s0626 BC-BBN-Pudge-CatchingHi 06-17 0962
Rodriguez has catching record
ARLINGTON, Texas — Ivan Rodriguez was 19 when the Texas Rangers promoted the fresh-faced catcher with a cannon for an arm to the major leagues midway through the 1991 season.
He already had an AL MVP award, 10 Gold Gloves and 10 All-Star appearances when the Rangers let him go 12 seasons later. But there were more Gold Gloves and All-Star games to come, plus a World Series title with Florida in 2003, the year after he left Texas.
Now he’s caught more games than anybody else — and fittingly, he set the record in Texas.
Rodriguez, now with the Houston Astros, tied Carlton Fisk — a Hall of Fame catcher also nicknamed "Pudge" — when he caught his 2,226th game Tuesday night in the opener of an interleague series at Texas. Rodriguez also was in the lineup against the Rangers on Wednesday night, set to break the record.
"To be able to play so many games behind the plate, it’s unbelievable," Rodriguez said. "It’s been a long time. But I’m still feeling the same way (as) when I was 19. I love this game. I love what I do."
That is a lot of squatting, hot summer games behind the mask and foul tips off the body.
Rodriguez was promoted from Double-A to make his debut with the Rangers on June 20, 1991, at the Chicago White Sox when Fisk was the opposing catcher. One of Rodriguez’s teammates was Nolan Ryan, though the Hall of Famer who pitched a record 27 seasons wasn’t on the mound that day.