He wasn’t always a Detroit Tiger, but when he was he was damn good one. Detroit Sports Nation would like to extend our heartiest congratulations to Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez on his induction into Cooperstown and the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Image result for pudge rodriguez tigers
Wikimedia Commons
Image result for pudge rodriguez tigers
Wikimedia Commons

Pudge signed with the Tigers in February of 2004, after Detroit was coming off a franchise-worst 119-loss season, also one of the worst seasons in the MLB modern era. He had been named National League Championship Series MVP in 2003 and won the World Series with the then Florida Marlins. It was a “big get” for a team that was not in a very good place. The deal was for four years and $40 million, with an option for a fifth year. He eventually was traded to the New York Yankees for Kyle Farnsworth in 2008.

During his time with the Tigers, Pudge slashed .298/.328/.449 while notching 62 home runs and racking up 300 RBIs. His offensive production was only a part of what he brought to the table. It was his defense and leadership on the field that made him invaluable to his club. In 2006, just a few years after the record-setting 2003 campaign for losses, the Tigers went to the World Series, behind a young arm of Justin Verlander and a steady veteran backstop in Rodriguez.

Pudge was a fan favorite, and he relished his time in Detroit. According to an interview with Tony Paul of the Detroit News, “it all started with the fans.” Rodriguez recalled his time in Comerica Park fondly saying, “The fans here…they were some of the biggest supporters for us.”

Congrats, Pudge! Well deserved! Pudge will be joined by two others come this summer when they the elected are enshrined. 23-year major league veteran Tim ‘Rock’ Raines is getting in, as is long-time Houston Astros first baseman Jeff Bagwell.

As for a few other former Tigers, notably shortstop Carlos Guillen and Magglio Ordoñez, they are no longer eligible after failing to receive the minimum.

Join the conversation, click to jump to comments now!