ARLINGTON -- Former pitcher Kenny Rogers, who became the 14th person elected to the Rangers Hall of Fame, was honored on Friday at the annual luncheon. He will be officially inducted into the Rangers Hall of Fame on Saturday. The luncheon gave Rogers a chance to reminisce on 12 professional seasons spent in Arlington, along with seven additional years in the Minors. Rogers was drafted in the 39th round of the 1982 Draft as a pitcher, a position that he said he hadn't played since Little League.
"The scout that was assigned to me had to have had a crystal ball to know what was going to happen," Rogers said. "That was the most amazing scouting job ever, because he was looking at a guy with not even a speck of knowledge of what he was talking about. I wasn't even a pitcher. He saw me play right field one night, and then saw me play shortstop for a few innings." As a "130-pound, 5-foot-9" kid, Rogers was then thrust into professional baseball. He was thankful that the Rangers did not rush him on his way up. "The Rangers' organization was the perfect organization to me," Rogers said. "It afforded me the chance to take the time to learn the things that I had to, because I was starting below zero. You can't start with less than I had to be a professional pitcher." It was not always easy for Rogers when he finally reached the Majors as a 24-year-old. He started as a relief pitcher, then gradually shifted into a starting role. "All the roles that I did, which was pretty much everything from mopup man to setup man to starter, they were all different, and they all helped me a lot," Rogers said. "They helped me understand the mentality and the differences of each role, too." When Rogers left to sign with the Yankees before the 1996 season, it appeared that his time with the Rangers was complete, but he signed as a free agent with the Rangers twice more in the later stages of his career -- before the 2000 season and once again before the 2004 season. "Texas was difficult," Rogers said, referring to Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, a notorious hitter's park. "Nobody really comes here, and not anybody ever comes back. I'm about the only person that did that. Tells you how smart I am." Rogers ranks as the Rangers' all-time leader in appearances and ranks second in wins (133) and innings (1,909), while ranking third in games started (252) and strikeouts (1,201).