In a bit of a shocker, former Tigers’ catcher, Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez was one of just three players elected to baseball’s Hall of Fame on Wednesday. He joins Jeff Bagwell and Tim Raines as the 2017 inductees. Rodriguez appeared on 76 percent of ballots, just one percent, or four ballots, over the requirement. As such, Rodriguez becomes the first Tiger since Al Kaline to be elected to the Hall of Fame.
The Tigers’ signing of Rodriguez before the 2004 season is largely considered the move that turned the franchise around. Rodriguez was a major contributor to the team’s 2006 World Series appearance. All told, Rodriguez played four and a half years in Detroit, after spending most of his career with the Texas Rangers. Rodriguez also won the 2003 World Series as a member of the Florida Marlins.
Rodriguez’s career ended in 2011. He finished with 311 home runs, and 68.9 total fWAR, with a career wRC+ of 104. Rodriguez becomes just the second catcher elected in their first year of eligibility. The first was former Reds’ star, Johnny Bench, who was elected to the Hall in 1989.