Saturday, November 14, 2009

1976 Topps #267 - Aurelio Rodriguez

  • Aurelio Rodriguez played third base in the major leagues from 1967-1983. He was known for having a very strong arm. Rodriguez was purchesed from Jalisco (Mexican League) by the California Angels in 1966 and never played in the minor leagues. In 1967 he played in 29 games and batted .238 in 130 at bats. Rodriguez was never known for his bat, but was a good-fielding third baseman.
  • Rodriguez played in 76 games in 1968 and then was made the starting third baseman in 1969, playing in 159 games. In 1970 he was traded to the Washington Senators after playing in 17 games for the Angels. Rodriguez had his most productive power-hitting year for the Senators in 1970, hitting 19 home runs. Despite the productive year, he was included in a trade to the Detroit Tigers (along with Joe Coleman, Ed Brinkman, and Jim Hannan) that brought Denny McLain and three other players to the Senators. The Tigers got the better of that trade.
  • Rodriquez was the starting third baseman for the Tigers for most of the decade. He usually had batting averages below .24o and wasn't much of a power guy. Aurelio won the AL Gold Glove at third base in 1976, which was the first time someone besides Brooks Robinson won it since 1959. In 1977 he missed about six weeks with an injury.
  • In 1979 Aurelio's playing time started to diminish. After the 1979 season he was sold to the San Diego Padres for $200,000. He played in 89 games and batted .200 in 175 at bats for the Padres in 1980 before he was sold to the New York Yankees in August. Rodriguez started at third base for the Yankees for the rest of the 1980 season (Graig Nettles must have been hurt or something).
  • Aurelio didn't play a whole lot for the Yankees in 1981. He appeared in 27 games and batted only 52 times during the season. He did bat .417 in four games in the 1981 World Series. Rodriguez was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays for a minor leaguer after the 1981 season. He never played for the Blue Jays -- he was traded to the Chicago White Sox for Wayne Nordhagen during spring training in 1982.
  • Rodriguez started in 87 games at 3B for the White Sox in 1982. He appeared in 118 games but only batted 277 times. After the 1982 season Aurelio became a free agent and signed with the Baltimore Orioles. He played in 45 games and batted .119 in 67 at bats before he was released in mid-August. The White Sox picked Rodriguez up for some help during the stretch run and he was used mostly as a defensive replacement for the rest of the season. Aurelio was granted free agency after the '83 season, didn't sign with anyone, and retired.
  • After his major league career Aurelio played in the Mexican League until 1987 and then coached in the Cleveland Indians organization. He managed off-and-on in the Mexican League from 1985-2000.
  • Rodriguez was hit by a car and killed on September 23, 2000. Thousands of people, including the President of Mexico, attended his funeral.
  • Liked to face: Jim Palmer (.321 in 81 AB); Mike Cuellar (.297 in 74 AB); Pat Dobson (.339 in 56 AB)
  • Hated to face: Wilbur Wood (.133 in 83 AB); Jim Hunter (.132 in 76 AB); Vida Blue (.167 in 60 AB)

1 comment:

  1. I remember when he died as it wasn't that far away from me. IIRC, he was pinned between the car and the restuarant he had just come out of in Mexican Village in Detroit. He was and still is a god in that part of town. I had gotten his autograph earlier that summer and he was a very friendly guy.