On Monday, catcher Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez, who played for the Nationals for two seasons from 2010-2011, formally retired from major league baseball. Rodriguez was in Arlington, Texas, for a celebration, throwing the ceremonial first pitch from behind home plate to second base, because, you know, he was a catcher and all.
Watching the Rangers-Yankees game from afar in Washington, Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo, who signed Rodriguez to his final major league contract, sent him the following letter to express his gratitude following two years with the club.
As I watched the announcement of your retirement yesterday, I felt a deep sense of honor at having shared in a portion of your illustrious career. Every Nationals player fortunate enough to have been your teammate will carry with him a perpetual pride and gratitude.
Your signed jersey, framed and hanging on my office wall, is a sentimental reflection of my personal esteem, as you were my first real free agent signing as a GM. It was a signing which proved to be not only productive, but one with an important lasting impact. The world knows you did a tremendous job behind the plate. But it is the effort you devoted in mentoring our young players, especially our catchers, which impacts our team today and will do so for years to come. Neither Stephen Strasburg nor I will ever forget how your sense of calm helped steady him during his legendary debut.
You are and will remain a special part of this team, and a shining star in my personal career. The Washington Nationals wish you a fulfilling and rewarding Next Chapter.
I look forward to seeing you soon.
With gratitude and respect,
Executive Vice President & General Manager
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