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.)
|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|
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.