DETROIT TIGERS HISTORY
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Aurelio Rodriguez

Aurelio (Ituarte Jr.) Rodriguez

Born: 12/28/1947 in Cananea, Mexico
Died: 9/23/2000 in Detroit, MI USA
Bats: R   Throws: R
Height: 5.8   Weight: 180 lb.
Aurelio Rodriguez of the Detroit Tigers
Tiger Years
1971 — 1979

1972 American League East Champion
Detroit Tigers jersey #4

PRIMARY POSITION

3B

All-Time
Tigers Ranking

#123   Goose Goslin
#124   Aurelio Rodriguez
#125   Willie Hernandez
All rankings

Player Bio | Stats

In 1976, Tiger third baseman Aurelio Rodriguez ended Brooks Robinson's string of 16 consecutive Gold Gloves at the hot corner. Rodriguez was brilliant defensively: quick with his feet, excellent range to his left, and accurate with his throws.

"[He] has the strongest throwing arm I've ever seen for an infielder," Billy Martin said of Rodriguez during his time at the helm of the Tigers. Other Detroit skippers were similarly impressed.

"Show me another player who can throw it [like] him," marveled Ralph Houk.

"[I had a] guy in Cincinnati who could throw, [Davey] Concepcion," Sparky Anderson said when he arrived in Detroit in 1979. "[But] this guy has a rocket."

That rocket earned a lot of attention for Rodriguez, a native of Mexico who debuted with the Angels as a 19-year old in 1967 based solely on his defensive skills. The Tigers snatched him from the Senators after the 1970 season in a blockbuster trade that also netted the Tigers Ed Brinkman and Joe Coleman, and sent troubled Denny McLain to Washington.

Rodriguez stepped in to the third base job and though he was inconsistent with the bat, his defensive play and that Howitzer attached to his right shoulder kept him in the lineup. In 1978, the 30-year old Rodriguez went into the season as part of a platoon arrangement for Houk. He shared time with young Phil Mankowski, who was seen as the heir apparent at third base. But Rodriguez, who was affectionately called "Chi Chi" by teammates, had other ideas. Under the tutelage of batting coach Gates Brown, Rodriguez had the best stretch of his career at the plate, and as late as May 28 he was leading the league in batting.

But it was his arm that made Rodriguez famous. Perhaps no other player in his era was known for one part of his body than Rodriguez. His famous throws across the diamond caught the attention of teammates and opponents. Later, when Martin was back in New York working for George Steinbrenner, he urged The Boss to acquire Chi Chi. Rodriguez served as an able backup to Yankee third baseman Graig Nettles for two seasons.

Rodriguez had a simple explanation for his great throwing arm. "God gave it to me, and I just try to do what I can with it," Rodriguez said. For 17 seasons and more than 2,000 games, Rodriguez, a .237 hitter with little power, did everything he could with his right arm. And it was quite a lot. He still holds the Tigers all-time record for most games played at the hot corner.

Career Record

YearTeam LgGABRH2B3BHRRBISBCSBBSOAVGOBPSLGGDPHBPSHSFIBB
1967CALAL2913014313118102210.2380.2500.30010100
1968CALAL7622314541011160217360.2420.2990.30961102
1969CALAL159561471301727495332880.2320.2720.3071324711
1970CALAL1763617220701360.2700.3130.36521000
1970WSAAL14254764135315197615537810.2470.3000.426177055
1971DETAL1546046815330715394627930.2530.2880.401143326
1972DETAL15360165142235135623281040.2360.2720.356142714
1973DETAL160555461232739583131850.2220.2660.330103910
1974DETAL159571541272355492026700.2220.2550.306161552
1975DETAL1515074712420613601130630.2450.2860.38580811
1976DETAL128480401151328500419610.2400.2670.325191953
1977DETAL96306306714110321116360.2190.2570.36980111
1978DETAL134385401022527430119370.2650.3030.39593521
1979DETAL10634327871805360211400.2540.2770.35091530
1980SDPNL8917573572213116260.2000.2270.29750200
1980NYYAL52164143661314007350.2200.2510.323701101
1981NYYAL27524182028002100.3460.3700.50010100
1982CHWAL11825724621513310011350.2410.2750.34271800
1983BALAL4567080002000130.1190.1300.11901110
1983CHWAL222014101100030.2000.2000.40010100

Totals2017661161215702874612464835313249430.2370.2750.35116727823437
Per 162162531491262341052322676132733
DET124143524171040193318542313192075890.2390.2740.35610714522118

Postseason Batting Record

YearRound TeamLgGABRH2B3BHRRBISBCSBBSOAVGOBPSLGGDPHBPSHSFIBB
1972ALCSDETAL51600000000220.0000.1110.00000002
1980ALCSNYYAL2602100000000.3330.3330.50000000
1981ALCSNYYAL10000000000000000
1981WSNYYAL41215000000120.4170.4620.41700001
1983ALCSCHWAL20000000000000000

Totals143417100000340.2060.2700.23500003

Hitting Streaks

GamesYearTeamLgFromToABHR2B3BHRRBIBBSOSB
161968CALA7/208/36427