photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein
First, though, the game.
I would be more willing to cut Jose Capellan some slack, but for this fact: the one team we really, really can’t lose to right now are the Racist Logos. And what did Jose Capellan do today, in his debut for the Tigers? Gave up an 11th inning, game-winning home run. To Casey Blake. Of the Racist Logos.
Welcome to the team, Mr. Capellan. We’re already mad at you.
My hometown has its fireworks on the 3rd instead of the 4th, as many towns in Massachusetts do, so I missed seeing this one as it happened. The box score looks fairly typical; good outings for all the usual suspects (Polanco, Sheffield, Maggs, Guillen), not good outings for those usual suspects (Monroe, Inge [sigh]).
I see that Chad Durbin got hung with a blown save (can’t pimp ’em all, I guess), and Pudge got an error on some kind of catcher’s interference? Someone want to tell me what that was all about?
Regardless, Pudge is allowed to do whatever he pleases, because this game was the 2000th that he has caught at the major league level. Two thousand. Think about that.
[Carlton] Fisk and [Bob] Boone were in their 40s when they caught their 2,000th games. [Gary] Carter was 38 years old. Rodriguez is just 35.
And those four guys are the only ones to have caught 2000+ games. Yes, Pudge did start the youngest (making his big league debut at age 19), but Fisk and Carter debuted at ages 21 and 20 respectively. Perhaps part of it is that Pudge, at age 19, caught nearly half the entire season, and was the starting catcher the following year when he was 20. Carter didn’t get significant playing time until his second year, when he was 21, and Fisk had to wait until he was 24 to play regularly (Boone debuted at 24, older than the rest, and worked as a starter at age 25).
So Pudge’s youthful debut to the majors does make it easier for him to reach 2000 games at a young age, but he wasn’t THAT much younger than a couple of the other guys when he started out. Much of his swift ascent is due to his iron (or perhaps a more accurate word is STUBBORN) constitution and his willingness to play through all sorts of small, sit-out-able injuries.
Big congrats to Pudge. That’s a heck of an accomplishment, and although I’m sure Rangers fans are irked it wasn’t with them, I enjoy the fact that he hit the mark with the team he dredged up out of obscurity and into contention (not singlehandedly, of course, but pretty darn close to it in some ways).
“He’s 100 times ahead of me,” said [Mike] Rabelo, who has caught 20 games in his Major League career. “If I caught 1,000 games, I’d feel good.”
Ha ha, oh, Rabes.
And hey, don’t forget to VOTE BONDO! for the last man in the All Star Game! You have until 6 pm Thursday (July 5), get to clicking!
(image courtesy of the Detroit Tigers… hey, they emailed it to me, thus allowing me to be lazy and not ‘shop up my own. good deal)
If you click that image it will take you to the Tigers homepage. If the Last Man Vote isn’t the top article, you can either wait for the site to cycle through to it, or click any of the VOTE BONDERMAN things all around the page. You can also text “A1” to 36197, if you’re onea them kids wit’ them newfangled phones and them text messagin’ fingers.
Is there a Detroit Tigers Nation? Our voting power will tell.