Ellie Rodriguez had sort of lousy timing when it came to the Major League teams he played with.

Consider …

  • Rodriguez broke in with the 1968 Yankees, right as Mickey Mantle was wrapping up and four years removed from the Bombers’ last title run for awhile.
  • In 1969, the young catcher was on to the Royals as an expansion pick.
  • By the time the Royals knocked off their first winning season two years later, though, Rodriguez was with the Brewers, another 1969 expansion team (originally the Seattle Pilots).
  • Before the Brewers could even bring Hank Aaron back to Milwaukee, they traded Rodriguez to the Angels.
  • Finally, the Halos sent Rodriguez to the Dodgers, where he finished his career in 1976 … a year before L.A. made it back to the playoffs.

So, Rodriguez seemed to have a knack for missing out on a team’s good years by just a smidge. Along the way, though, he crafted a nine-year career that included two All-Star appearances.

And … well, Rodriguez proved to have great timing when it came to cardboard.

I mean, he was born at just the right time and pushed his way into the Major Leagues in just the right decade to land in wax packs during what just may have been the glory years for catcher cards.

Sure, catchers have an innate advantage when it comes to pasteboard drama, thanks to their warrior gear and always being in the hub of the action.

But in the 1970s, when Topps was the only game in town, catchers seemed to get extra special treatment. I mean, that 1976 Topps Johnny Bench card is a gosh-darn legend in its own right.


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Thing is, though, the 1976 Topps Ellie Rodriguez isn’t far behind:


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And that’s not all, as Ellie landed one of those horizontal deals in 1973 that shows so many players, you’re not sure whose card it is, but that makes you want to be at the ballpark, right now:


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Rodriguez looked pretty darn good on the more psychedelic 1972 Topps and 1975 issues, too, in his posed crouch glory:

Heck, even Ellie’s relatively mundane 1977 Topps offering was special, considering it was a career-capper, issued after Rodriguez had played his last game.


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So, yeah, you might not feel too confident in your team’s immediate fortunes with Ellie Rodriguez on the roster, but you knew for darn sure that you were going to see some sweet, sweet catcher cardboard.

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