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Newz Forum: BASEBALL: Pudge Rodriguez is a hit with the Tigers

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posted on Jul, 5 2004 @ 04:12 PM
DETROIT (AP) - Ivan Rodriguez hit .500 in June and started Tuesday with a .377 average, easily the best in the major leagues. He was voted to the All-Star game for the 11th time and is the man most responsible for the transformation of the Detroit Tigers from a record-setting loser to a team in the middle of the pack in the AL Central.

"I'm very happy and pleased with the season," he said. "We're playing great baseball. We just have to keep playing."

The Detroit Tigers showed a lot of faith in Rodriguez when they gave him a $40 million, four-year contract in February.

The star catcher has been worth every penny.

"I played with Vladimir Guerrero and Sammy Sosa," teammate Rondell White said. "And I've seen Bernie Williams get as hot as anybody, but what Pudge is doing is unbelievable."

Many thought the same of Rodriguez's decision to sign with the Tigers this offseason after being the MVP of the NL championship series and helping the Florida Marlins win the World Series last season.

Detroit lost an AL-record 119 games last year — one short of the modern-day record set by the 1962 New York Mets — and hasn't had a winning record since 1993.

But Rodriguez focused on the positive things about the once-proud franchise, which has produced numerous Hall of Famers and won four World Series in nine appearances since 1901. Granted, the Tigers offered the 32-year-old catcher more money than any other team was prepared to. But Rodriguez's performance thus far has justified the team's confidence.

During spring training, Lance Parrish, Detroit's bullpen coach and an eight-time All-Star catcher, said Rodriguez was arguably the best player ever to play behind the plate. Rodriguez is doing what many thought an aging catcher couldn't. He's playing like a star in his prime, and he rarely misses a game.

He also has a chance to become the first catcher to win the AL batting crown. Since 1900, a catcher has been the NL batting champ three times, but none since 1942, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The best batting average by a catcher who caught at least 100 games was .361 by Bill Dickey of the New York Yankees in 1936, according to Elias.

Before Rodriguez, Colorado's Todd Helton was the last player to hit .500 in a month, four years ago. During Detroit's weekend series in Colorado, Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said Rodriguez's feat was more impressive. Besides his gaudy batting average, Rodriguez started the series in New York with 57 RBIs and 10 home runs.

posted on Jul, 5 2004 @ 04:28 PM
Pudge has been a hit pretty much anywhere he's played. He was a huge part of the Marlins winning it all last year. He plays with lots of energy and gives 100% and other players respect that and it becomes contagious.

He plays awesome defense and his arm is amazing, not many guys try to steal a bag on him. He hits for average, he hits for power, he's quick on the bases for his size occassionally stealing a base. He also calls a great game behind the plate. Definitely a player any manager or pitcher would want catching for him.

He should definitely be remembered as one of the greatest catchers in history and he should have a few real good years left in him. I'd take him over Piazza any day of the week.

Who's the best catcher?


posted on Jul, 5 2004 @ 06:34 PM
He has changed this team with his leadership, they are currently a whole different team.

posted on Jul, 6 2004 @ 03:09 PM
It's good to see a story like this, you always hear about athletes going for the money, here's an instance where the money was well deserved. Cheers to Pudge!


posted on Jul, 7 2004 @ 02:29 PM
Yeah he went to a not so good team. I guess so he could shine and be the hero which he definatly is doing.

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