Yesterday, Ivan “Pudge” Rodríguez officially retired from Major League Baseball after playing for a remarkable 21 years. According to Baseball Reference, he finishes his career with more wins above replacement than any catcher except for Johnny Bench.

This was the scene from Texas where he officially announced his retirement last night.

Because for the most part, people are very stupid, Rodríguez’s retirement will have less to do with celebrating the career of one of the best catchers to ever play the game, and a whole lot more to do with people debating whether or not he deserves to be in the Hall of Fame because of steroid allegations.

Yes, Pudge was one of the many players named in Jose Canseco’s controversial book. In Juiced, Canseco claims that he personally injected Rodríguez with anabolic steroids during their time as teammates on the Rangers. Of course, the allegations were strenuously denied by Rodríguez who said he was “in shock” over the idea that he would be accused of cheating.

Four years later, when asked by a reporter whether his name was included in the infamous list of 104 players who tested positive for steroids during MLB’s 2003 survey tests, the Puerto Rican catcher said, “Only God knows.”

In baseball circles, this is the equivalent of hard evidence and a confession.

Let’s not fall into the debate trap. Pudge was far too good for that.

Over the course of his career, he played for the Texas Rangers (where he won the AL MVP in 1999), Florida Marlins (where he won a World Series in 2003), Detroit Tigers (where he played in the World Series in 2006), New York Yankees, Houston Astros and Washington Nationals.

In 2009, Rodríguez set a Major League record by catching his 2,227th game, passing Carlton Fisk for the most ever. He retires with the best caught stealing percentage of any catcher to ever play Major League Baseball, an incredible 45.68%

For more on what Pudge meant to Rangers fans, check out Lone Star Ball’s write up:

I remember the same things you all remember. The paranoia for opponents anticipating throws behind runners at any base, any time. The lightning quick feet. The fist-pump. The smile. The inside-out swing. The hush before the roar of the Arlington Stadium crowd as soon as somebody was foolish enough to think they could take second base. Pudge Rodriguez was an event. He was appointment viewing. He was a spectacle. Pudge always made it special to be a Rangers fan when it often wasn’t.

Before there was the greatest era of Rangers baseball that we are enjoying these days, the greatest era of Rangers baseball was the Pudge years. From the end of Arlington Stadium era, which closed the books on Nolan Ryan’s playing days, until 2002, when he left to win his ring in Florida, the Rangers appeared in the postseason for their first three times during Pudge’s peak. The Rangers wouldn’t return to the postseason after he left until the 2010 season.

And The Rest

Moneyball. It died again. [Baseball Nation]

The DJF podcast is available for yet another week. [DJF]

The Detroit Tigers offense isn’t as offensive as people thought it would be. This reminds me of Freddy Got Fingered. [Detroit Free Press]

The New York Yankees of old looked new again against the Texas Rangers last night. [It's About The Money Stupid]

The importance of Andy Pettitte, and it’s not about the Roger Clemens perjury trial. [River Avenue Blues]

The importance of Andy Pettitte, and it is about the Roger Clemens perjury trial. [ESPN]

Daisuke Matsusaka pitched his first rehab start last night. [Over The Monster]

Somebody stole Derek Lowe’s World Series ring. Let’s cut to the chase, it was probably Bobby Valentine. [Red Sox Blog]

Baseball did quite a good job of designing the perfect nervous breakdown for Red Sox fans this past weekend. [Baseball Prospectus]

Thankfully, there are multiple reasons to give Albert Pujols a lot of money. [Baseball Prospectus]

Jesus Montero isn’t quite living up to expectations in Seattle. [Lookout Landing]

If you live in the Boston area and you’re interested in constantly reminding your neighbours of your arrested development, boy are you in luck. [DIY Network]

The Milwaukee Brewers’ struggles against right handed pitching gets well documented. [Disciples Of Uecker]

How do you solve a problem like Francisco Liriano? [Sports Wire]

Remember the sweet uniforms that the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox wore on Friday afternoon for the special Fenway Park anniversary game? Well, Chris Creamer has the details on the vintage kits. [Getting Blanked]

Finally, in case you missed it, yesterday’s Getting Blanked Show was something of a requiem for Scott Rolen’s career. Oh, happy day. [Getting Blanked]