The countdown is on for Ivan Rodriguez.
Next weekend, “Pudge” will take his place among the greats in the game when he enters the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.
So are the nerves kicking in yet the former Rangers catcher?
“No, not really,” Rodriguez said during a conference call on Friday. “I’m really excited. I’m not going to lie, I’m a little nervous. The days are getting closer to be there in the Hall of Fame. It’s going to be fun.”
Pudge was a first-ballot selection for Cooperstown and will enter The Hall as a member of the Rangers. He played 13 seasons with the team after being drafted by Texas as a 16-year old from Puerto Rico.
The career is full of memorable moments and milestones. Rodriguez was a 14-time All-Star, 13-time Gold Glove winner and 1999 American League MVP. He also won a World Series in 2003 with the Florida Marlins, now known as the Miami Marlins.
As the moment gets closer, he's had a chance to get some advice from some Hall of Famers who’s been there, done that in Roberto Alomar and Greg Maddux.
“It’s going to be a lot, a lot going on, but at the same time enjoy it,” said Rodriguez. “Have fun. Try to enjoy everything that is going on during that weekend.”
Rodriguez will be inducted along with Houston Astros first baseman Jeff Bagwell, Montreal Expos outfielder Tim Raines, longtime Kansas City Royals and Atlanta Braves general manager John Schuerholz and former major league baseball commissioner Bud Selig.
Also expected to be in attendance is Gloria Oates, the widow of former Rangers manager Johnny Oates. Texas won division titles in 1996 and 1998-99 under the leadership of Oates, who passed away in 2004.
"I have so much respect for Johnny Oates,” said Rodriguez, who played for Oates on those Rangers teams. “Having her there is going to be a very special moment."
The induction is scheduled for July 30 at 12:30 p.m. CST.