The legendary catcher is the first member of the Washington Nationals selected as a player to the Hall of Fame. Ivan Rodriguez played two seasons in DC.
Rodriguez received 76 percent of the vote, topping the line by one percentage point. He will wear a Texas Rangers hat, the old expansion Washington Senators, on his plaque.
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Considered the best defensive catcher of his time, on par with Johnny Bench all time, Rodriguez ended his career with the Nats. As the primary catcher in 2010, and a bench player at the start of 2011, he brought a veteran presence to a club in need of one. At 38, he caught 102 games for Washington his first year here.
That is a bunch of wear and tear on an aging body.
Although his bat was a shadow of his prime, he hit .266 in 2010 while legging out 18 doubles and four solo homers.
Here is a video of one of his last career home run against Derek Lowe of the Atlanta Braves from 2011:
A weak start to the 2011 season forced Rodriguez to announce his retirement that year.
Brought in by general manager Mike Rizzo to help with the rebuilding process, Rodriguez’s short stay with Washington helped. He handled the pitchers well, still threw out 34 percent of potential base stealers and caught 96 complete games his first year.
Rodriguez dominated from the start with the Rangers. Fourth in the American League Rookie of the Year voting in 1991—along with the 1999 AL MVP—he forged his reputation as a threat at the plate and behind it. His MVP year, he slugged 35 homers while driving in 113. Five straight seasons—from 1996 to 2001—he tossed out more than half of runners trying to purloin a bag.
His election is not a surprise. Perhaps getting in his first try might be, but Rodriguez defined the position for a generation.
As the Nationals continue forging their own identity, Rodriguez earning the distinction of being the first player to inscribe DC on the plaque is a milestone. Although Raines earned the same honor yesterday for the franchise, the frosty distinction between the Montreal and Washington years for the team makes celebrating Raines difficult.
Not so with Rodriguez. He is the first—remember Frank Robinson was in when he managed the club—you can be assured Pudge will not be the last.