Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez, the 1999 American League MVP and one of the best, if not the best, defensive catchers in baseball history, will announce his retirement Monday at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
The plans come after four teams showed interest in Rodriguez this offseason, who had hoped to get a minor-league deal to Texas Rangers camp with an invitation to big-league camp.
Rodriguez wants to announce his official retirerment from MLB in Texas, where he started his illustrious 21-year career in 1991. While a Ranger from 1991-2002 and then again in 2009, he made 10 All-Star appearances and won 10 Gold Gloves.
His career offensive numbers are .296 batting average with 311 home runs and 1332 RBIs. The numbers that will stick out though, are his defensive.
Rodriguez has collected a total of 13 Gold Glove awards, a record for a catcher. He ranks first all-time among catchers in games played (2247) and putouts (14,867). He also led the league in caught stealing percentage eight times, and his 45.7 percentage is higher than all active catchers. He was also named to the All-Star team 14 times and earned seven Silver Slugger awards for his hitting.
His best all around season came in 1999, when he batted .332 with 35 home runs, 113 RBIs, and 25 stolen bases. That year he beat former Boston Red Sox ace Pedro Martinez for the American League MVP award (the only one of his career).
He also had an exceptional season in 2003, leading the Marlins to the promised land. That year Pudge set numerous Marlins single season records for a catcher, such as batting average, at .297, and runs batted in, at 85. That post-season, he was named National League Championship Series Most Valuable Player and ultimately World Series Most Valuable Player.
Catchers for ages will be trying to be Pudge, as he will ultimitly go down as one of the greats. He is a no doubt, first ballot hall of famer. He will be missed throughout the league, but I expect he will show up somewhere, potentially as a manager. Most great managers are catchers after all.