Next Monday, Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez, considered one of Major League Baseball's greatest catchers, will announce his retirement.
The news was first reported by the AP and confirmed today by the Texas Rangers, the team where Rodriguez made his debut.
Rodriguez, a 14-time All-Star, won a record 13 Gold Golves. The AP reports:
"A fan favorite known as Pudge, Rodriguez was only 19 when he made his major league debut with Texas on June 20, 1991. He played the first 12 of his 21 major league seasons with Texas, and returned to the Rangers briefly in 2009.
"Rodriguez caught a major league-record 2,427 games, and hit .296 with 311 home runs and 1,332 RBIs in 2,543 games overall with Texas (1991-2002, 2009), Florida (2003), Detroit (2004-08), the Yankees (2008), Houston (2009), and Washington (2010-11).
"When the Rangers won their third AL West title in a four-year span in 1999, Rodriguez hit .332 with 35 home runs and 113 RBIs and was the American League MVP."
Christina Kahrl over at ESPN has a a very nice retrospective. Being a catcher is hard work, she writes. It's one of those positions that takes a heavy toll on a body, so it's that a catcher hangs in there for so long and even more rare that a catcher has a productive sunset.
"The great novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald said that, "There are no second acts in American lives," and maybe there's something to that, but it certainly wasn't true about Pudge Rodriguez in his career. After a dozen seasons in Texas, the man moved on to the Marlins to help lead their other, less notorious "bought" World Series in 2003, a single-season temp who was just getting started at proving he had plenty left in the tank on the back slope of his career. He was a key player on the 2006 Tigers team that upset a few apple carts by winning an American League pennant.
"That sort of second wind propelled him to the elder statesman stints that seem to reflect the end of more than a few great catchers' careers. After a pre-free agency trade to the Yankees, he'd move from Houston to Texas to Washington, an extended victory lap on a career that had seen its share of winning."