Pudge Rodriguez reached the pinnacle of a player’s career by being inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Our writers will answer a question pertaining to his induction that can be taken in several directions.
Holly and Kurt don’t share their answers to the following question until today. In doing so, it gives readers the best shot at gaining a wide range of perspectives. Will you get that today? We’ll see.
Should we be happy that Pudge Rodriguez was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame?
The arrival of Pudge to Detroit symbolized a turning point in Detroit baseball and for that, combined with Mr. I’s wallet, we should be happy and grateful. He helped make the Tigers a desired team once again despite all the rumors of his early unhappiness.
But it would have been better if he had been a player nurtured by the organization instead of having spent his first 12 years with the Rangers. This is truly a bittersweet moment as we attempt to name him as our own when he is really more of an adopted son. Rodriguez has obvious affection and preference for his original team as seen when he made a point of retiring from baseball as a Ranger and his hiring by them shortly thereafter.
And maybe this is why it’s easier to come to terms with his election into the Hall on a personal basis. Unlike many who are undoubtedly reminded of the lack of Detroit Tigers in the Hall, I don’t focus on that viewpoint. He was, after all, considered to be one of baseball’s top defensive catchers – just after Johnny Bench – and would have entered the Hall from any team.
But I do focus on a bigger injustice – the rumors of PED use. There’s just too much evidence pointing to it to ignore. Remember, Lance Armstrong, Marion Jones, Alex Rodriguez and others weren’t caught by drug tests – they were exposed via other means. And when you were listed in the Mitchell Report, had greatly fluctuating weight, obvious changes in your facial/head size and answered the PED question cryptically while never denying the charges, that should be a head’s up. Jose Canseco, despite what some may think about him, was deadly accurate in his book naming PED users.
Combine that with the fact that the Rangers had a number of verified PED users on the team – Canseco himself, Juan Gonzalez, Alex Rodriguez, Rafael Palmeiro and Nelson Cruz – and Houston, we’ve got a problem. (Er, maybe change that to Arlington…)
And therein lies the issue for me. Forget all the arguments about when testing and rules changed, and the tired arguments that “he was a great player before he started taking them”. These players are cheaters and the victims are their teammates, the Hall of Famers, statistical records – and the fans. PEDs not only significantly altered the body and added power, they significantly altered stats as well.
MLB is very careful in maintaining their image and perceived harmony but the cracks within are starting to show. An increasing number of players – including current Hall of Famers – are very angry over this issue. Enough so that some have admitted they are having discussions with their Hall mates about taking action in the future to nullify future inductees with PED backgrounds, should it come to that.
And that’s good enough for me.
Pudge made the Hall of Fame! Congratulations! He deserves it! He’s one of the best catchers to ever play the game. What’s not to be happy about? And better yet, he came to Detroit when we needed him the most. He served as a revival for this franchise when it had reached the absolute depths of despair.
I realize he didn’t come here for free, but he could have played anywhere and he chose Detroit. His arrival opened the door for others like Magglio Ordonez to take a chance on the Tigers. And even though Pudge really solidified his place in the Hall through all his accomplishments in Texas, it was a pleasure to watch such a great competitor lead the Tigers and help get them within sniffing distance of a World Title.
We have no reason (other than the PED words) to be upset to see him granted the highest honor as a Major Leaguer. It really has nothing to do with us. It only serves to remind us to do a better job of honoring our own, but he wasn’t here long enough to declare much ownership. I don’t expect a number retirement in Detroit and nor should there be. But I am happy for him as a baseball fan.
Most players to enter the Hall choose to represent the city where it all began or where they had the most success. Pudge will always be a Texas Ranger. But I understand the irony here. There has been all kinds of uproar about Tiger players not making the Hall of Fame. Pudge just represents, in a strange sort of way, just another “Tiger” who won’t be in the Hall.