With the Hall Of Fame results due to come out in less than two weeks, is former Washington Nationals catcher Ivan Rodriguez a Hall of Famer?
On Wednesday, January 18, the BBWAA voting results will be announced for the Baseball Hall Of Fame. Plenty of former Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals are on this year’s ballot. One of those is Tim Raines, who has a great chance to make it on his final year on the ballot. Another player that has a decent chance to make it in his first year on the ballot is Vladimir Guerrero.
Today, I want to take a closer look on one more former Washington National who is on the Hall of Fame ballot for the first time and that is catcher Ivan Rodriguez (a.k.a Pudge). Rodriguez is well known for his time with the Texas Rangers from 1991-2002. But, he did play the last two years of his career with the Washington Nationals (2010-2011).
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On December 7, 2009, the Washington Nationals signed Rodriguez to a two-year deal worth $6 million. At the time, they had a 25-year-old catcher in Jesus Flores, but he was coming off surgery on his torn labrum. The Nats weren’t in a position to win, but Rodriguez was the kind of veteran they needed.
Rodriguez started his first season in D.C on the right note. In the first month of the 2010 season, he hit .413 with nine RBI’s over the first 63 games and he had nearly a .300 batting average in the first half. However, he hit .231 in the second half.
Despite the declining numbers in the second half of the 2010 season, one of Rodriguez’s four home runs came in a big spot. On September 21 against the Houston Astros, he hit a game-tying two-run home run as part of a seven-run eighth inning. The Nats ended up winning that game, 8-4.
In July of 2011, Rodriguez went on the disabled list because of a right oblique strain. He ended up only playing in 44 games that season as Wilson Ramos ended up doing the bulk of the catching for the Washington Nationals (113 games).
While Rodriguez was accused of steroid use in Jose Canseco’s book, “Juiced”, he has never failed a steroid test. He made 14 All-Star teams, won 13 Gold Gloves, won the American League MVP in 1999, and had 311 home runs as a catcher. Plus, he was a part of two teams that reached the World Series. Those were the 2003 Marlins (beat the Yankees) and the 2006 Tigers (lost to the Cardinals).
On my IBWAA ballot, one of the names I voted for was Pudge. My full ballot will be revealed as we get closer to January 18. As for Rodriguez, he was one of the best defensive catchers to play the game and one of the best catchers, if not the best catcher of the era.