Today we examine No. 17 on our list of the 30 top Detroit sports players of the past 30, former Detroit Tiger, Ivan Rodriguez.
Rodriguez is a catcher who was signed as an amateur free agent by the Texas Rangers in 1988
“Pudge” is a 14 time MLB All Star (1995, 1993, 1995, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007) with four appearances coming as a Tiger. Rodriguez is also a 14 time A.L. Gold Glove winner with four of those awards coming while wearing the Old English “D” (2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007). In addition, he has won two league pennants (2003 in Florida and 2006 here in Detroit).
Outside of his time in Detroit, Rodriguez has played for the Texas Rangers, Florida Marlins (where he won a World Series), Houston Astros and Washington Nationals.
“Pudge” has a career batting average of .298, 300 plus home runs and 1300 RBI’s over 20 MLB seasons.
Rodriguez was the first “big” name to come to Detroit following their dismal 2003 season where they won only 43 games. Within two years of arriving in the Motor City, Pudge and company found themselves in the post season and won the American League Championship. While he began to decline as a player in his time here, there is no denying that Rodriguez’s arrival helped catapult the Tigers back to baseball relevance. ‘”Pudge” is a shoe in for the Baseball Hall of Fame and while it’s unlikely he’ll wear a Tigers cap when being enshrined, his influence here in Detroit makes him the perfect guy for this spot on the countdown.