Lefthanded hurler Arthur Rhodes, who began his career with nine seasons as a member of the Baltimore Orioles, has been selected to his first All-Star Game at the age of 40.
Proving the old adage that quality lefthanders can stick around major league baseball forever, Rhodes has played for six teams since leaving the Orioles following the 1999 season.
Originally selected by the Orioles in the second round of the 1988 MLB Draft, Rhodes made his major league debut with the Birds in 1991.
After serving primarily as a starter for the Orioles during his first four seasons, Rhodes moved exclusively to the bullpen in 1996 and his best seasons corresponded with the playoff appearances by the Orioles in 1996 and 1997. He was 9-1 with a 4.08 ERA in 1996 and the following year actually finished 20th in the American League MVP voting while posting a 10-3 record and 3.02 ERA.
After leaving the Orioles as a free agent, Rhodes performed a similar role for the Seattle Mariners during their playoff runs of the early 2000s. In 2001 he posted an 8-0 record and a 1.72 ERA.
Never a full-time closer, Rhodes registered a career-high nine saves as a member of the Oakland A’s in 2004, but was never able to effectively fill that role.
It looked like Rhodes’ career might be over when the then 37-year-old hurler missed the entire 2007 season while undergoing Tommy John surgery.
However, to the contrary, Rhodes has come back better than ever. He split the 2008 season between Seattle and Florida before signing a two-year deal with the Cincinnati Reds.
In two seasons with the Reds, Rhodes has been a lights out lefthanded reliever and this season has a 3-2 record with an ERA of 1.09, including a streak of 33 straight appearances without allowing an earned run.
What is especially amazing is that he has been able to lift his game during a time of family struggle and tragedy. The family endured the illness and eventual death of their young son Jordan in the winter of 2008.
That Rhodes is finally going to be able to enjoy the limelight of the All-Star Game is a nice cap to a solid career and worthy of congratulations.