Photo: Zimbio, San Diego Union Tribune, Latino Baseball Illustration
By Robert Dominguez
It was just another game on just another hot night in Texas between the Lone Star state’s two teams.
But when it was over, a pair of baseball greats on opposite ends of the field had set new career records.
On this day in béisbol, June 17, 2009, as the Houston Astros faced the Texas Rangers in a game that would end with a walk-off win for Texas in the bottom of the ninth, the Astros’ Ivan Rodriguez broke Carlton’ Fisk’s record by catching his 2,227th game of his career.
It was just the latest of many achievements for the Puerto Rican backstop, 37, who would play two more seasons in a 21-year Hall of Fame career.
Meanwhile, the Rangers’ Omar Vizquel reached a huge milestone of his own.
In the bottom of the third in a 3-3 game, the Venezuela native, by then a 42-year-old part-timer and the all-time leader in games played at shortstop, put on a master class in fundamental, old school baseball.
Vizquel hit a ground-ball single up the middle, proceeded to steal second and ended up at third on a bad throw, then scored on a sacrifice fly to put Texas ahead, 4-3.
The single was also the 2,677th hit of his career, tying him with fellow shortstop Luis Aparicio for the most career hits by a Venezuelan player.
Robert Dominguez is co-author of “Bronx Bummers: The Unofficial History of the New York Yankees’ Bad Boys, Blunders and Brawls” and writer of the upcoming “El Salón: The Trials and Triumphs of Baseball’s Latino Hall of Famers.”
Photo Ivan Rodriguez: Brian McElhinny — Under Creative Commons License
Photo Omar Vizquel: Keith Allison on Flickr (Original version) User UCinternational (Crop) — Under Creative Commons License