Ivan Rodriguez, Sports Illustrated Magazine
A few weeks ago I posted a blog about the pending retirement of Dontrelle Willis, former pitcher with the 2003 World Series Champions Florida Marlins. And now again today I read that Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez is set to announce his retirement.
I’m not sure why those 2003 Florida Marlins have a soft spot in my heart, but for sure I’ll always remember that World Series. Maybe it was because they were playing the New York Yankees and I didn’t give them a prayer for winning. Maybe it was because the combination of Dontrelle and Pudge was something truly awesome to watch. Or maybe it was because I watched the entire series from a condo in Puerto Vallarta; the first two games in Spanish before I figured out how to change the receiver to English. It was memorable because the Spanish speaking announcers were unashamedly cheering for the Yankees and their obvious disappointment was hilarious to listen to. And even though I couldn’t understand a word they were saying, there was no doubt in my mind what they were thinking!
Pudge Rodriguez with the Texas Rangers
Ivan Rodriguez will be eligible for nomination to the Hall of Fame in five years and undoubtedly will be inducted at some point. His list of credentials and honors is impressive indeed and he has chosen to retire as a Texas Ranger. But even though he only spent one year with the Florida Marlins, that’s what I’ll always remember him as. The Florida Marlins catcher in the 2003 World Series. Thanks for the memories Pudge Rodriguez. You deserve all the accolades you’re about to receive!
Posted in A1 Baseball, General, Florida Marlins, New York Yankees
Tagged 2003 World Series, Dontrelle Willis, florida marlins, Iván Rodríguez, new york yankees, Pudge, pudge rodriguez, puerto vallarta, spanish speaking baseball, World Series
I’m really sad this morning to read about Dontrelle Willis being released from yet another team, this time the Philadelphia Phillies. I’ve been following this kid since his 2003 debut with the Florida Marlins. He was just so much fun to watch, with that wild and goofy wind-up he had and always a big smile. I’d never seen anything like it before and probably never will again.
He was dynamite back then! And I wasn’t the only one who was enthralled with the kid. He was named the 2003 National League Rookie of the Year. And that wasn’t all he did in 2003. In game 4 of the 2003 NL Division Series he hit 3 for 3 (one was a triple) and scored a run, this all being done as a “pitcher”, and then beat the socks off my home team, the San Francisco Giants. The Marlins won the 2003 World Series, and I’ll never forget Dontrelle Willis in that series.
Dontrelle Willis & Miguel Cabrera in Detroit
Dontrelle was born and raised in Oakland and raised by his very strong, tough and intelligent mother, Joyce. She was not only a commercial welder, working on such bridges as the Golden Gate and Bay Bridge, but she was also a softball catcher and avid Oakland A’s fan. This was the defining influence on Dontrelle that propelled him all the way to the Major Leagues. His dad bailed out when he was a toddler. I don’t know this, but I think they probably had a pretty tough time during those early years. We know one thing though. He loved his mama!
I’m sorry the “D-Train’s” career has been de-railed again. In December, 2011 the Phillies signed him to a one year million dollar deal with expectations that he’d be a bullpen pitcher. He was released yesterday after just three spring training appearances.
Not so long ago
It’s been a wild and rocky road. Will he be back? I don’t know. But I know one thing. Dontrelle Willis provided me with some of my most memorable baseball experiences and I hope he does come back, though at 40 years old it’s unlikely.
To Dontrelle Willis: Best Wishes. I wish we could have gotten to know you better kid!
Posted in A1 Baseball, General, Florida Marlins, Philadelphia Phillies, San Francisco Giants
Tagged 2003 NL Rookie of the Year, 2003 World Series, D-Train, Dontrelle Willis, florida marlins, Major League Baseball Rookie of the Year Award, Marlins, Oakland Athletics, philadelphia phillies, Phillies, San Francisco Giants, Willis