Pudge elected to Rangers Hall of Fame

Pudge elected to Rangers Hall of Fame

Pudge elected to Rangers Hall of Fame

Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez, a superstar catcher for the Rangers for more than a decade, was elected to the Texas Rangers Baseball Hall of Fame on Friday.

Rodriguez, who broke into the Majors with the Rangers in 1991 at age 19, earned American League Most Valuable Player honors with the club in 1999 and won the first 10 of his 13 career Gold Glove Awards while playing 13 seasons for Texas. He batted .304 with 217 homers and 842 RBIs in 1,507 games with the Rangers and ranks second in club history in hits and doubles, third in homers and fourth in runs and RBIs.

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 pregame ceremonies on Saturday, July 20, before the Rangers' 7:05 p.m. CT game against the Orioles.

"It means a lot to me," Rodriguez said. "I appreciate it. It is a great honor for me. I feel that a big part of my career and my success was here. The Rangers gave me the opportunity to become a professional baseball player. To be in the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame is a great honor."

Rodriguez also will be honored at the 2013 Dr Pepper Hall of Fame Luncheon on Friday, July 19, at the Omni Hotel in Fort Worth. Tickets for that event are on sale at texasrangers.com or by calling 817-436-5933. Rodriguez will be joined there by other members of the Rangers Baseball Hall of Fame. Net proceeds will benefit the Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation.

In winning MVP honors and leading the Rangers to a third consecutive AL West title in 1999, he became the only catcher in Major League history to post at least a .330 average, 35 homers, 110 RBIs and 110 runs in a single season.

"My best memory is all the years I played here, I played with great players," Rodriguez said. "I played with Nolan Ryan and Julio Franco … every year I played at the Major League level, we put a better team on the field. Good moments, good players, great teams."

Rodriguez, who also played for the Marlins, Tigers, Yankees, Astros and Nationals over a 21-year career, is one of only five players to have at least a .295 average, 2,800 hits, 550 doubles, 300 homers and 1,300 RBIs. The others are Hank Aaron, Barry Bonds, George Brett and Stan Musial. All except Bonds are members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Rodriguez, a native of Puerto Rico, is the all-time leader in games caught with 2,427, his 13 Gold Gloves are a record and he started a record 12 All-Star Games among the 14 in which he appeared.

Rodriguez, who joined the Rangers as special assistant to the general manager/instructor/ambassador in February, is the 16th inductee in the Rangers Baseball Hall of Fame. The selection committee meets to consider players in odd-numbered years and non-players in even-numbered years.

"I'm enjoying what I'm doing," Rodriguez said. "I'm extremely happy that I came back. I have been having a great time. It's great to be back in Texas. Hopefully it's the beginning of a long time being here."

John Schlegel is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.