Pudge set to make history back home
Astros catcher to break record where he started his career
ARLINGTON -- Astros catcher Ivan Rodriguez returns home on the verge of making history, and he's happy it'll happen in Arlington.With two more games played behind the plate, he'll pass Carlton Fisk (2,226) for the most career games caught. Rodriguez entered play Tuesday with 2,225 games caught -- tied with Bob Boone for second place -- and was in the lineup. He is expected to break the record Wednesday night.
"I know it's a big game, two big games for me in my career," Rodriguez said. "I'm going to be able to break a record, two guys that I respect a lot -- Fisk and Boone. I'm going to concentrate and try and win the ballgame. But when the fifth inning is finished, when it's an official game, I'm going to enjoy it."Fisk caught his record-setting game June 22, 1993, while with the White Sox. The game was against the Rangers and -- fittingly enough -- Rodriguez caught that day for the Rangers, his 263rd game at catcher. "He was unbelievable," former Rangers outfielder Ruben Sierra said. "He came up to the big leagues with a cannon arm and showed he was the best catcher in the game. It's hard to believe he's still playing, but he takes good care of himself. He is a guy who works hard. He deserves it." Rodriguez, a 13-time Gold Glove winner, found it difficult to pinpoint a favorite moment with the Rangers but hinted it was when he was first called up to the Major Leagues. "All the memories here are nice," Rodriguez said. "The first day they called me up back in '91, Bobby Valentine gave me a chance to play in the big leagues. That's one of the things I'll never forget. He was the first manager to call me up, and today I'm still in the big leagues. That was a big moment."
Tools of endurance
|Below is a list of the players who have caught the most games in Major League history.|
|Credit: Elias Sports Bureau|
Rodriguez, whose contract with the Astros ends after this season, could have another big moment should he decide to finish his career with the Rangers."I'm always open to anything," he said. "It's always nice to play so many years and come back, but I like where I am. It's hard to project the future. You never know. It would be nice. It would be great." Rodriguez just doesn't know when that could be. "Still some years left to catch," Pudge said. "Still plenty. I'm just going to take one game at a time. I enjoy this game. The ability to play this game and to be able to be in this game to right now, it's been a lot of years, a lot of work, a lot of hard work -- in the season and the offseason. I'm busy in the offseason, and I always keep myself in good shape to play in the big leagues every day."
Daniel Paulling is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.