Reports are all over the interweb that Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez will announce his retirement on Monday in Arlington, Texas.
It was a privilege to see Pudge play so many times in person. I think we sometimes fail to fully recognize greatness when it's right in front of us and only after it's gone do we appreciate it. Such is the case with Pudge.
I loved watching him gun down runners and pick guys off first. His arm was like a cannon, always loaded and ready to fire to any base. His 13 Gold Gloves, including 10 consecutive awards between 1992 and 2001, are 3 more than any other catcher earned.
Pudge was no slouch at the plate. Rodriguez's best season was in 1999, when he hit .332 with 35 homers and 113 RBIs as the Rangers won their third AL West crown in four years. He will retire with 2,844 hits, 311 homers and a .296 average.
Pudge will appear on the Hall of Fame ballot for the first time in 2017.
So, is Pudge a first ballot Hall of Famer? I hope so.
Pudge, thanks for the memories!