Hall Of Fame Debate: Ivan ‘Pudge’ Rodriguez VS Mike Piazza
This week’s ‘Hall Of Fame Debate’ is going to start a series of Player VS Player comparisons.
Ultimately, many if not all of the players being discussed and debated about are either presently in the Hall of Fame or more than likely they are soon to be elected.
So, with these head-to-head matchups, I think I am just asking you to rank them, 1 and 2, to see if and how we judge a player and their career achievements.
Sound like fun? It does to me – so, let’s do this!!!
For this match-up, I am pitting Ivan ‘Pudge’ Rodriguez against fellow catcher, Mike Piazza.
Personally, I have always liked Pudge and I have never cared for Piazza. But, I am capable of taking the emotions out of it and strictly base my debate on their merits.
So, now It’s Go Time – Ivan ‘Pudge’ Rodriguez VS Mike Piazza
Here is a look at their career numbers:
|Games at Catcher||2,427||1,630|
|150-199 hit seasons||7||7|
|200+ hit seasons||0||1|
|30-39 HR Seasons||1||7|
|40+ HR Seasons||0||2|
Two very solid and extremely productive players – and quite possibly two of the ten best catchers in the history of the sport.
Pudge Rodriguez compiled a ton of hits during his major league career and he was a threat to join the 3,o00 hits club for a long time. Mike Piazza was an extremely consistent provider of runs for the duration of his career. Both men offer multiple tools that you would seek in a catcher – both on offense and defense. Pudge was clearly the better defender, and Piazza was the supreme run-creating engine.
A few stand-out points for me:
* Piazza had 4 more seasons that were extremely close to the 30/100 marker
* Pudge’s streak of 13 Gold Glove Awards in 16 seasons is unreal
* Piazza has a career .377 on-base percentage
* Had Pudge played more DH instead of catcher during his prime, he could easily amassed 20-25 more hits a seasons and truly come closer to 3,000
So, now the fun begins – who had a better career? Which catcher would you choose for your team for a 15-season stretch?
For me, it always comes down to how many ways in which a player can help a team. While Mike Piazza can help deliver wins with his mighty offensive skills and knack for driving in runs, he is not going to provide the anchor at catcher on defense that you may seek. Pudge on the other hand will surely provide the leadership needed at catcher to both manage the pitching staff and lead the team’s defense – yet he is not going to scare the opposition with his ability to end the game on a single swing the same manner that Mike Piazza would.
And now my answer. And it was pretty easy for me to come to…
I’m going with Rodriguez. For me, the defense he offers is something that cannot be overlooked. Managing the pitching staff, setting the defense, and controlling the base paths are skills that if mastered can make a player elite at their position from a defensive standpoint – and Pudge did all of this exceptionally well. Offensively he may not have been the threat that Piazza was, but he was no slouch either. A skilled hitter with the ability to put the ball in play, Pudge was agood source of offensive support and a solid complementary piece.
So, who you got????