The only dispute about Ivan Rodriguez making the Hall of Fame five years from now is whether or not his used performance inhancing drugs. The strikes he has against his are his association with Jose Canseco in the beginning of his career and the fact that he played a significant part of his career with Rafael Palmeiro. To me, a case could be made that he possibly used, but he has never been implicated. There has been suspicion, but no actual proof. Yes, he may have benefited from no drug testing for a duration of his career, but he also had respectable seasons up until 2009.
There is very little numbers-wise that would keep Rodriguez out of the Hall. He played in 2427 games as a catcher, most all time. Offensively, he finished with a .296 career average and 311 HR, 1332 RBI. The RBI total ranks him 87th all time and 4th among catchers, trailing only Yogi Berra, Johnny Bench and Mike Piazza. He finished with 2844 hits, 44th all time and 1st among catchers. He had 572 2Bs, 21st all time and 1st among catchers and scored 1354 runs (102nd all time and 1st among catchers). He also accumulated a 67.3 career WAR, which puts him 96th all time and tied for 2nd among catchers with Carlton Fisk, trailing only Bench.
There has not been a better defensive catcher to play in this game. Over the course of his career, Ivan managed to throw out 661 of 1447 attempted base stealers, an unbelievable 45.7 %. He managed to bring home 13 Gold Glove awards and was an 8 time Silver Slugger winner as a catcher. His 167 total zone runs saved as a catcher is a record that will probably not be broken. Only three other catchers have finished with over 100 in their careers; Jim Sundberg (114), Bob Boone (107) and Gary Carter (106). In case you were wondering, Yadier Molina has 83 at this point. As great as Molina is behind the plate, it will be a tall order for him to more than double his total during the rest of his career.
Numbers wise, Rodriguez is first ballot worthy. The next couple of years of Hall of Fame voting will be interesting. Will any leeway be given to any player who may have used steroids? What about the players that some may suspect, but were never implicated? Next year, players like Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa, Curt Schilling, Mike Piazza and Craig Biggio are on the ballot for the first time. Outside of Sosa, who will be penalized along with the ranks of Mark McGwire and Palmeiro, all of the before mentioned candidates have a chance of making the Hall at some point. Bonds and Clemens will probably not be voted in within the first couple of years, but very possibly could make it in eventually. Schilling, Piazza and Biggio could be held off the first season, but odds are they will get the most votes among first time eligibles.
Perhaps the writers will change their feelings in five years. If not, maybe Rodriguez will have to deal with some of the venom that a lot of others have to deal with. When it comes down to the best catchers in the history of this game, there are Bench, Berra, Fisk, Carter, Dickey, Cochrane and Piazza. Rodriguez is in this group. Outside of Piazza, who is eligible for the first time next year, all the others in this group are in Cooperstown already. Unless he is proven to have taken steroids during his career, the next time after Monday Ivan (Pudge) Rodriguez will put on a Texas Rangers cap is when he is enshrined into Baseball's Hall of Fame, where he belongs.