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Ivan Rodriguez's 1999 Season
by Asher B. Chancey, BaseballEvolution.com
September 1, 2009
In 1999, when Ivan Rodriguez enjoyed his best offensive season but also became the fourth major leaguer to hit 30 homeruns and hit into 30 double plays in the same season, he was playing on the offense heavy Texas Rangers. I-Rod spent 43 games batting sixth on the Rangers, behind Juan Gonzalez (3) and Rafael Palmeiro (4), and in those 43 games hit into 11 double plays. In the second half of the season, Rodriguez spent 88 games hitting second behind leadoff hitter Mark McLemore, and hit into 17 double plays. On the season, McLemore had a .363 on-base percentage and stole 16 bases, indicating that he was neither elite at getting on base, or slow. The ninth spot hitters in those games in which I-Rod hit second were Tom Goodwin and Royce Clayton, neither of whom was either good at getting on base or slow.
The final stat that is relevant here is Rodriguez’s walks – he had 24 of them in 630 plate appearances. I think the key to I-Rod’s double plays is not so much the abilities of the players around him, as with Wade Boggs on the 1983 Red Sox, but rather the high octane offense of the Rangers combined with Ivan Rodriguez’s free-swinging style. When yuo have a free swinging catcher who is having such a good season that he is placed in a prominent place in the batting order, and he goes up swinging every time in an offense that has no trouble scoring runs, there are going to be plenty of double plays.
Questions? Concerns? Comments? Asher lives in Philadelphia, PA, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Ron Santo: Cubs Legend
Pat Hughes and Ron Santo were the Chicago Cubs' WGN Radio announcing team for 15 seasons. Their unique on-air chemistry became known as "the Pat and Ron Show" with fans tuning in as much for their eccentric banter as for Cubs baseball itself.
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