Officially the youngest traditionally elected Hall of Famer and named on his first ballot appearance, Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez was one of three players elected to the 2017 Baseball Hall of Fame on Wednesday. Joining Rodriguez are Tim Raines and Jeff Bagwell, who made it in their 10th and seventh years on the ballot, respectively.
The former Tigers catcher was a key part of Detroit’s baseball resurgence after an abysmal period of record for the team. Despite objections, he joined the Tigers in 2004 and brought an American League Championship to the city in 2006. He made the MLB All-Star Game in all four full seasons while with the Tigers, took home three Gold Gloves, and earned a Silver Slugger Award as the Tigers’ catcher.
Rodriguez’s nomination was enough, but just barely, as he made it in by 1 percent. He’s only the second catcher in MLB history to have been elected to the Hall of Fame on the first ballot (the other being Johnny Bench in 1989), and the 18th overall. Pudge appeared in the most games as a catcher (2,844) and among players who appeared in at least 50 percent of their career games as a catcher has the most hits (2,844) and doubles (572).
Two former Tigers who were in their first years on the ballot, Magglio Ordoñez and Carlos Guillen, finished with three and zero votes, respectively, and therefore have fallen off for further consideration.