Arlington, TX – Pausing to wipe tears away from his eyes one of baseball’s premier catchers, Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez officially retired today. At the stadium he called home for many seasons, Pudge decided to say goodbye to baseball at Rangers Stadium in Texas reported Sporting News.
Pudge attained 2,000 career hits more than ten years ago. Most thought he would reach the magic 3,000 plateau before he retired. He will have to settle with just 2,844 after not being able to find a job this season he could live with.
Pudge will most likely not need the 3,000 to find his name one day adorning Cooperstown. The 14 time All-Star has such an impressive resume he will not to rely on reaching the milestone. Pudge finished his 21-year career as the all-time hits and games leader among catchers. He won a record 13 Gold Gloves, was named MVP in 1999, an NLCS MVP in 2003. He played for more than ten seasons with a batting average over .300. Pudge also was known as a catcher that was super hard to run on. Pudge caught 46.5% of runners who tried to steal on him. The league average is 30.3%.
Although he refused to answer any questions about it, the steroids issue will still hang over his head. Pudge is also not one of the obvious cases. He never tested positive, and he wasn’t mentioned in the Mitchell Report. The only evidence against him for using steroids was that in his tell all tale Juiced, Jose Canseco mentioned that Pudge used steroids.
Being on Rangers teams that included Canseco, Rafael Palmeiro, Alex Rodriguez, Ken Caminiti and Juan Gonzalez also doesn’t help. It shows that he was definitely in the environment to use steroids.
The voters for the Hall will have five years to determine if Pudge was a cheater by using steroids, until then his career numbers show he will join the greats in the Hall soon enough.