A good indicator of a players impact upon the game they represent is whether or not they’re inducted into the Hall of Fame in their first year of eligibility. This was the case with Ivan Rodriguez, earning 76% of the vote in his first year eligible (75% of the vote is needed). When receiving the call of his induction Ivan was over-joyed and came to tears of the news. One could see that being inducted meant a lot to him.
Ivan is the 18th catcher inducted into the Hall of Fame all-time. But he’s No. 1 in many other categories:
- 14 All Star Game selections – most for a catcher all-time
- 13 Gold Glove Awards – most for a catcher all-time
- 2,427 games behind the plate – most for a catcher all-time
- 1,354 Runs – do I really need to say it?
As a former catcher myself, one statistic that is really impressive to me is the CS (Caught Stealing). Throughout his 21 year career Mr. Rodriguez has caught 661 runners, that’s an average of just over 31 runners a season. What this means is – 46% of the runners that tried to steal a base were thrown out – you guessed it friends most for a catcher all-time!
Hall of Famer Johnny Bench strongly endorses Pudge saying,
“He was the complete catcher, incredibly durable and intimidating behind the plate but also a very good hitter. It is remarkable he played at such a high level for so long. I am amazed at the number of games he caught, the 13 Gold Gloves he won. That’s truly impressive.”
As a kid he played Little League Baseball with his than rival Juan Gonzalez, which later became his teammate while playing for the Texas Rangers. Rodriguez signed a contract with the Rangers in 1988, at the young age of 16. In 1991 he was such a dominating force with AA Minors Tulsa Drillers that he bypassed AAA baseball and debuted in the MLB that same year. His baseball skill continued to develop at such an alarming rate that on June 20, 1991 he became the youngest player to catch an MLB game, he was 19 years old.
That opportunity developed into a Hall of Fame career, his stat line reads: Batting Avg .296 | Homeruns 311 | Hits 2,844 | 7x Silver Slugger | 1999 A.L. MVP
ROOKIE CARDS OF HALL OF FAMER IVAN RODRIGUEZ:
1991 Bowman, Card #272 (shop eBay)
Very nice photo from the brand that is king of the rookie cards. This set has 166 total rookie cards in it with RC’s of many notable HOF’s. This is one of my favorites simply because of the photo and Bowman’s card stock, it has a vintage feel to it.
1991 Donruss the Rookies, Card #33 (shop eBay)
This is a 56 card, hobby exclusive set, offered to collectors by Donruss. I love these bright red borders, lots of eye appeal. Adding the green and yellow ribbons below make this one ideal for the Christmas season. Lol!
1991 Fleer Update, Card #62 (shop eBay)
This 132 card set is an extension of its parent brand Fleer, which is also known as the “Yellow Monster” because of its enormous 720 cards and bright yellow borders. However, this Fleer Update set gives collectors many notable rookie cards, which is where its parent failed to deliver.
1991 Score Rookie/Traded, Card #82T (shop eBay)
This 110 card set is identical to its parent 1991 Score set, with the only difference being the maroon colored border. These dark colored borders make the slightest chip or ding really stick out. Not much on card design but still a respectable rookie card of a Hall of Famer.
1991 Topps Traded, Card #101T (shop eBay)
This 132 card set was distributed in factory set form and pack form. The factory sets were printed on white card stock. The cards in pack form were printed on gray card stock and is most noticeable in the back of the card. Gray backs are harder to find and that is not reflected most in the card values. But the Topps Traded TIFFANY set is a parallel and has a more limited supply and because of that are highly desired by collectors.
1991 Ultra Update, Card #58 (shop eBay)
This 120 card set was produced in shorter print runs than other subsets in 1991. It has held its value over the years indicating it is a collectors must have. I have much respect for this premier issue of Fleer’s Ultra brand. This set offered a quality product with quality photography for a decent price, giving collectors the best of everything.
1991 Upper Deck Final Edition, Card #55F (shop eBay)
This 100 card update set was offered to collectors very late into the season in an effort to highlight the 1991 Post Season. Great photography, clean card design, quality card stock, this is a very clean card but like so many of these cards in the 90’s, massed produced.