Detroit Tigers from the vault: Catcher Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez

(Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
(Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images) /

In the latest edition of from the vault, take a look at former Detroit Tigers catcher, Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez, and his five seasons in a Tigers uniform.

Almost all Detroit Tigers fans will remember the days when Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez was the organization’s backstop. Though it was only five of his 21 years in the game, Rodriguez was a part of the 2006 World Series run made by the Tigers.

Rodriguez, now 48 years old, is immortalized in the Baseball Hall of Fame for his incredible career. Over his time in the big leagues, “Pudge” would be a 14-time all-star, 13-time Gold Glove award winner, seven-time Silver Slugger award winner, and a Most Valuable Player award winner as well.

The Tigers would sign Rodriguez in 2004; he would spend the next four years with the organization before he was traded to the New York Yankees during the 2008 season. Sadly, the value recouped for “Pudge” from the Yankees was nothing more than reliever Kyle Farnsworth.

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During his time here, “Pudge” was the exceptional backstop, a four-time all-star, and not to mention one fantastic defender.

He was throwing runners from behind home plate and driving runners across home plate from the batter’s box.

Throughout his career, Rodriguez played in over 2500 games, logging a career slash line of .296/.334/.464 with 2844 hits, 311 home runs, and 1332 RBI for six different organizations.

One heck of a career that would land him in the Hall of Fame alongside all of his other hardware.

When with the Tigers, Rodriguez would play in 611 games while hitting .298/.328/.449 with 709 hits, 62 home runs, and 300 RBI during that time.

He was no stranger to the playoffs, taking home a World Series victory and a National League Championship Series MVP award winner from the 2003 postseason during his time with the Florida Marlins.

However, some people are drawn to Rodriguez’s nickname, “Pudge,” which was something he went by his whole career. It came about early and his career, and some attribute it to the idea that he would one day be better than another Hall of Fame catcher Carlton Fisk who went by “Pudge.”

The funniest thing about this was the nickname was started by former Rangers coach Chino Cadahia who called the 5-foot-9, 205-pounder “Pudge.” It would stick, and during his 21-year career, the fantastic backstop would don this nickname the whole time.

All Detroit Tigers fans from around the time of the 2006 postseason run should know how special it was to have Rodriguez behind the dish day in and day out.

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For the latest edition of from the vault, a look at the former Detroit Tigers catcher seems right in a time where looking back on better times when baseball was being played.