Depending on the result of Game 4 of the American League Championship Series on Wednesday night, former Detroit Tigers catcher Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez could take the mound on Thursday to throw out the ceremonial first pitch in Game 5, according to George Sipple of The Detroit Free Press.
Rodriguez played the better part of five seasons in Detroit from 2004 to 2008, and made four All-Star teams during his tenure in Motown. Along with winning three of his unprecedented 13 career Gold Gloves behind the plate with the Tigers, Pudge was especially vital for being one of the few free agents at the time to willingly choose Detroit as his destination. Rodriguez's decision to play for the Tigers helped to set a blueprint for other free agents in future years, and he was also a huge boost to the growing faction of Latin-born players that began to emerge in the organization at the time.
Whether the retired catcher will be afforded the chance to toss out Thursday's first pitch or not, it's hard to believe Rodriguez wouldn't be treated to a strong ovation from the thousands of fans in attendance who remember him quite well. Even though he only stuck around five seasons in Detroit, Pudge still left a significant imprint on fans both on and off the field.