We conclude our National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum countdown with a fitting choice, Iván ‘Pudge’ Rodríguez, the pride of Vega Baja, only the second catcher elected on the first ballot, the fourth Puerto Rican enshrined and 13th Latino overall inducted into Cooperstown.
He joins a select company that includes Latino royalty like Roberto Clemente, Juan Marichal and Pedro Martínez, as well as legends like Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Henry ‘Hank’ Aaron and his idol, Johnny Bench.
Pudge’s footwork and arm made him a defensive genius. He threw out 46 percent of the runners who tried to steal on him. He won 13 Gold Gloves, more than any other backstop. Just 5-foot-9, towered over the game, truly a pequeño gigante.