Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Ivan Rodriguez: The Early Years

Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez just retired as one of the most decorated catchers in MLB history. Pudge was just a 165-pounder, according to this 1991 Classic Best card showing IRod as a Tulsa Driller. It's a pleasant card, showing an earnest catcher lifting his mask to the heavens. He spent 21 years in the Bigs with the Rangers, Tigers, Yankees, Nationals, Marlins and Astros. Great defense. Great arm. 2,844 hits. 311 home runs. 1,332 runs and 1,354 runs scored. First ballot HoFer in five years.

Ozzie Guillen: Before the Mouth Roared

They're so cute when they're young, arent't they? And consider that Ozzie already had five years in the Bigs and a few years in the minors by the time he was photographed for this 1990 Fleer card. Most baseball fans know Ozzie as persona non-grata in Little Havana in Miami, but he actually played 16 years accumulating 1,764 hits, including 275 doubles, for the White Sox, Orioles, Braves and former Devil Rays. After he was publicly lashed for his Castro quips in Time Magazine, the Marlins manager will likely stay away from geo-political commentary. For a while, anyway.