Photo by Minnesota Twins
By Robert Dominguez
He’s got a World Series ring and a permanent place in Cooperstown, but someday soon Ivan Rodriguez may add another baseball rarity to his résumé: Getting to see his progeny play in the Major Leagues.
Rodriguez, whose 21-year career as one of baseball’s best-ever backstops recently made him a first-ballot Hall of Famer, is also the proud papa of Dereck Rodriguez, a 24-year-old prospect with the Minnesota Twins currently playing in the Caribbean Series for the Puerto Rican team.
As a pitcher.
The elder Rodriguez apparently doesn’t mind what position Dereck plays as long as he makes the best of it. As the Caribbean Series — which every winter pits teams of professional Latino players from Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Mexico and Venezuela — got underway in Culiacán, Mexico, this weekend, Ivan made sure to let his feelings known.
The Manatí, P.R.-born catcher tweeted “Muy orgulloso de ti hijo, te amo y DTB…very proud of you son, keep working hard God bless you,” complete with a #Prouddad hashtag.
It was a touching moment for Dereck, who told MLB.com that he was with his father when Rodriguez got the news that he had been elected to the Hall.
“When he finally got the call, it was something amazing to see after all of the sacrifices that he made and the sacrifices we made as family with him traveling,” Dereck said.
Drafted by the Twins in 2011 out of high school, Dereck is actually a converted outfielder who hit .216 before the front office decided to turn him into a pitcher. The move paid off, with the young righty earning 2015 Pitcher of the Year honors in the Appalachian League thanks to a 6-3, 2.85 ERA season.
He’s still considered a raw talent with upside after an inconsistent 2016 season in A-ball, but Rodriguez is optimistic.
“Hopefully, I can go in and compete for a Double-A spot, and then after that, we’ll see what happens,” he told MLB.com.
“Everybody’s goal is to make it to the big leagues at the end of the year. I can control what happens on the field and leave the front office to their decisions.”
Robert Dominguez, a senior editor at the New York Daily News, is also the managing editor of Viva, The News’ Latino lifestyle magazine, and is the co-author of “Bronx Bummers: The Unofficial History of the New York Yankees’ Bad Boys, Blunders and Brawls.” firstname.lastname@example.org