Born in Puerto Rico, Rodriguez grew up in the Bronx idolizing Yogi Berra but played
just nine games with the Yankees. He was an agile catcher with a strong arm. With
the Angels in 1974 he tied an AL record with 19 putouts in a nine-inning game and
set another with 21 in an extra-inning game as Nolan Ryan struck out 19 each time.
On June 1, 1975 he caught Ryan's fourth no-hitter.
FROM THE BASEBALL CHRONOLOGY
»April 9, 1969:
The Royals, who debuted with a 4–3 win over the Twins in 12 innings, travel further to win by the same score in 17 frames. It's a game for steals. With the Royals Ellie Rodriguez at bat, Bob Oliver tries to steal 2B. Twins C John Roseboro throws him out, but has to push Rodriguez's bat out of the way. After several conferences between the umpires, Oliver is sent back to 1B and Rodriguez is called out for interference. On the Twins side, with the score tied 2–2 in the 5th inning, and Roger Nelson pitching, Rod Carew steals home for the first time in his career. Billy Martin and Carew had worked on the play in spring training, where Carew had twice swiped home. Carew will be 6–6 on attempts before being caught at home.
»July 9, 1969:
With the Twins hosting Kansas City, the Royals Bob Oliver attempts to steal 2B with Ellie Rodriguez at bat. Catcher John Roseboro pushes Rodriguez's bat out of the way and his throw to 2B nails Oliver. After huddling eight minutes with his umpire crew, home plate ump John Rice declares Rodriguez out for interference and orders Oliver back to 1B, though (as author Rich Marazzi points out) the rule states that an out nullifies an interference call. The Royals win, 4–3. Killebrew accounts for all the Twins scoring with a homer.