Player Collection Spotlight – Ivan Rodriguez

My favorite players all share one thing in common: they are all great defensive players. Pudge Rodriguez is one of those, one of the best defensive catchers of all time. He came up with the Rangers in 1991 and went on to to become a 14-time All-Star, 13-time Gold Glove winner (MLB record for catchers), 7-time Silver Slugger, and the AL MVP in 1999 on his way to Cooperstown.

Pudge picked of an MLB record 88 runners in his career, and I was there for one of them in 1998. In the third inning against the Angels, he picked off Phil Nevin at first base. Rodriguez also had an RBI infield single in the first. I was so excited to see one of my heroes have such a good game.

Pudge signed with the Marlins in 2003 and went on to win the World Series that season. Then he went to the Tigers in 2004 and had another trip to the World Series in 2006.

Pudge was traded at the deadline in 2008 from the Tigers to the Yankees. He signed with the Astros before the 2009 season, then was traded back to the Rangers in August of that year. He then signed with the Nationals and finished his career with two years in Washington.

I have 39 cards in my Pudge collection, all of them from the Topps Flagship, Traded, or Update sets. These include All-Star, Gold Glove, and Postseason Highlights.

Most of my favorites show him in his catcher’s gear. I’m a sucker when it comes to cards showing catchers in their gear. I was a catcher when I was in Little League and if I played again I would be behind the plate.

Number one on my list is the 1994 Topps card. It shows him right after he released a throw to second base, with his mask falling to the ground. It highlights his legendary throwing ability.

His 2002 Gold Glove card shows him ready to receive a pitch. He’s wearing the blue Rangers uniform and gear with red trim. I like that color combination better than the all red that the Rangers wore for a while.

His 2009 Update card is excellent. Pudge is shown making a play at the plate with a runner crashing into him. It looks like the runner is getting the raw end of this deal.

Finally, even though there are several more that show Pudge in his gear, his 2005 card shows him standing on second, and it looks like he’s pointing to the scoreboard and showing the Tigers that they are either not out of it yet, or that they have the lead.

I have decided to add Fleer and Donruss to my player collections, so I went from having 100% of the Pudge cards, to having just 57%. Oh well, that’s what happens when you’re a collector, right?

Author: Dave

Hi! My name is Dave. I graduated with a Master of Science in Data Science in May 2020. I enjoy playing baseball, watching baseball, writing about baseball, and thinking about baseball. My favorite place to be is the ballpark, any ballpark. I will watch every level of baseball.

13 thoughts on “Player Collection Spotlight – Ivan Rodriguez”

  1. Will the Gantner and Wizard collections veer into Fleer/Donruss as well? Just be careful of the slippery slope that is Score, Upper Deck, SportFlics, Ace Hardware, Kraft Mac & Cheese, Pinnacle, Flair, Church’s Chicken, etc. My Gooden collection got crazy fast!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You might want to check out his 2000 Pacific card, which was the card for the MVP season. It is an action shot similar to the ’94 complete with gear and falling mask but more colorful, sunny, and he is sporting shades. A true classic and fittingly MVPish.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Don’t know the Pacific story. 1999 was a Yankee championship year so I gobbled up every set, Pacific being one of them. Maybe you could create an exception since it was his MVP season.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. So there’s the base version (in catching gear) and also a portrait version for Rodriguez in 2000 Pacific. There’s also copper, emerald green, gold, platinum blue, premiere date, and ruby versions of both. They weren’t the first to do parallels, but I think they may have been the ones to bring it to another level, leading to the current rainbow dazzle refractors we have now. 2000 Pacific Prism is a player collector’s heaven … or the bane of their existence. They always had what I thought were some interesting inserts.

        Pacific originally had a license to produce bilingual (English/Spanish) cards beginning in 1993. Prior to that they produced some individual player sets (there’s at least a Nolan Ryan issue and a Tom Seaver issue) and some other oddball sets (team-oriented sets, at least one Senior League set when that was a thing, some Legends series, etc.) At some point they produced sets without the bilingual aspect. Nick has some posts on Pacific:

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Dave! It’s always great to meet a fellow Ivan Rodriguez fan and collector! If you are on Facebook, you should join my fan page for Pudge:

    I’ve been collecting his cards since he made is major league debut and have in excess of 2,000 unique copies of his cards. Based on all the other Pudge collectors I’ve met through my page, my collection is probably in the top 3-5 in the world. I’ve been lucky enough to meet him on multiple occassions with the most recent being the same day the Rangers revealed his statue at Globe Life Field (about a week before the pandemic).

    Pleased to meet you and would love to connect!


    1. Hi!

      Wow, over 2000 cards. That is some dedication. I expanded to include Fleer, Donruss, Score, and Upper Deck. I now have 97 out of 112. I don’t even have 2000 in my Brewer collection.

      I have also met him once. He signed the catcher’s mitt I used in Little League after a spring training game.

      I just sent a request to join your Facebook group.


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