Pudge ties Fisk for most games caught

Pudge ties Fisk for games caught

ARLINGTON -- For at least one day, two guys nicknamed "Pudge" share the distinction of having caught more games than anyone else.

Astros catcher Ivan Rodriguez donned a catcher's mask for the 2,226th time in his career Tuesday night against the Texas Rangers, tying Hall of Famer Carlton Fisk for having appeared in the most games in Major League history at catcher.

And he did it in style, hitting a home run to lead off the fifth inning -- his 108th in Rangers Ballpark in Arlington -- to account for the Astros' lone run in a 6-1 loss to the Rangers.

"I'm very pleased," Rodriguez said. "It's an unbelievable record to tie Carlton Fisk. I respect him a lot and to be able to get to his mark is an honor for me. I saw him and the way he works and takes care of himself and was able to play that many games, and I tried to follow his steps and tried to keep myself in good shape. Look where I am. I tied him, and it will be an honor to be able to break it and establish a new record."

Rodriguez, who surpassed Bob Boone and equaled Fisk, is scheduled to start Wednesday to break the record. Getting a chance to make history in front of Rangers fans and in the city where he played the first 12 years of his career is something Rodriguez cherishes.

"To have played here for [12] years was nice, and it's a great place, a great organization and a great building and great fans," Rodriguez said. "There are good memories that I got here for spending so many years. To be able to start my career here and to be able to break Carlton Fisk's record here in Arlington is an honor."

The crowd gave Rodriguez a nice standing ovation when he rounded the bases after hitting his home run in the fifth. His 108 homers at Rangers Ballpark are third all-time behind Juan Gonzalez (130) and Rafael Palmeiro (115).

"It was nice to see that and hear that from the fans," Pudge said. "The fans have always respected me a lot, and I respect them a lot. These fans are very faithful and they follow baseball a lot, they follow the Rangers all the time. I was one of those players and I was here [12] years and there were a lot of good moments. The fans always remember that, and I appreciate that."

Rangers third baseman Michael Young enjoyed the moment.

Tools of endurance
Below is a list of the players who have caught the most games in Major League history.
Rank
Games
Player
  12,226Carlton Fisk
  12,226Ivan Rodriguez
  32,225Bob Boone
  42,056Gary Carter
  51,950Tony Pena
  61,927Jim Sundberg
  71,918Al Lopez
  81,917Benito Santiago
  91,898Brad Ausmus
101,829Jason Kendall
Credit: Elias Sports Bureau

"They love Pudge around here," Young said. "Nolan [Ryan] and Pudge are the two guys, rightfully so. Pudge has done some amazing things here. I'm glad he gets to do it here. It's a class act by the Astros to let him do it here."

Rodriguez, who made his Major League debut at 18 years old in 1991, played the first 12 of his 19 seasons in Arlington. Pudge made the All-Star team 10 times and won 10 Gold Gloves with the Rangers, with whom he appeared in 1,426 games at catcher.

"All the memories are nice," Rodriguez said. "The first day they called me up back in '91, [Rangers manager] Bobby Valentine gave me a chance to play in the big leagues, and that's one of the things I'll never forget.

"He was the first manager to call me up and today I'm still in the big leagues. That was a big moment. Every time I put on a Major League uniform is big for me. I've been in baseball a lot of years, and it's always an honor."

Rodriguez is ranked first all-time among catchers in hits, doubles, putouts and Gold Glove Awards.

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.