Geovany Soto and Omir Santos. Often forgotten and they shouldn’t be there are Bayamon’  Molina brothers. Hopefully one month from now Yadier and Bengie will receive the attention they deserve.

“We all are quiet. We come to the ballpark to do our work and with God blessing we do the best job we can,” Yadier said at Landshark Stadium in Miami.

The Molina brothers younger to older Yadier (Cardinals), José (Yankees) and Bengie (Giants) they all debuted in the same season in 2004. They are the only trio of brothers  in Major League history to win World Series ring. However, no matter what, there are often left out of the favourite boricuas fan list.

That probably could change in few weeks as both the junior and the senior can be select it to their first All-Star Game in their careers.

“Yadier is like the kid everybody loves in the neighborhood,” St.Louis’ Manager Tony LaRussa said. “He deserves it same as his brother (Bengie).”

At this moment, Yadier, 26, is the leading vote-getter among National League catchers for the upcoming All-Star Game. And he is very happy about it moreover this year Summer Classic is at his Redbird nest at Busch Stadium in St. Louis July 14.

“It means a lot to me. A lot of people doubted I could do it,” Yadier said. “I’m proud of what I have done so far. It feels very good.”

Of course, he should feel good. Defensively he is probing once more he was not just lucky last season when he won his fisrt Gold Glove. At present, Yadier leads all Major League catchers in throwing percentage (41.8) and leads the majors in pick-offs since 2005. He admitted is slumping offensively a bit but he knows he can do better as similar to last year career-best .304.

In the other side of the country, all west, Bengie, 34,  is finally getting the attention he deserves. Not only because he is only 1 of  3 active catchers —Pudge Rodriguez (13) and Brad Ausmus (3)– to have won multiple Gold Gloves (American League 2002 and 2003) or owns as a catcher a career .994 fielding percentage. As a backstopper, he is second in the majors in putouts and have logged fourth-most innings played behind the plate. Also, he can hit too. He leads his San Francisco uniform in homers and RBI since 2007 and he is the leader again in both departments in 2009 (9 HR-37 RBI).

“(Pitcher) Matt McCain should be our All-Star this year. If I’m select it then it will be a great honor.” Bengie said. “Of course, that will be great to play in the same All-Star Game with my brother”.

Last Puerto-Rican duo of brothers to play in All-Star Games together were Roberto And Sandy Alomar Jr. in the 90’s.

Even though he is satisfied with the Giants—were he have been its franchise MVP the last two seasons— he stated he sometimes feels unrecognized as in his days with the Anaheim Angels. However, he said that given the right oppportunity he wants to stay in the Bay Area with San Francisco and be the starting catcher for the next two or three years.

Bengie is a free agent at the end of the season but he does not want to discuss with the Giants management a return to the team and any kind of deal anytime after the All-Star break.

On José, the other forgotten, is at the moment in the Yankees minor league complex in Tampa in a rehablitation assignment (strained left quadriceps muscle).

José, 33, went on the disabled list last May 10. No word from the Yankees management how soon he will called up.

This column was also published by The Puerto Rico Daily Sun / MLB Commentary

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


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