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Base Ball Players

Iván Rodríguez

Ivan Rodríguez Torres (born November 30, 1971, in Vega Baja, Puerto Rico), nicknamed "Pudge", is a professional baseball player currently playing for the Detroit Tigers. Iván is considered by many to be the greatest defensive catcher ever.[citation needed] His World Series ring with the Marlins in 2003 and leadership with the Tigers in 2006 earn him recognition as one of the greatest catchers of all time.
When Rodríguez made his major league debut with the Texas Rangers on June 20, 1991, he became the youngest person to catch in a major league game.[citation needed] He immediately established himself as an excellent hitter who was also proficient in throwing out would-be base-stealers. In fact, no other catcher in the past 35 years has been as successful at this aspect of the game, with Rodríguez throwing out 48% of attempted basestealers through May 2006, far more than the runner-up during this period, the late Thurman Munson.[citation needed] During his time with the Rangers, he was awarded the American League Most Valuable Player Award in 1999
Although he has had the nickname "Pudge" since his youth, Rodríguez was often compared early on to the veteran catcher Carlton Fisk, who was also called "Pudge." Fisk retired early in Rodríguez's career, and fans and sportswriters viewed it as the passing of the torch from one Pudge to another. When his contract with Texas ran out following the 2002 season, Rodríguez signed with the Florida Marlins for one year. By then a major-league veteran of over a decade, he helped lead the young team to victory in the World Series. In the off-season, he left Florida to sign with the Tigers. On October 26, 2005, Major League Baseball named him the catcher on their Latino Legends Team.
On May 9, 2006, Rodríguez played first base for the Tigers. That game, a 7-6 loss to the Baltimore Orioles, was the first time that he played a position other than catcher in his 1,914 Major League games. On August 15, 2006, he also made his first Major League appearance at second base, after regular second baseman Placido Polanco was injured in a game in Boston. At 34, "Pudge" has already passed fellow catcher Johnny Bench in many career statistical categories (runs scored, hits, doubles, triples, batting average, slugging percentage, stolen bases and gold gloves).
In Jose Canseco's book Juiced, Rodriguez was named as having used steroids during his days with the Texas Rangers. Suspicion arose when he reported to spring training in 2005, the first year of league-wide drug testing, 20 pounds lighter.

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