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For the American entrepeneur see Aurelio F. Rodriguez
Aurelio Rodríguez
Third Baseman
Born: December 28, 1947(1947-12-28)
Cananea, Mexico
Died: September 23, 2000 (aged 52)
Detroit, Michigan
Bats: Right Throws: Right
Professional debut
September 1, 1967 for the California Angels
Last professional appearance
October 1, 1983 for the Chicago White Sox
statistics
Batting average     .237
Hits     1570
RBI     648
Teams
Member of the Mexican Baseball Hall of Fame
Empty Star.svgEmpty Star.svgEmpty Star.svg Baseball Hall of FameEmpty Star.svgEmpty Star.svg Empty Star.svg
Inducted     2002

Aurelio Rodríguez, born Aurelio Rodríguez Ituarte, Jr. (December 28, 1947 – September 23, 2000), was a third baseman in Major League Baseball who played for the California Angels (1967-70), Washington Senators (1970), Detroit Tigers (1971-79), San Diego Padres (1980), New York Yankees (1980-81), Chicago White Sox (1982, 1983) and Baltimore Orioles (1983). He also played with the Obregon Yaquis and Cañeros de Los Mochis of the Mexican Pacific League. He batted and threw right-handed.

A native of Cananea, Mexico, Rodríguez broke into the major leagues with the Angels in 1967, and was traded to Washington early in the 1970 season. Rodríguez went to Detroit with shortstop Ed Brinkman and pitchers Joe Coleman and Jim Hannan before the 1971 season in an eight-player trade that brought Denny McLain to the Senators along with Don Wert, Elliott Maddox, and Norm McRae.

Rodríguez was a model of consistency at third base for the Tigers during the 1970s. He proved not to be that good a hitter, but he had sure hands and was blessed with a strong, accurate arm. In 1975, he earned Gold Glove Award honors, becoming the first American League third baseman since 1959 to beat out Brooks Robinson. Rodríguez also led the league third basemen in fielding percentage in 1976 and 1978. Playing for the Yankees in the 1981 World Series, he hit .417 (5-for-12). His big-league career with seven teams ended in 1983.

Rodríguez was a .237 hitter with 124 home runs and 648 RBI in 2017 games. His most productive season came in 1970, when he posted career-highs in home runs (19), RBI (83), runs (70) and stolen bases (15).

Rodríguez played in the Mexican League as late as 1987 and coached in the minors for Cleveland. He returned to the Mexican League as a manager in 1995.

On September 23, 2000, Rodriguez was visiting Detroit from his home in Mexico. While walking with an unidentified woman on Detroit's southwest side at 2:00 in the afternoon, a car jumped the curb and ran over Rodriguez. The driver of the car was driving with a suspended license and had been ordered not to drive because of a previous brain aneurysm. She was charged with felony manslaughter but received only probation. Rodriguez, who had to be pulled from under the car, was 52 at the time of his death. Rodriguez' funeral in Mexico was attended by thousands of people, including the president of that country.

Trivia: The picture on Aurelio Rodriguez's 1969 Topps baseball card is actually a photo of Angels' batboy Leonard Garcia.[1]

  • There have been three players in major league history named Aurelio, (two of whom played for the Detroit Tigers) and all three were killed in car accidents between the ages of 44 and 53. See also Aurelio Lopez and Aurelio Monteagudo.

His tomb is located in the stadium Emilio Ibarra Almada from Los Mochis, Sinaloa and his cross stands at the top of the stadium.

Quotes

  • Sparky Anderson was Rodriguez's manager in 1979, the player's last year in Detroit. "He probably had as good a pair of hands on him as anybody, and a great arm -- the only two arms I've ever seen like that, Travis Fryman and him. This guy was a great third baseman", Anderson said. [2] WJR Broadcaster Paul Carey, who at that time was alternating with Hall Of Famer Ernie Harwell, used to refer to Rodriguez' arm as a Howitzer.(JRR)

In an appearance on the Yes network by several great third basemen, George Brett once commented on Rodríguez's arm, saying to all (but particularly to the Phillie Great Mike Schmidt) "You remember that guy? He would toy with you and pound the ball in his glove and you were still out by 10 feet!"

Every time the Tigers would play the Yankees, the late Phil "Scooter" Rizzuto would eventually get a chance to see a Rodriguez throw a "rising" fastball across the infield. "There's that arm," Scooter would say. "If I had an arm like that . . .!"

External links

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