On this date in Texas Rangers history, Iván ‘Pudge’ Rodríguez joined a select group of catchers for his work at the plate.
On September 11, 1997, Rodríguez and the Rangers were facing the Minnesota Twins at The Ballpark in Arlington. The Rangers won, 7-0, and Rodríguez was the biggest reason why.
Pudge went 3-for-4 at the plate, driving in five runs and scoring three of his own. But it wasn’t just the hits that did it. It was the home runs.
Rodríguez hit three home runs in the game. He hit a pair off Twins starter Brad Radke, both of which were two-run blasts. The other, in the eighth inning, came off future Rangers reliever Eddie Guardado.
Yes, Rodríguez hit three home runs. Big deal, right? Yes, for catchers. Pudge became just the eighth catcher in Major League history to hit three home runs in a game, joining Mickey Cochrane, Bill Dickey, Don Leppert, Bill Freehan, Ernie Whitt, Mike Stanley, and Dan Wilson.
Cochrane and Dickey, like Rodríguez, are in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Stanley was, at one time, a teammate of Rodríguez’s, as he broke into the Majors with the Rangers in 1986 and played with Texas until 1991. Stanley hit his three home-run game with the New York Yankees in 1995.
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Rodríguez ended up with 311 home runs for his career. That put him among a group of seven catchers who hit at least 300 home runs in their career as of 2021.
Also on this date …
September 11, 1990: The New York Yankees beat the Texas Rangers, 5-4, a win that snapped Texas pitcher Bobby Witt's personal 12-game winning streak.
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