This week, reports from major outlets are confirming that Iván "Pudge/I-Rod" Rodríguez announced that he will retire from baseball. The announcement will be made on April 23 in Arlington, Texas, the home of the Texas Rangers, Rodríguez's first team. The 40-year-old Rodríguez was born in Manatí, Puerto Rico and grew up in Vega Baja. He will go down as one of Puerto Rico's most beloved players in the island's storied baseball history.
Rodríguez had an amazing career, becoming a premier catcher and a four-time All-Star. Here are just some of his accomplishments, and there is no reason that five years from now, Rodríguez will be honored in the Baseball Hall of Fame:
- He has caught the most games (2,427) in baseball history.
- His 2,844 career hits rank him #1 among all catchers. That is ever.
- His 1,354 career runs also rank him #1 among all catchers.
- Besides his offensive numbers, Rodríguez also won 13 Gold Gloves.
- He leaves baseball with a .296 careers batting average (11th in the catchers category), 311 HR (7th), and 1,332 RBI (5th).
- He won a World Series with the Marlins in 2003.
- He won the 1999 MVP with the following stat lines: .322 average, 35 HR, 113 RBI and 25 stolen bases.
Some will say that Rodríguez was part of the Steroids Club of the 1990s, since former Rangers teammate José Canseco said that he injected Rodríguez with steroids when they were on the same team. But nothing has been proven, and like Rodríguez said, "Only God knows."
At the end of Rodríguez's career, he was the starting catcher for Puerto Rico's national baseball team at the World Baseball Classic and hit .500 in the series. He had already retired from baseball, but was signed by the Houston Astros in 2009. The last two years, Rodríguez played for the Washington Nationals.
Say what you want about Rodríguez, he was a player, a proud boricua, and we loved him. ¡Suerte, Pudge!