Texas Rangers: Ivan Rodriguez

Dallas stars shine at Nowitzki event

June, 21, 2014
6/21/14
10:08
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Dirk NowitzkiAP Photo/LM OteroDirk Nowitzki's White Socks team scored a 17-16 victory in Saturday's charity game.

FRISCO, Texas — The stars were out Saturday night as Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki hosted the 2014 Heroes Celebrity Baseball Game presented by Baylor Medical Center. The game featured stars of the Mavericks and Dallas Cowboys and former Texas Rangers. Nowitzki led his White Socks against the Blue Socks.

Former Dallas Stars center Mike Modano established the game 10 years ago. With the event flagging three years ago, the foundation approached Nowitzki, who has taken over responsibility since. The event benefits the children’s charities of the Dirk Nowitzki Foundation and the Heroes Foundation, established by Mavs owner Mark Cuban.

For the first time, the celebrity baseball game played at Frisco’s Dr Pepper Ballpark sold out -- for which Nowitzki expressed his gratitude.



Here are some of the highlights:

  • Cowboys quarterback/White Socks dugout coach Tony Romo joked during the game that he was dying to play, but head coach Jason Garrett -- who played third base -- wouldn’t let him. Both Garrett and Mavs coach Rick Carlisle joked beforehand that they had a similar dream: That everyone involved would avoid any injuries. Their dream ultimately came true.
  • Nowitzki -- who played first base -- singled in his first at-bat, a line drive up the middle. Nowitzki casually ran backward to first base. He later scored the first run of the game.
  • Jason Witten was caught in a rundown between first and second base during the same inning. He was eventually called out at first but charged into the opposing catcher. No one was injured.
  • Cowboys wide receiver/White Socks center fielder Dez Bryant made a tremendous catch in the top of the fourth inning. Former Rangers catcher Ivan Rodriguez hit a hard pop fly to center, forcing Bryant to retreat. Still trying to catch up to the ball, Bryant leapt as he was running backward and snagged the ball, drawing a roar of applause from the crowd.
  • Between innings, Carlisle joined the Mavs' drum line. As its members were going through their routine, Carlisle grabbed sticks and began banging on each of the drums.
  • Mavericks guard/White Socks second baseman Devin Harris had an eventful sixth inning. He let a ground ball roll between his legs -- then redeemed himself with a running over-the-shoulder catch on the next play.
  • Former Mavericks forward/White Socks infielder Brian Cardinal had the game-winning hit, a bases-clearing two-out double. The fly ball got past a hard-charging Terrell Owens. The White Socks scored seven runs during their comeback in the bottom of the sixth inning.
  • Cardinal and Nowitzki were named co-MVPs of the game. With the 17-16 win, Nowitzki got his first victory in the charity contest. In addition to the 33 runs, the teams combined for 40 hits.

Pudge enters Rangers Hall of Fame

July, 20, 2013
7/20/13
7:54
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez was inducted into the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame before Saturday night's game against the Baltimore Orioles.

Rodriguez was presented with a Hall of Fame plaque in a pregame ceremony. Other Rangers Hall of Fame members on hand were Nolan Ryan, Jim Sundberg, Rusty Greer and John Wetteland.

Sandy Johnson, the scout who signed Rodriguez as a 16-year-old in 1988, was also in attendance. Rodriguez broke into the big leagues as a 19-year-old and caught the future Baseball Hall of Famer Ryan in his second game.

Former owner Brad Corbett, who died last December, was also honored with his family attendance.

Pudge set to be inducted into Rangers HOF

July, 17, 2013
7/17/13
5:37
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The Texas Rangers will induct catcher Ivan Rodriguez as the 16th member of the club’s Hall of Fame in a pregame ceremony Saturday prior to the team’s game against the Baltimore Orioles.

Saturday’s on-field ceremony will begin at 6:25 p.m. First pitch has been moved to 7:15 p.m. to accommodate the event.

Rangers Hall of Famers Nolan Ryan and Rusty Greer, as well as Rodriguez, will speak.

Signed by Texas as an amateur free agent in 1988, Rodriguez 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 MVP, when he batted .332 with 35 homers and 113 RBIs, and he helped lead the Rangers to the three AL West titles in a four-year span. The all-time major league leader with 2427 games caught, Rodriguez earned a record 13 Gold Gloves, including 10 in a row with the Rangers

In addition, another member of the Rangers Hall of Fame, Jim Sundberg will honor the memory of former Rangers owner Brad Corbett, who passed away last December, as part of the ceremonies. Members of Mr. Corbett’s family, as well as former AL and Rangers president Dr. Bobby Brown, will be in attendance.

The weekend will also feature the return of more than 50 former Rangers players, coaches and executives who will participate in one or more of the events. There will be free autograph sessions with the alumni for fans attending the games Friday (5:30-6 p.m.), Saturday (5-5:30 p.m.) and Sunday (4:30-5 p.m.) on the concourse at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. The list of players signing each day will be posted when the Ballpark gates open.

Rangers Rushmore: Nolan, Pudge, Michael, Juan

July, 6, 2013
7/06/13
11:30
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What if you could take a summer vacation to the Mount Rushmore of the Texas Rangers? Whose faces would you see? Here's our Rangers Rushmore. Give us yours.

Nolan Ryan: You could argue that he saved the franchise twice, first as a player and then overseeing the best years in franchise history. Ryan threw two of his no-hitters in a Rangers uniform, and the first ballot Hall of Famer crossed the 300-win and 5,000-strikeout barriers while in Texas. And yes, he also bloodied Robin Ventura, showing his toughness.

Pudge Rodriguez: He'll go into the Rangers Hall of Fame in August after 12 seasons in Texas that included 10 All-Star Game selections, 10 Gold Gloves and an AL MVP Award. Now with the organization as a coach and consultant, Rodriguez remains one of the most popular players in franchise history.

Michael Young: He was the face of the franchise for nearly a decade and the consummate professional. Young had more than 200 hits six times as a Ranger. He played three different positions and made the All-Star team as a shortstop and third baseman. He won an AL batting title and a Gold Glove. And he stuck it out during some dark times for the franchise before finally getting to the postseason the past three seasons. Young is now in Philadelphia, but his career was defined as a Ranger.

Juan Gonzalez: He played for the Rangers for 13 seasons in two different stints. Gonzalez won two AL MVP Awards and helped lead the Rangers to AL West titles in 1996, 1998 and 1999. They were the franchise's first division titles. He led the AL in home runs twice with Texas and has several of the club's offensive records.

Others who could get consideration (in no particular order):

Jon Daniels: He's still writing his legacy in Texas, but he's already the main architect of the franchise's highest point so far -- consecutive World Series appearances in 2010 and 2011. He pulled the trigger on the Cliff Lee deal, showing a willingness to trade highly touted Justin Smoak to do so, and the move was the difference in the Rangers winning their first playoff series.

Ron Washington: He'll end up as the most successful manager in club history whenever his tenure ends. You can fault him for some of his in-game strategy if you choose, but perhaps no team plays for a manager harder than the Rangers do. And when you have a talented team, that can be the difference between winning and losing a pennant. If we could put a blend of Daniels and Washington on Mount Ranger, we'd do it.

Charlie Hough: The knuckleballer was a critical member of the club's rotation for a decade.

Jim Sundberg: He won six straight Gold Gloves from 1976-81 and is among the club's all-time leaders in games played, at-bats, hits and walks. He's a terrific ambassador for the organization.

Tom Vandergriff: Without the former mayor of Arlington, the Rangers wouldn't be in Texas. He helped get Arlington Stadium built in 1965 and lured the Senators to Arlington for baseball to begin here in 1972. He was also a big part of getting Rangers Ballpark in Arlington built in time for the opening of the 1994 season.

Buddy Bell: Three-time Rangers player of the year and winner of six Gold Gloves at third base. Was also a four-time All-Star.

Rusty Greer: Few players were as popular with the fans as Greer, who posted a .305 career average in playing his entire career with Texas.

Tom Grieve: He has been a player, GM and now television analyst for this team. He's known as "Mr. Ranger" for a reason.

Johnny Oates: He managed the club to AL West titles in 1996, 1998 and 1999. His No. 26 jersey is retired, the only Ranger besides Ryan to have that honor.

Note: We could have extended this list of others considered but had to stop at some point.

Give us your four Mount Rangers and why you chose them.

Juan Gonzalez declines induction to Hall

June, 7, 2013
6/07/13
5:10
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The Rangers hoped that Pudge Rodriguez and Juan Gonzalez would go into the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame together.

That won't happen.

PODCAST
Eric Nadel, the radio voice of the Texas Rangers, explains on Galloway & Company the bullpen situation that forced Ron Washington's hand in the Boston finale.

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The Rangers announced Friday that Rodriguez will be inducted as the 16th member of their Hall of Fame on July 20. The selection committee made up of Rangers officials, media members and Hall of Fame members also recommended that Gonzalez go in with his former teammate and fellow Puerto Rican, but Gonzalez declined the honor.

Gonzalez won two American League Most Valuable Player Awards with the Rangers and along with Rodriguez helped the Rangers make the playoffs for the first time in 1996 and again in 1998 and '99. Gonzalez had 437 career home runs, 372 of them with Texas.

Gonzalez was hurt greatly when the Rangers traded him to Detroit after the 1999 season. And even though he returned to the Rangers in 2002 and '03, it wasn't the same and he wasn't close to the same player.

Still, a Rangers Hall of Fame without Gonzalez will be missing one of the great Rangers of all time.

Rodriguez was asked about not going in with Gonzalez during a conference call Friday afternoon.

"Unfortunately it happens," Rodriguez said. "Juan is a great person. He's a great human being. Sometimes we have to respect people's decisions. What he did for the Rangers and the organization is something we're not going to forget."

Pudge and Igor won't get their moment together.

Pudge Rodriguez elected to Rangers Hall of Fame

June, 7, 2013
6/07/13
1:15
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ARLINGTON, Texas -- Catcher Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez will be 16th member of the Rangers Baseball Hall of Fame, the club announced on Friday afternoon.

PODCAST
ESPN senior MLB analyst Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to share his thoughts on the penalty for PEDs and says it's time for the Rangers to move on from Michael Kirkman.

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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."

Jurickson Profar homers in first at-bat

September, 2, 2012
9/02/12
1:01
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Texas Rangers second baseman Jurickson Profar homered in his first major league plate appearance, giving the Rangers a 1-0 lead with a solo shot to start the third inning. Texas added three more to take a 4-0 advantage.

Profar hit a 2-1 pitch from Cleveland Indians starter Zach McAllister out to right at Progressive Field.

Profar was inserted into the lineup Saturday when Ian Kinsler was taken out with stiffness in his lower back. Profar hit .281 with 14 homers and 62 RBIs at Double-A Frisco this season. It's worth noting that he homered in his first at-bat in the Futures Game in Kansas City as part of All-Star week in July.

Profar is the youngest Rangers player to hit a home run, breaking Ivan Rodriguez's mark on Aug. 30, 1991 (Rodriguez was 19 years, 9 months and Profar is 19 years, six months).

ESPN Stats & Information notes that he's the youngest player to hit a home run since Adrian Beltre (19 years, 171 days) on Sept. 25, 1998.

Rapid Reaction: Rangers 5, Indians 3

August, 31, 2012
8/31/12
9:18
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Texas Rangers reliever Koji Uehara allowed two runs in the bottom of the ninth on a Casey Kotchman home run before closer Joe Nathan came in and shut the door on the Cleveland Indians for a 5-3 Rangers' win.

Since the trade: Ryan Dempster made his sixth start with the Rangers since being traded from the Chicago Cubs. He kept the Indians hitless for 3.2 innings. Dempster pitched six innings of two-hit ball, allowing one unearned run with three walks and seven strikeouts.

Stolen away: Ian Kinsler stole second base in the first inning. It’s his first stolen base since August 8.

Running home: One batter after stealing that base, Kinsler scored his 91st run of the season on Adrian Beltre’s RBI single. Kinsler is second in the American League in runs scored.

Walk this way: Josh Hamilton saw 15 pitches in his first two plate appearances. He preceded Beltre’s 82nd RBI with a seven-pitch first-inning walk. Hamilton looked at eight pitches for a one-out walk in the third. He later scored on Michael Young’s infield RBI single.

RISP reward: David Murphy entered Friday’s game batting .389 (28-for-72) with runners in scoring position and 39 RBIs. He drove in the Rangers' third run with a third inning single hit the opposite way to left field.

Extra outs: Shortstop Elvis Andrus was charged with two errors in the fourth inning. He has 15 errors this season. The first was a throwing error on what could have been a double play, but his throw was wild of Dempster covering first base and the ball went out of play. That baserunner wound up scoring on Carlos Santana’s RBI single for a 3-1 Rangers' lead. Elvis mishandled a grounder off the bat of the next batter, Kotchman. This is the first multi-error game for Andrus in his career. Young in 2007 was the last Rangers shortstop to have a two-error game.

More RISP and reward: Kinsler hit his 36th double of the season with two outs in the sixth inning. Murphy had tripled to begin the inning. That Kinsler hit ended a stretch where the Rangers were 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position. The Rangers went up 4-1, and that was the end of the night for Indians starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez.

Frustration: Nelson Cruz was 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. When Esmil Rogers struck him out in the seventh inning, Cruz hammered the barrel of his bat to the ground, and home plate umpire Bill Welke promptly ejected Cruz. The ejection resulted in Hamilton moving from center field to right, and Craig Gentry entered the game to play center.

Four for Friday: For the second consecutive Friday, Beltre had a four-hit game. Those are his only four-hit games of the season. Beltre was 4-for-5 against the Indians with two singles, two doubles and two runs scored. He also drove in one run.

Streaking: Andrus had a single in the ninth inning that extended his hitting streak to 27 games versus the Indians. He tied Ivan Rodriguez for the longest hitting streak by a Ranger against a single opponent. According to Elias Sports Bureau, the 27-game streak for Andrus is the first career-opening hit streak against one opponent since Vladimir Guerrero hit in his first 44 games against the Rangers.

The last time: Prior to tonight’s start, Dempster last faced the Indians in 2006.

Road trip: The Rangers have begun a 10-game road trip which features three at Cleveland, four at Kansas City and three at Tampa Bay.

On deck: The Rangers meet the Indians for the second game of this three-game series at 6:05 p.m. Saturday. RHP Scott Feldman (6-10, 4.95) and RHP Roberto Hernandez (0-3, 7.53) are the starting pitchers. Hernandez is the pitcher formerly known as Fausto Carmona. Rangers Insider begins on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM at 5 p.m., and Rangers Baseball Tonight is at 5:30 on the Texas Rangers ESPN Radio Network.

Who are greatest Rangers of all time?

July, 12, 2012
7/12/12
9:00
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There was nothing easy about coming up with the top 40 Texas Rangers of all time.

Sure, there are some obvious names. But when you're talking about four decades of baseball -- even if the club wasn't in contention most of those years -- it's difficult to pare down the list. So there were some worthy players left off out.

The criteria for determining the top Rangers included the impact made on the field and off. It's weighted heavily toward on-field accomplishments, but the commitment many have made to the Rangers off the field after their playing days were over had to be considered. And you had to wear a uniform to be on the list.

With that in mind, our choice for No. 1 shouldn't surprise anyone. Nolan Ryan not only drove up ticket sales every time he pitched in Arlington in the late 1980s and early 1990s, but he returned to the organization in 2008 and helped bring about the club's rise to one of the American League's powers. It was Ryan who hoisted the AL championship trophy at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington after ALCS wins against the New York Yankees in 2010 and the Detroit Tigers in 2011.

I can't think that No. 2 will bother Rangers fans, either. For many, the first player that comes to mind in a Rangers uniform is Pudge Rodriguez, who made 10 consecutive All-Star appearances, including nine starts. He won 10 straight Gold Gloves and helped anchor a Rangers club that won three AL West crowns in the late 1990s.

But the biggest common thread on our list is the number of current Rangers that appear on it. That's what happens when the club is in the middle of its best years. The key players and manager Ron Washington are all over this top-40 list because they were critical in getting the club to two consecutive World Series.

Who's missing from our list? Who is ranked too high or too low? Should Josh Hamilton be No. 3?

Put together your list of top Rangers and let us know why you ordered them the way you did.

Pudge, Sundberg to represent Rangers at Draft

May, 22, 2012
5/22/12
5:02
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SEATTLE -- Ivan Rodriguez and Jim Sundberg will represent the Rangers in the 2012 MLB First-Year Player Draft on June 4.

They'll be in the MLB Network studios during the draft and will announce the club's 39th and 52nd picks in Compensation Round A. Those picks were assigned with the signings of C.J. Wilson to the Los Angeles Angels and Darren Oliver to the Toronto Blue Jays. Commissioner Bud Selig will announce the selections for the first round, during which the Rangers hold the 29th pick.

All 30 clubs will have at least one representative on hand for Day 1 of the draft.

Rodriguez recently retired as a Ranger, where he spent the first 12 of his illustrious 21-year career behind the plate. He's a 14-time All-Star and 13-time Gold Glove award winner.

Sundberg, a six-time Gold Glove winner at catcher, is a Rangers senior executive vice president and a member of the inaugural class of the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame. He was named to three All-Star games during his 16-year career.

Rapid Reaction: Rangers 5, Indians 2

May, 5, 2012
5/05/12
9:30
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The Texas Rangers ended their three-game losing streak with a 5-2 win at Cleveland in 11 innings. Adrian Beltre hit a pinch-hit 3-run home run off righty Joe Smith for the difference. Rangers pinch-hitters were 0-for-12 this season prior to that blast to center field.

Rangers starting pitcher Derek Holland is from Newark, Ohio. Last year in his first start ever in his home state, Holland tossed a five-hit complete game shutout. He needed that good karma after his previous two starts which resulted in his two losses this season. Holland pitched well enough for a win, throwing 7.1 innings and allowing just five hits, but Mike Adams took the blown save after he allowed two inherited runners to score and tie the game at two. Holland did not factor into the decision. Alexi Ogando got his first win of the season, and Joe Nathan pitched the 11th for his seventh save.

Life on the road: With the win tonight, the Rangers remained tied with Baltimore for most road wins at 10. The Orioles won their 10th on Saturday, 8-2 at Boston. The Rangers visit the Orioles on Monday-Thursday. The O’s also boast an 18-9 overall record.

Top of the lineup: Ian Kinsler drove in the Rangers' first run in the second inning. That ended an 0-for-8 stretch for him at the plate. It also meant that he has reached safely in 16 of the last 18 games.

Playing the hits: Elvis Andrus singled in the first inning, giving him a hit in all 25 games he has played against the Indians. He is two games shy of tying Ivan Rodriguez for the longest Rangers hitting streak against one opponent at 27. Pudge hit in 27 straight versus Tampa Bay from June 2, 1998-June 23, 2000. Elvis also has reached base safely in 23 consecutive games this season.

A ... B ... C-ya: Beltre has not been in the starting lineup for the last four games including tonight. In total, he has not been in the starting lineup in seven games. In those games, the Rangers have a 2-5 record.

Cruzin’ for hits: Nelson Cruz began Saturday night’s game 2-for-17 on the road trip. He grounded out to shortstop in the first inning with the bases loaded. He later produced a lead-off single in the fourth. For the game, Cruz was 1-for-5.

At first: Michael Young started Saturday night’s game at first base. It’s his first start of the season at first base. This season, Young has made four starts at second base, five at third base and 16 as the designated hitter.

More and more: Mitch Moreland has his bat back on track. His RBI double in the fourth inning put the Rangers up 2-0, and it also meant that he has hit safely in seven straight starts and eight of nine games overall. Prior to this nine-game stretch, Moreland was hitting .139. Moreland was 3-for-4 on Saturday night, boosting his season batting average to .277. The Beltre was preceded by an intentional walk to Moreland.

Down Lowe: The Rangers pushed the pitch count to 104 on Indians starting pitcher Derek Lowe, who exited the game after six innings. Lowe forced the Rangers to keep the ball on the ground with 14 groundouts and just one in the air. He also induced two double plays. Lowe did not factor into the decision.

Indigestion: Rangers right-handed reliever Mike Adams entered the game in relief of Holland in the eighth inning. The runners on first and third were the first baserunners he inherited this season. The lead runner scored on a double by Asdrubel Cabrera. The second one came home on a passed ball.

Extra innings: The Rangers played one other extra-inning game this season. They needed 11 innings to beat Detroit 3-2 on April 22 in the Motor City.

Former teammates honor Ivan Rodriguez

April, 23, 2012
4/23/12
4:39
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ARLINGTON, Texas – Former Rangers pitcher John Burkett’s first dealing with Pudge Rodriguez came flying past him at speeds over 90 miles per hour.

After Rodriguez’s official retirement announcement at Rangers Ballpark on Monday, Burkett recounted his first appearance with Texas against Toronto in 1996, which was his first chance to witness a Rodriguez throw to second base.

“Luckily whenever I throw a pitch, I fall off to the side because when that ball came flying by me I heard, ‘Going,’ and that ball came flying by me waist high,” Burkett said. “I thought it was going to hit the ground and when I turned around it was right on the bag.”

It was Burkett’s first time to really see the talent Rodriguez showcased in Arlington for 12 seasons and then a brief stint in 2009.

His initial reaction, simply, “Wow.”

Another of Rodriguez’s frequent battery-mates, Ken Hill, remembered the catcher for the guy he was in the clubhouse and the effort he put into becoming the accomplished player he is today.

“He was a great teammate,” Hill said. “We had a lot of fun together. Pudge worked hard. Pudge always kept himself in shape and worked hard at it and it showed. Twenty-one years in the game -- that’s a long time.”

Rodriguez officially ended his career in the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame on Monday, and Burkett said it wouldn’t be long until he’ll be giving another speech at the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.

“When you put both offense and defense together I don’t think there’s anybody that compares to Pudge,” Burkett said. “Being a catcher here in Texas for most of his career in the heat, accumulating 2,800-plus hits, he just did it all across the board.”

Jim Sundberg recalls Pudge's first season

April, 23, 2012
4/23/12
11:00
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Jim Sundberg’s last season of Major League Baseball overlapped with the first season of pro ball for Ivan Rodriguez. Sundberg turned 38 years old during that season, the 16th season for the Rangers Hall of Fame catcher. Rodriguez was 17 years old and played for Class A Gastonia in the South Atlantic League, and his Hall of Fame-caliber career was just beginning.

PODCAST
Hall of Fame catcher Jim Sundberg recalls Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez's first season of professional baseball.

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“My last year in ’89, I was hearing about a guy we had in the minor leagues that was really good and was going to be a really good one,” Sundberg recalled when he was a guest Saturday on Rangers Magazine on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM.

When Rodriguez made his Major League debut in 1991, Sundberg was working as an analyst on the Rangers TV broadcasts.

“He had quick feet. He needs them to block. He needs them to throw. He had a strong, accurate arm. And, plus he could hit. He was a good inside-out guy. He could hit the ball to right field. Just a tremendous player,” Sundberg said, and this is a six-time Gold Glove catcher talking about a 13-time winner of the award.

Sundberg also talked about how Rodriguez ranks among the top all-time catchers, and he included a Yankees catcher in this category and not the one you are probably thinking of. He also discussed a future role for Rodriguez with the Rangers.

For those who heard the original broadcast of this interview, you may recall that the information on Rodriguez closed the interview. Through the magic of editing, the podcast is inverted. It begins with Rodriguez talk followed by Sundberg’s analysis of current Rangers catchers Yorvit Torrealba and Mike Napoli as well as what Sundberg would like if he were catching the current Rangers' starting rotation. Listen to the podcast.

Tom Grieve on the start of Pudge's career

April, 23, 2012
4/23/12
10:00
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There’s a story behind every player. In the tale that’s told about the beginning catcher Ivan Rodriguez's career, I would like to recommend you listen to Tom Grieve. He was the Texas Rangers general manager when “Pudge” signed with the Rangers on July 27, 1988.

PODCAST
Former Rangers GM Tom Grieve on the beginning of Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez's career.

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“They put a radar gun on him when he was 16 years old throwing to second base, and it was like 92 miles per hour,” Grieve recalled about the tryout camp where members of his scouting staff watched Pudge’s talents.

Grieve was a guest on Saturday’s edition of Rangers Magazine on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM. Grieve discussed the personnel involved with signing Rodriguez, the tryout camp where they saw Rodriguez, and the advancement of the catcher through the Rangers minor league system. Grieve was the general manager when Rodriguez made his Major League debut at the age of 19 on June 20, 1991.

“We knew that when we called him up that he would hold his own offensively because he was a contact hitter. He didn’t strike out. We didn’t know how much he would hit, but he wouldn’t embarrass himself, and he wouldn’t get buried offensively,” Grieve recalled about the eventual .296 career hitter. “But, we also knew that all the scouting reports on his defense were true, and that he could completely control the other team’s running game and make us a better team.”

According to baseball-reference.com, Rodriguez ranks 76th all-time catching 45.68% of potential base stealers. Rodriguez never had a 3-digit strikeout total in any of his 21 seasons in Major League Baseball. Furthermore, he earned 13 Gold Gloves which is the most all-time among catchers. Rodriguez played for the Rangers through the 2002 season and later returned in August of 2009.

Listen to the podcast for Grieve’s interesting memories pertaining to the start of Pudge’s pro career.

Bracket Madness: Pick DFW's most beloved athlete

March, 13, 2012
3/13/12
1:00
PM CT
Who do you love? Where do your allegiances lie? We're giving you the ultimate forum to prove it.

Welcome to Bracket Madness, where we'll let you decide the Metroplex's most beloved sports personality -- past or present.

The Rangers have five representatives in our Sweet 16 -- with the highlight being No. 6 Nolan Ryan squaring off against No. 11 seed Ron Washington -- but can they navigate their way to the finals?

Vote here, and join the conversation to defend your picks here.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Colby Lewis
WINS ERA SO IP
10 5.18 133 170
OTHER LEADERS
BAA. Beltre .324
HRA. Beltre 19
RBIA. Beltre 77
RA. Beltre 79
OPSA. Beltre .879
ERAC. Lewis 5.18
SOY. Darvish 182