Ivan Rodriguez was born on November 30, 1971 in Vega Baja, Puerto Rico. He is considered by many baseball fans to be the best catcher in the current era of Major League Baseball. Many baseball fans rank him as one of the best catchers of all-time. He typically goes by the nickname Pudge, but he has also been called I-Rod by some baseball announcers.
On June 20, 1991, Ivan Rodriguez made his Major League Baseball debut with the Texas Rangers. At the age of nineteen, he became the youngest player ever to play catcher in a Major League Baseball game. Over the past fifteen years, he has been one of the top hitters in the game. He is noted as the top defensive catcher in professional baseball as well. Over the course of his career, he has thrown out nearly half of the attempted base stealers he has faced.
Ivan Rodriguez played with the Texas Rangers all the way up until the 2002 season. He was signed by the Florida Marlins to a one year contract. At the time, the Florida Marlins were a team loaded with young players who lacked any major experience. Ivan Rodriguez took the team under his wing and helped guide them through the regular season and into the playoffs. In 2003, his only season with the Marlins, they won the World Series, earning him his only championship ring to date.
After the 2003 season, Ivan Rodriguez left the Marlins and signed a contract with the Detroit Tigers where he has been playing ever since. Although the Tigers have not faired extremely well over the past two seasons, the 2006 season looks different as Ivan Rodriguez may get another chance to showcase his talents in the playoffs.
During his career, Ivan Rodriguez has accumulated impressive stats, earning him some of the top awards in baseball. In 1999, he won the American League Most Valuable Player Award. Over the course of his career, he has also won a total of eleven Gold Glove Awards, verifying that he is the top defensive catcher in the game. On October 26, 2005, Ivan Rodriguez was also named the starting catcher on the Latino Legends Team, a team comprised of the best Latin players in Major League Baseball history.
Unfortunately, Ivan Rodriguez’s shining career has had a dark light placed on it over the past year as steroid claims are becoming commonplace in baseball. He is mentioned in the books Game of Shadows and Juiced as being a steroid user.