BBHOF Profile: Ivan Rodriguez

ivan-rodriguez-jaws-hall-of-fameEvery player plays their own role on a baseball team and often teams are looking for a certain type of player for a certain position.

Teams love to have that big hitting first basemen or a quick contact hitter at second and a big power pitcher as their ace.

These types of players have come about after years of evolution of the game and although there is no one set way of building a team many teams often try to get that winning combination.

One of the most important parts of any team though will always be the catcher as they have a bigger role than most on the team.

Every time a team puts together their roster they can give or take certain shortfalls for talent and the same can be said for the catcher position.

A catcher never has to be the biggest hitter on the team much like a middle infielder can be a light hitter but a great defensive player and stick around.

The catcher needs to be solid defensively but unlike any other player on the team, he plays a different role.

He is almost always an unofficial captain of the team and is a leader for the pitching staff both starters and relievers.

The catcher needs to know every pitch thrown by every pitcher and more importantly needs to know when to throw those pitches.

They have to be able to feel out what is working and what is not working on any given day and adjust their game plan to that knowledge.

Then they have to play psychiatrist to pitchers who are not having their best days or struggling in one inning.baseball-sidebar

They have to know how to fire up or calm down their pitchers and get them to perform the way they need to perform.

They are part defensive captain, part strategist and part psychiatrist all in one and so, often the offensive side of the game can be ignored.

More often than not the catcher isn’t a massive part of the offence because they can do everything else that is required behind the plate.

It doesn’t stop teams from constantly looking for that player that has the full package though and do everything well.

They come few and far between but when they come they immediately become heroes and stars throughout the league.

That is what the Texas Rangers found in a catcher nicknamed “Pudge” in 1988 singing the young Puerto Rican at only 16 years old.

Ivan Rodriguez had that all around ability that every team is looking for when they are looking for a catcher.

Through the minor leagues, he rose quickly as he was simply the best catching prospect in the MiLB.

The Rangers moved him through the levels and every step of the way he continued to show just how well-rounded he was as a catcher.

It only took him a few years to find his way to the MLB and he made an impact right away becoming the youngest catcher in the big leagues at 19 years old.

His offence was great from the start and his arm proved great at throwing runners out.

Texas+Rangers+v+New+York+Yankees+5H28lL7tmzhlHis leadership ability developed and soon he became one of the greatest catchers in the game and one who did everything well.

Throughout his career, he took a long run around the league but everywhere he landed he was that key catcher that teams needed.

There are many teams that are looking for that steady guy behind the plate that can do all of the things that a catcher needs to do and more.

Rodriguez had all of that as he was the catcher that knew all of the pitches and could call a great game.

He could also calm down the pitchers when they were struggling and get them back on track when they needed it.

Beyond that, he could also provide the offence and shift the defence accordingly making him an all-around player.

He did everything that a catcher needed to do and for that, he was considered one of the greatest catchers of all time.

2017 proves it as Pudge is a member of the 2017 Baseball Hall of Fame class in his first time on the ballot.

Rodriguez will be in a group of players that have waited a very long time to find their way to Cooperstown but Rodriguez is the perfect example of someone who could do it all and a clear first ballot Hall of Famer.

irodriguez-stats

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