Remembering the First Royal All-Star: Ellie Rodriguez

The first player to represent the Kansas City Royals was Ellie Rodriguez, a backup catcher for the American League in 1969.

On the day the 1969 All-Star game was played, Rodriguez was a .261/.342/.344 hitter. Um, ok.  Are we missing something? Well, he was a catcher and it was the late 1960s... and... yea, that was still a bad line. Rodriguez was in his second season in the Majors and his first season as a Royal. He also ended up randomly making the All-Star team in 1972 as a Brewer. Well, then. (His stats are after the jump.)

Year Age Tm PA BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+
1964 18 OAK-min 223 .332 .332 .484 .816
1965 19 NYY-min 342 .272 .272 .354 .626
1966 20 NYY-min 372 .233 .309 .304 .614
1967 21 NYY-min 343 .246 .322 .282 .604
1968 22 NYY-min 151 .291 .396 .370 .766
1968 22 NYY 27 .208 .296 .208 .505 58
1969 23 KCR 308 .236 .333 .296 .629 78
1970 24 KCR 267 .225 .312 .290 .602 68
1971 25 MIL 380 .210 .311 .257 .568 64
1972 26 MIL 422 .285 .382 .352 .734 123
1973 27 MIL 350 .269 .376 .303 .680 97
1974 28 CAL 485 .253 .373 .357 .730 117
1975 29 CAL 293 .235 .380 .301 .681 102
1976 30 LAD 90 .212 .400 .212 .612 80
1977 31 PIT-min 163 .224 .356 .313 .669
9 Seasons 2622 .245 .356 .308 .664 94
162 Game Avg. 548 .245 .356 .308 .664 94
MIL (3 yrs) 1152 .255 .357 .306 .663 95
KCR (2 yrs) 575 .231 .323 .293 .617 73
CAL (2 yrs) 778 .246 .376 .337 .712 112
LAD (1 yr) 90 .212 .400 .212 .612 80
NYY (1 yr) 27 .208 .296 .208 .505 58
AL (8 yrs) 2532 .246 .354 .311 .665 94
NL (1 yr) 90 .212 .400 .212 .612 80
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/9/2011.

 

The 1969 Royals were a run of the mill bad team. They didn't lose 100 games, but when you look at their roster, you don't see many strong performances. I suppose taking a random catcher -- in what looks like a weak era for American League catchers -- makes as much sense as anything else. Mike Fiore was probably the team's best hitter, but he was hardly an All-Star caliber first baseman.

But back to Ellie Rodriguez. He didn't play in the game and ended up hitting poorly in the second half, dragging down his season line to an even more meager .236/.333/.296. 

Now, Rodriguez was Puerto Rican, and I'm not sure real baseball men have ever considered many Puerto Ricans real leaders like Jeff Francoeur or Jason Kendall. Whispers surrounded Pudge Rodriguez for the first decade of his career: he was selfish, he couldn't call a good game, etc. Maybe that wasn't the case, I really don't know. Maybe he had a great defensive reputation. Maybe the AL just wanted a third catcher to have around.

Anyway, he was our first All-Star.

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