Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez, who excelled as one of the baseball's all-time catching greats in 12+ seasons with the club, has been elected as the 16th member of the Texas Rangers Baseball Hall of Fame, it was announced today.
Rodriguez was selected by a committee comprised of Texas Rangers officials, media members, and members of the team's Hall of Fame. He will be inducted into the Rangers Hall of Fame during pre-game ceremonies on Saturday, July 20 before the Rangers 7:05 p.m. game with the Baltimore Orioles.
Rodriguez will also be honored at the 2013 Dr Pepper Hall of Fame Luncheon on Friday, July 19 at the Omni Hotel in Fort Worth. Tickets are now on sale at texasrangers.com or by calling 817-436-5933. Rodriguez will be joined by other members of the Rangers Baseball Hall of Fame at the luncheon. Net proceeds benefit the Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation.
Signed by Texas as an amateur free agent in 1988, the native of Vega Baja, Puerto Rico batted .304 with 217 homers and 842 RBI in 1507 career games as a Ranger. He is second in club history in hits (1747), doubles (352), and multi-hit games (490), ranks third in at bats (5754), triples (28), and homers, and places fourth in games, runs (866), RBI, total bases (2806), and extra base hits (597).
Rodriguez was the 1999 American League Most Valuable Player, when he batted .332 with 35 homers and 113 RBI as he helped lead the Rangers to the third of three consecutive A.L. West Division titles. His 1999 performance remains the only time that a catcher has posted minimums of a .330 average, 35 homers, 110 RBI, and 110 runs scored in a single season. Rodriguez hit .300 or better in each of his final eight seasons with the Rangers (1995-2002).
Rodriguez, who made his major league debut with Texas on June 20, 1991 at the age of 19, had a career average of .296 with 311 home runs and 1332 RBI in 2543 games with the Rangers (1991-2002; 2009), Marlins (2003), Tigers (2004-08), Yankees (2008), Astros (2009), and Nationals (2010-11). He joins Hank Aaron, Barry Bonds, George Brett, and Stan Musial as the only players in major league history with career minimums of a .295 batting average, 2800 hits, 550 doubles, 300 home runs, and 1300 RBI.
The all-time major league leader with 2427 games caught, Rodriguez earned an all-time record 13 Rawlings Gold Gloves for his defensive work behind the plate, including 10 in a row with the Rangers from 1992-2001 while throwing out nearly 42% of runners attempting to steal in his career. The right-handed hitter batted .300 or better in ten different seasons with five years of 20+ home runs. Rodriguez is a 14-time All-Star who started a major league record 12 Midsummer classics, including nine straight with Texas from 1993-2001.
Signed as a free agent by Florida after the 2002 season, he batted .297 and drove in 85 runs for the World Champion Marlins and was the MVP of the NLCS. He played in his second World Series with Detroit in 2006. Rodriguez was acquired by the Rangers from Houston in August 2009 and played in 28 games the rest of that season. He concluded his career with two seasons in Washington, hitting .218 in 44 games in 2011, when he spent nearly two months on the disabled list with a strained oblique muscle.
Rodriguez announced his retirement as an active player after a 21-year All-Star career on April 23, 2012 at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington and was honored in a ceremony that evening prior to the Rangers game with the New York Yankees. He re-joined the Rangers as Special Assistant to the General Manager/Instructor/Ambassador in February. In that role, he assists the Rangers Baseball Operations group in a number of areas, including amateur, professional, and international scouting, player instruction on the major and minor league level, and talent evaluation. He is also involved in community and marketing endeavors on behalf of the club.
Beginning with the 2009 inductions, a selection committee meets to consider individuals for the Hall of Fame based on their playing contributions in every odd year. In even years, individuals in a non-playing capacity are considered for induction.
The Texas Rangers Hall of Fame plaques are located in the Rangers Hall of Fame exhibit, in the space previously occupied by the Legends of the Game Baseball Museum.