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Gonzalez, Russell elected to Rangers Hall of Fame

Two-time American League Most Valuable Player Juan Gonzalez and the AL’s 1989 Fireman of the Year Jeff Russell have been elected as the 18th and 19th members of the Texas Rangers Baseball Hall of Fame, the club announced.

Gonzalez and Russell will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in pregame ceremonies July 11 at Globe Life Park in Arlington.

Gonzalez played for Texas from 1989-99 and again in 2002-03 and is the club’s all-time leader in home runs (372), RBIs (1,180), and extra-base hits (713).

The slugger earned his first MVP Award in 1996, batting .314 with 47 homers and 144 RBIs in just 134 games while setting a club record with a .643 slugging percentage as Texas advanced to the postseason for the first time in franchise history. He established team records with 157 RBIs and 97 extra-base hits and led the AL in RBIs and doubles (50) in winning his second MVP Award in 1998.

Gonzalez earned Rangers Player of the Year honors five times (1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998), matching Michael Young for the most ever.

Russell is the Rangers’ all-time leader in relief appearances (406) and games finished (251), and ranks second in total appearances (445) and saves (134). The right-hander, who pitched for Texas from 1985-92 and again in 1995-96 has the 11th best career ERA at 3.73 (minimum 400 IP). He recorded 20 or more saves four times with 30-plus saves twice.

Russell was a starter in the early years of his Rangers career and earned selection to the AL All-Star team in 1988, when he won his first seven decisions of the season. He moved into the closer’s role in 1989 and led the American League with 38 saves and 66 games finished, both club records at the time (games finished mark still stands). Russell posted a 1.98 ERA over his 71 appearances that season and was selected as the AL’s Fireman of the Year. He joined National Baseball Hall of Famer Rich Gossage as the only pitchers at that time to be selected to the All-Star team as first a starter and then a reliever in consecutive seasons.

He saved 30 games in 1991 and had 28 saves in 1992 when he was traded with Ruben Sierra and Bobby Witt to Oakland in the deal for Jose Canseco on Aug. 31. Russell returned to the Rangers for his final two major league seasons, posting 20 saves in 1995 and appearing in 55 games for the AL West champs in 1996.