Former Texas Rangers' players Ivan Rodriquez (left) and Juan Gonzalez (right).
You don't hear of many athletes declining invitation to Halls of Fame, regardless if it's the big one for their respective sport, a team's Hall or even down to a state's, such as the Texas Sports Hall of Fame that has people ranging from the professional ranks down to successful high school coaches.
That's what made last week so odd when former Rangers slugger Juan Gonzalez, a two-time AL MVP, declined an invite to be inducted into the team's Hall of Fame alongside his former teammate Ivan Rodriguez, who accepted his invite.
Gonzalez was one of the most feared hitters of his era and was a key reason why the Rangers made their first playoff runs in club history, even if they did win just one playoff game in three tries in the late 1990s, running into the New York Yankees juggernaut every time.
In that first playoff series in club history, which happened to be its only win in those first three tries, back in 1996, Gonzalez had about as good a series as you could possibly have in a best-of-5 series that went four games, especially as part of a losing team.
Gonzalez hit five home runs and batted .438 with nine RBIs in those four games — simply remarkable.
In nine full seasons as a Ranger, Gonzalez hit 335 bombs with 1.056 RBIs and hit .296. After being traded to Detroit in 2000, which apparently still has him bitter, and then moving on to Cleveland, he came back to Texas for the 2002 and 2003 seasons, playing half-seasons each year due to injury. He was finished as a big-leaguer in 2005 after playing one game with Cleveland, and recording one plate appearance.
It's too bad Gonzalez won't let the franchise that he grew up with and excelled with honor him. After all, before Cliff Lee, Josh Hamilton, Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus came along, he was the biggest postseason superstar in the best stretch in franchise history.