According to reports, Ivan Rodriguez will retire as a member of the Texas Rangers before Texas plays the Yankees on Monday.
Pudge will retire as the greatest player in Rangers history and among the greatest catchers of all time. In his 21 seasons (13 with the Rangers), Pudge hit .296/.334/.464 with 311 home runs and 2,844 hits, along with 14 All-Star appearances and 13 Gold Gloves (According to Baseball Reference, he accumulated 67.3 wins above replacement in his career, 96th all-time, tied with Carlton Fisk and just behind Johnny Bench.)
He was the best player on the winning late-90s Ranger teams who, with a little help from their new homer-friendly stadium, scored over 900 runs in three out of four seasons from 1996 to 1999. He won the MVP in '98. But he didn't win in the playoffs until his odd year with the Marlins in 2003.
After Florida, he signed a big deal in Detroit, and while he was there, the team went from losers to winners, and he appeared in four straight All-Star Games. But by 2008 he was old for a catcher—36—and he was shipped to New York for an abysmal half-season. (The Yankees missed the playoffs.)
He capped things with a few itinerant years. '09 was split between the Astros and, yes, the Rangers, and he played 2010 and 2011 with the Nationals. But, while he could still field, the bat had vanished—he had become a singles hitter who rarely walked. He tried to catch on with a team this spring, just 156 hits short of 3,000 for his career, but it was almost for the best that he didn't. I wouldn't have wanted to watch him flail around for a few more seasons just to reach a milestone, when he's assuredly headed to the Hall anyway.
And it wasn't his bat that defined him in anyone's memory, anyway. I was at some Rangers game in the 90s. The date isn't all that important or memorable. Somewhere along the line, Pudge noticed that the runner at first had wandered off the bag. Immediately after catching the pitch, he threw a strike from his knees to Will Clark, who tagged the runner out before he could even dive back. Who cares about offense when he could do that?