Sunday, April 17, 2011
Vic Rodriguez, 1985 Donruss #535
Vic Rodriguez had an unusual career. The Orioles signed him in 1977, before his 16th birthday. He hit for average almost everywhere he went, and finally debuted in the majors as a September callup in 1984, his eighth pro season. In each of his first three games with the O's, he appeared only to pinch run (twice for Ken Singleton, once for Rick Dempsey). On September 18, he replaced Rich Dauer at second base in the midst of a blowout and got a pair of at-bats, singling in the second for his first hit. Two days later he got his first start and pounded the Red Sox with two doubles and a single in five at-bats. He scored twice and drove in a run in the 15-1 laugher over Boston. In 11 games as a rookie, he hit .412 (7-for-17) with 3 doubles and a pair of RBI.
The following February, the Birds dealt Rodriguez to the Padres for third baseman Fritzie Connally. Vic soon became accustomed to AAA, spending time with affiliates of the Padres, Cardinals, Twins, Phillies, Marlins, and Red Sox over the next 11 seasons. The only time he reappeared in the big leagues was July of 1989 - nearly 5 full seasons past his brief stint with the Orioles. He collected 5 hits in 11 at-bats with Minnesota (.455), including another couple of doubles. So despite the fact that he hit .295 over the course of 19 minor league seasons, Vic got just 17 games of major league experience. At least he made the most of it; there are very few people who can say that they had a .429 batting average and .697 slugging percentage as a big leaguer.