Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez became the first former Nationals player (2005-present) to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame on Wednesday. He was inducted in his first year of eligibility, marking the 52nd first-ballot hall of famer in history.
Rodriguez, who was the first free agent signed by current Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo, played the final two seasons of his career with Washington in 2010-11. During his time in D.C. he hit .254 six homers and 68 RBI. Pudge's greatest contribution to the Nationals came from his leadership and work ethic. He guided Stephen Strasburg through his rookie season and also helped develop Wilson Ramos so he could pass the torch to him.
During his 21-year career, Pudge made 14 all-star teams, won 13 gold gloves, won seven silver slugger awards, led his league in caught-steeling percentage nine times, and was named American League MVP in 1999 with the Texas Rangers. He became a World Series champion in 2003 with the Florida Marlins. Pudge's 13 gold gloves are the most ever by a catcher, and his 2,844 career hits are the most ever by a player who appeared in 50 percent or more of their career games as a catcher.
In addition to Rodriguez, former Montreal Expos great Tim Raines was inducted to the Hall of Fame. Raines is the franchise leader (Expos/Nationals) in walks (793), runs (947), stolen bases (635) and triples (82). Raines was an all-star seven times and he won a silver slugger in 1986 with the Expos. He is the only player in MLB history with at least 100 triples, 150 homers and 600 RBI in a career, and the only player to steal at least 70 bases in six consecutive seasons.
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The Nationals visited several Washington D.C.-area little league baseball teams on Saturday before their afternoon game against the Padres.
The Nats’ Youth Baseball Uniform Program enables the team to get involved in their community. In addition to visiting local youth teams, the Nationals give all each player a jersey, a hat and the opportunity to come to a game at Nats Park.
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The goal of the program is to “breakdown and minimize financial barriers that can prevent kids from playing baseball.”
Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman and Max Scherzer were among the 10 Nats who went on the community visits.
Harper at one point encouraged kids not to settle for losing, saying “as much as they might tell you it’s okay you lost - no.”
Giving back to the community has always been important for the Washington Nationals, and all the players - from little leaguers to major leaguers - seem to enjoy it.
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Bryce Harper had been in a little bit of a slump heading into Friday's game against the Padres, but in the seventh inning, he got back to what he does best.
With a full count and a runner aboard, Harper launched an absolute bomb that landed in the third deck down the right field line at Nationals Park. That means a new seat will be painted red where the ball landed.
Check out the blast for yourself:
It was the 15th homer of the year for Harper, which leads the National League.
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