Pudge Rodriguez elected to Rangers Hall of Fame

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Catcher Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez will be 16th member of the Rangers Baseball Hall of Fame, the club announced on Friday afternoon.

Rodriguez will be the lone inductee this year. The pregame ceremony will take place before the Rangers host the Baltimore Orioles on Sat., July 20.

"It means a lot to me," Rodriguez said on a conference call. "I appreciate it. It was a great honor for me when I heard the news from Nolan (Ryan) and Jim Sundberg and the Rangers' organization. It's big part of my career and success that I started here. The Rangers gave me the opportunity to be a professional baseball player."

Rodriguez played the first 12 of 21 major league seasons with the Rangers. He also spent the 2009 season with Texas. He had a career .296 batting average with 311 home runs. Known for his big arm behind the plate, Rodriguez threw out 46 percent of the runners who tried to steal against him.

With the Rangers, Pudge is second in club history in hits (1747), doubles (352), and multi-hit games (490). He ranks third in at-bats (5754), triples (28) and homers (217). He's fourth in games (1,507), runs (866), RBI (842), total bases (2,806) and extra base hits (597).

Rodriguez helped the Rangers finally get to the postseason, winning their first division title in 1996. They also the American League West in 1998 and '99.

"Each year we put a better team on the field," Rodriguez said. "Making the playoffs was exciting."

Rodriguez will be the team's 16th inductee. He'll be joining Charlie Hough, Johnny Oates, Nolan Ryan, Jim Sundberg, Buddy Bell, Ferguson Jenkins, Tom Vandergriff, Mark Holtz, John Wetteland, Rusty Greer, Toby Harrah, Ruben Sierra, Tom Grieve, Kenny Rogers and Eric Nadel.

Rodriguez may be the all-time Rangers' fan favorite, even topping Ryan, because of his passion for the game and his off-the-chart skills behind the plate.

"The fans were great to me," Rodriguez said. "I respect them very much. Every time I come here, it feels like home for me. The support for me. It's great especially here. As a visitor, Detroit, very warm standing ovation, it was a great time."