I-Rod left his mark on the game

By CRAIG MUDER

For Ivan Rodriguez, the numbers are almost beyond our ability to appreciate them.

(Brad Mangin/National Baseball Hall of Fame Library)

Fourteen times an All-Star. Thirteen times a Gold Glove Award winner at catcher. More hits – 2,844 – than any other player who spent the majority of his career behind the plate. More games caught – 2,427 – than any other player.

But that’s not what I remember about Ivan Rodriguez. I remember the 19-year-old phenom who surfaced with the Rangers in 1991, gunning out would-be base stealers with such ease that his arm looked more like a whip.

I remember thinking: “This guy could hit .075 and still be the best all-around catcher in the game.”

More than two decades later, I-Rod has redefined the position in a way very few players ever have.

He’ll become eligible for election to the Hall of Fame in 2017.

Craig Muder is the director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

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