Happy Birthday K-Rod

By MJ Lloyd

Where does the time go? Francisco Rodriguez turns 30-years-old today. Known affectionately as K-Rod, Rodriguez will always hold a special place in my heart after his breakout playoff performance in 2002. Frankie debuted for the Angels on September 18, 2002 as a 20-year-old and struck out 13 in 5.2 regular season innings.

Through one of MLB’s loopholes, Rodriguez was added to the Angels 2002 playoff roster and the rest is history. Rodriguez wasn’t perfect but he was electric as he earned the nickname K-Rod by striking out 28 over 18.2 innings with a 1.93 ERA. Rodriguez won five of the 11 games he pitched.

I’ll never forget watching K-Rod strikeout Rich Aurilia, Jeff Kent and Benito Santiago in the top of the 8th inning of Game 7. Some of that was due to watching the game on a 19 inch TV in a corner of the back bar at The Crazy Horse Too in Las Vegas. That’s probably a story for another time though.

K-Rod set the single season saves record with 62 in 2008 with the Angels before leaving for free agency and the Mets. Since it is his birthday, I’ll just skip over the past few years. Rodriguez accepted arbitration with the Brewers this offseason and will head back to Milwaukee to setup for John Axford.

Amazingly, for a reliever, Rodriguez has three top five Cy Young finishes and a top six MVP in his career. But it’s the magic from the 2002 World Series championship that we’ll never forget. For that, the Hangout wishes Frankie a very happy 30th birthday.