T.R.’s Memoirs: Ivan Rodriguez batted down those who doubted him in illustrious MLB career (Part II)
(AP photo/Bill Janscha)
Editor’s note:T.R. Sullivan retired after covering the Rangers for 32 years for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and MLB.com. He is sharing his memories and history of the Rangers for this website. This week: Ivan Rodriguez.
Chino Cadahia was the Rangers’ minor-league instructor who gave Ivan Rodriguez his nickname
Rodriguez showed up to minor-league camp in 1989 standing 5-foot-7 and weighing 157 pounds. Cadahia dubbed him Pudge — the nickname that Carlton Fisk had during his career — and it stuck.
So did his ability. Rodriguez was 17 years old. Today, 17-year-old prospects begin their professional careers in the Dominican Summer League. Not Rodriguez.
At age 17, he was at Class A Hickory in the South Atlantic League. At age 19, he was at Double A Tulsa in the Texas League. John Jaha was the league MVP that year at age 25. A Double A manager was once asked why he had his guys trying to run against Rodriguez even though they had no chance.
“I just like to watch the little SOB throw,” the manager said.