Texas Rangers: Ken Hill

Former teammates honor Ivan Rodriguez

April, 23, 2012
4/23/12
4:39
PM CT

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.”

Pregame ceremonies for Games 3, 4

October, 6, 2010
10/06/10
3:04
PM CT
The Texas Rangers will celebrate their past when they host the Tampa Bay Rays for Games 3 and 4 (if necessary) of the ALDS on Saturday and Sunday at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

SATURDAY: The first pitch will be thrown out by Johnny Oates II, the 8-year-old grandson of late Rangers manager Johnny Oates, who guided the team to AL West titles in 1996, 1998 and 1999. Johnny will be accompanied to the mound by former second baseman Mark McLemore, and former outfielder Rusty Greer will be the ceremonial catcher.

Country legend Charley Pride, a member of the club’s new ownership group, will sing the National Anthem. God Bless America will be performed during the seventh-inning stretch by Phillips, Craig & Deen, who recorded "Rangers Deer" and "The Claw." There will be a pregame flyover by four F-16s from the 301st Fighter Squadron of the Fort Worth Naval Air Station. All fans over the age of 21 will receive a Rangers Rally Towel.

SUNDAY: More former members of the 1996 Rangers -- pitchers John Burkett, Mike Henneman, Ken Hill and designated hitter Mickey Tettleton -- will take part in the ceremonial first pitch. Country star Neal McCoy will sing the National Anthem, and Scott and Lauren Hoying will sing God Bless America. The first 40,000 fans receive a Rangers Rally Towel.

Parking lots will open five hours before the start of each game. Gates to the stadium will open three hours prior to first pitch.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Adrian Beltre
BA HR RBI R
.337 13 51 51
OTHER LEADERS
HRA. Beltre 13
RBIA. Beltre 51
RA. Beltre 51
OPSA. Beltre .917
WY. Darvish 8
ERAY. Darvish 2.97
SOY. Darvish 142