Rodriguez shares stories from playing days

March 25, 2013

While chatting about his 21-year Major League Baseball career for 45 minutes on Monday, former Texas Rangers catcher Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez shared some entertaining stories with the several hundred in attendance at the Hilton Anatole Hotel in Dallas.

Rodriguez, the guest speaker at the PwC-SMU luncheon, sat in front of the group while many finished their lunches, taking questions from Rangers public address announcer Chuck Morgan and a few more from those in the audience.

Here are a few highlights.

Rodriguez on trying to break up Nolan Ryan's fight with Robin Ventura on the mound in 1993:

"Really, I didn't do anything. These two monsters and I'm this short guy, trying to spread those two people out. … Really, I just let them go because it was funny."

Rodriguez on the five starting pitchers from any era that he'd pick for his starting rotation:

Nolan Ryan, Justin Verlander, Stephen Strasburg, Randy Johnson and David Cone.

Rodriguez on Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS when Cubs fan Steve Bartman attempted to snag a foul ball that prevented Cubs left fielder Moises Alou from making the grab for the second out of the eighth inning:

"That wasn't the game there. … Chicago fans always think that it was his fault. For us, it was great. He had a lot of trouble in Chicago and he couldn't go on the streets, (so) we bring him to Florida. I'm not kidding. (Morgan: "Did you give him a ring?") Yeah. He was a firefighter. They fired him from his job and all that, and I say, ‘Poor guy.' This is a true story. What we did is contact the guy and we moved the guy to Florida. He lives in Florida right now. He works in the same job in Florida. He's a fireman over there. We got a home for him and he lives a normal life."

On negotiating his own deal in 1997 with Rangers team president Tom Schieffer because he didn't want to get traded to the Yankees:

"This is the best place to play baseball. (The fans) are there every day supporting the team. That's the reason I made my decision. For me it wasn't a hard decision because I wasn't going through a good time. I wasn't focused on baseball (because of the contract). I was driving everyone crazy in my house. … I didn't want to go (to New York). Too many yellow taxis there. I had a good home and Texas is a nice place to be. So I signed. … I think that was one of the best decisions I ever made."

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