He’s 41-years-old and has been retired for nearly a year. But Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez won’t admit that he can’t still play the game.
“It’s still there,” Rodriguez said Monday before a PwC-SMU luncheon at the Hilton Anatole Hotel. “To be honest with you, it’s still there.”
Rodriguez said he trains as if he is still playing and it doesn’t hurt that his new job allows him to continue to get on the field. He was hired by the Texas Rangers in February as a special assistant to the general manager.
With his official playing days behind him, Rodriguez is four years away from being eligible for the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
“I think about that,” Rodriguez said. “I think that’s every baseball player’s goal, to retire and sit down and say, ‘I had a great career.’ I think I had a great career. Let’s see what happens in the next four years. I think it will be great to have my name on that wall with all those great players there. I look forward to it.”
The 14-time all-star and 13-time Gold Glove winner has caught more games than any other catcher in Major League history. Rodriguez has 311 homers, 1,332 RBIs and 2,844 hits. But will he receive enough votes?
The problem for Rodriguez is that he played during an era that is linked to performance enhancing drugs. No players were elected to Cooperstown in January. Craig Biggio, Jeff Bagwell, Mike Piazza, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Curt Schilling and Sammy Sosa all failed to receive at least 75 percent of the vote from eligible voters of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
So there’s no guarantee that Rodriguez will get in during his first year of eligibility.
“I hope (I get in),” Rodriguez told media members. “It depends on all of you.”