Earlier this week Pudge Rodriguez threw one last dart from home plate to second base at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. The 14-time All-Star catcher has decided to hang up his catcher’s equipment after 21 seasons in the big leagues. Rodriguez spent most of his career with the Texas Rangers, but also spent some time with the Florida Marlins, Detroit Tigers, Houston Astros and Washington Nationals. Although he may be forever linked to the steroid era of baseball, Rodriguez will always be loved in Texas.
Pudge Rodriguez joined ESPN Dallas with Ben & Skin to discuss throwing out the first pitch this week before the Texas Rangers and New York Yankees game, coming up with the idea of throwing out the ceremonial pitch to second base, retiring from baseball when some organizations were still showing some interest in him, working for the Texas Rangers in the near future and his popularity with the Rangers fan base.
On throwing out the first pitch against the New York Yankees on Monday?
“It was great. Overall it was great day and the ceremony on the field was great. Both teams are the top in stats and doing the ceremony and the place being sold out. It was a great moment.”
Who’s idea was it to throw out the ceremonial ball out to second base?
“[Laughs] It was my idea I was thinking about the day before and I just told my kids I want to do something different, so I’m not a pitcher. I have never been a pitcher in my career. I just want to do it the opposite. I just want to throw the ball to second base, but the good thing is I threw it in the air. That’s the most important thing.”
Was it hard for you to retire because there were still teams that wanted you to play? Any interest at all in still playing?
“Yeah there was a couple of teams that wanted me on their team, but it was a tough decision. I was sitting here at home thinking about it. I couldn’t put my mind back into it. It was kind of hard. I just took my time, but anyway I did and I just decided enough is enough. The only thing to be honest with you there was me being 166 hits away from 3000. I’ve had a great run. I’ve had a great career and I am very pleased with the career that I’ve had for 21 years.”
One year from today what do you think you will be doing?
“I had a great talk with Mr.Nolan Ryan and I am looking forward to being a part of the organization. We had a very positive meeting the other day. Right now I am going to take a little time off, a couple of months and when I start going back and fourth to Texas to be in the games and to do good things in the community, but it was great. I think just every time on the field baseball is going to be with me for the rest of my life and I’ll be doing a lot of stuff for the Rangers, so I look forward to it.”
What did it mean to hear the ovation you got from the Texas Rangers fan base in your pre-game retirement ceremony?
“It meant a lot to me. Like I said before I think I have such a tremendous respect for the fans in Texas and the Metroplex and the fans all around Major League Baseball. I think what they did for me in my whole career was great. I appreciate that very, very much from the fans, but it was great. I think the Texas fans always appreciate every time I come in when I played for 12 years there even when I left and I came this year they still give me the love and appreciate every single game that I played. What can I say? I love them very much and appreciate everything they did for me in my whole career and my time in baseball. I appreciate all the fan support they gave me for 21 years. That is something I am going to miss wearing the uniforms and hearing those ovations on the field, but I’ll be around. I love baseball. Baseball is my passion. I am going to be watching games. I am going to be in the Texas are for a long time. They are going to see me at the park, so it’s going to be good.”