That time Pudge Rodriguez picked off a sad, crawling Nick Johnson at third base
Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez, who turned 45 on Sunday, is arguably the greatest defensive catcher ever. Sure, he was superb on the offensive side of the ball (311 home runs, 2,844 hits, a .296/.334/.464 career slash line), but behind the plate is where he became a baseball legend.
Pudge won a catcher-record 13 Gold Gloves, led the league in caught stealing percentage an unprecendented nine times and is tied for eighth all time among all players with a 28.7 dWAR. He's caught more games than anybody, ever, and recorded 14,864 putouts -- the most for his position. He's up for the Hall of Fame for the first time this year. So, in recognition of his birthday and defensive prowess, we'd like to take everyone back to Game 1 of the 2003 World Series ... when Pudge made Yankees first baseman Nick Johnson look extraordinarily silly on a rocket pickoff throw to third base:
A face that Pudge has produced upon many a baserunner.
And could probably still produce today.