Remembering a Miami Marlins legend: Iván Rodríguez
By Neil Raymond
Catcher Iván Rodríguez only played one season for the Miami Marlins (then Florida Marlins) but what a season it was! “Pudge” led The Fish to a World Championship in 2003. I don’t think that the championship would’ve even been possible without his leadership and clutch hitting. One can argue that playing for one season does not make him a team legend, but the fact that it led to a championship makes him one in my opinion. Let’s look at his career and remember a Miami Marlins legend.
Iván Rodríguez was crucial to the 2003 Miami Marlins World Championship.
Iván Rodríguez started his career with the Texas Rangers debuting at 19 years old in 1991 and batting .264/.276/.354 in 280 AB’s with 3 home runs and 27 RBI. Pudge didn’t do much better offensively in 1992, but won his first of 10 consecutive Gold Gloves that season. 1994 proved to be Pudge’s breakout season as he batted .298/.360/.488n with 16 home runs and 57 RBI in 363 AB’s. He followed that up with a .300/.342/.473 batting line in 492 AB’s in 1995 with 12 home runs and 67 RBI.
Iván Rodríguez had a power breakout in his AL MVP winning 1999 season, when he batted .332/.356/.558 with 35 home runs and 113 RBI. It was an amazing season and is actually one of the greatest seasons that any catcher has ever had. Unfortunately, Pudge then started to have health issues so Texas decided not to re-sign him after the 2002 season. It ended up being perfect for the then Florida Marlins, as we signed him for 1 year/$10 million.
Iván Rodríguez was phenomenal for The Fish in his only season, batting .297/.369/.474 in 511 AB’s with 16 home runs and 85 RBI. The playoffs was an even better story. The Miami Marlins (then Florida Marlins) won the NL Wild Card and faced the defending NL Champions the San Francisco Giants in the NLDS. Pudge hit .353/.450/.588 with a home run and 6 RBI as The Fish won the series 3-1. In the NLCS, we faced the Chicago Cubs and Pudge won the NLCS MVP award after hitting .321/.424/.607 with 2 home runs and 10 RBI. The Miami Marlins won that series and the pennant 4-3.
The World Series was the ultimate finale for Iván Rodríguez on the Miami Marlins, as he hit .273/.292/.364 with no home runs and 1 RBI. The Fish won the World Series and the Championship 4-3. Pudge hit .313/.390/.522 with 3 home runs and 17 RBI in 17 games and 67 AB’s overall in the playoffs. You can read more about that magical run here. Unfortunately, then owner Jeffrey Loria didn’t want to pay Pudge after the season. Pudge signed with the Detroit Tigers and then became a bit of a journeyman (playing for the New York Yankees, Houston Astros, Washington Nationals and Texas Rangers again), before retiring after the 2011 season.