Pudge’s Quiet Exit and Career
Ivan Rodriguez is two things to me. He’s the guy the MVP award when it was rightful legal property of Pedro J. Martinez in 1999, and he was the guy on the Florida Marlins who hit singles the other way in 2003 like he was starting a trend. I always thought he was sort of a prick, and I stick by that now. A lot of that is playing for Texas for so long. Before their culture change, they were some unloveable losers.
Pudge was the catcher of his generation, more than Piazza, though maybe not in press clippings. He was a guy who knew what to do at bat and less controlled the game from behind the plate than kept it in line, unapologetically. If you wandered too far off of first, he would call you on it, and the universe would return to equilibrium. Someone would win and someone would lose, but the game would be kept on a level. The guy most like this now is Yadier Molina, and Yadier Molina is only hitting now what Pudge was hitting for years. He’ll be the first-ballot Hall of Famer that fans don’t give a shit about but that people within the game take for granted. The catcher’s job is really absurd when you think about it. is there a single other profession that requires so much crouching? And then to come up and swing away, one matrix into the other.
Enjoy the Hall of Fame induction. I won’t be watching.
I just looked at the bb-ref pages for Piazza & Pudge. Pudge started 9 consecutive all-star games, from ’93-’01; Piazza started 9 consecutive all-star games, from ’94-’02. They each started 11 total.