After 2,427 games behind the plate (the most in MLB history) Ivan Rodriguez has officially decided to give up baseball, for good. It was announced last week that Rodriguez had made the decision, after being unsuccessful in finding a team in the off season, but it wasn’t until earlier today that it was made official through a news conference. The conference was held at Rangers ballpark, home of the Texas Rangers, where Rodriguez spent the first 12 seasons of his career.
Today’s news conference was broadcasted live on MLB Network, and lasted roughly ten minutes. Rodriguez spent that time thanking the organizations that he spent his career with–the Marlins, Tigers, Yankees, Astros, Nationals and most emphatically, the Texas Rangers; who gave him his start–as well as the fans.
It appeared to me that Rodriguez was truly speaking from the heart, meaning everything he said, none more than: “Today is a very hard day for me.” The emotion on his face told that.
Ivan Rodriguez made his Major League debut on June 20, 1991 after signing with the Rangers in 1988. He would go on to record 74 hits that season alone–good enough to place him fourth in Rookie of the Year voting.
21 years later, the question that people are asking is whether or not Ivan Rodriguez is worthy of a first ballot hall of fame induction. He certainly has the career statistics to make a strong case:
311 Home Runs
One aspect of Ivan Rodriguez’s career that doesn’t stand out in the stats is his deffense. Rodriguez had a stellar career behind the plate, throwing out 46 percent of all base runners who attempted to steal second base. An incredible thing to do, considering the skill needed to make a perfect throw.
A few other things to note from the career of Ivan Rodriguez include the World Series Championship he won with the Marlins in 2003, his participation in 14 All Star games, his winning of 13 Gold Gloves and 7 silver sluggers, as well as being the MVP of the 1999 season.
All things combined, Rodriguez is Hall of fame worthy, in my opinion, but maybe not good enough for a first ballot. (Especially with the steroid allegations, which I’m sure you are all aware of. Thus I won’t get into the whole situation.)
Rodriguez will be eligible for induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2017. If inducted, he’ll become the second player inducted to go into Cooperstown as a Ranger. Nolan Ryan, of course, being the other. Anytime a player is associated with a Nolan Ryan caliber player, you can be assured they had an amazing career.