Rangers Catcher Ivan Rodriguez Elected to 2017 Baseball Hall of Fame Class

Longtime Texas Rangers catcher Ivan Rodríguez has been elected into baseball's Hall of Fame.

"Pudge" Rodríguez won a record 13 Gold Glove Awards during his 21-year career — 13 of which were with the Rangers. The 14-time All-Star also won the 1999 AL MVP.

"I've been having trouble sleeping for three days," said Rodriguez, 45, who now becomes the youngest current Hall member.

Rodriguez is the 52nd player elected in his first year of eligibility, and joins Johnny Bench in 1989 as the only catchers voted in on their first ballot.

"Johnny Bench was my favorite player growing up," Pudge added.

Outfielder Tim Raines and former Houston Astro Jeff Bagwell joined Rodríguez in the 2017 hall of fame class.

Bagwell was a four-time All-Star for Houston, finishing with a .297 batting average, 401 homers and 1,401 RBIs. Among 220 Hall of Fame players, he is the 50th whose entire big league career was with one club.

Raines, fifth in career stolen bases, was a seven-time All-Star and the 1986 NL batting champion who compiled a .294 average and .385 on-base percentage. He spent 13 of 23 big league seasons with the Montreal Expos, who left Canada to become the Washington Nationals for the 2005 season, and joins Andre Dawson and Gary Carter as the only players to enter the Hall representing the Expos.

Former Rangers outfielder Vladimir Guerrero and longtime San Diego Padres closer Trevor Hoffman fell just short of appearing on the required 75 percent of the estimated 435 ballots cast to be elected to the Hall of Fame. Bagwell drew 86.2 percent and Raines got 86 percent. Rodriguez had 76 percent, receiving four more votes than the necessary 332 of 442.

Steroids-tainted stars Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens were passed over for the fifth straight year by the Baseball Writers' Association of America, but received significantly more votes this time and could be in position to gain election in future votes.

Players will be inducted July 30 during ceremonies at Cooperstown along with former Commissioner Bud Selig and retired Kansas City and Atlanta executive John Schuerholz, both elected last month by a veterans committee. Some voters said the election of Selig, who presided over the Steroids Era, transformed their view of whether tainted stars should gain entry to the Hall.

Rodriguez, who hit .296 with 311 homers and 1,332 RBIs, was never disciplined for PEDs but former Texas teammate Jose Canseco alleged in a 2005 book that he injected the catcher with steroids. Asked whether he was on the list of players who allegedly tested positive for steroids during baseball's 2003 survey, Rodriguez said in 2009: "Only God knows."

Several notable players will join them in the competition for votes in upcoming years: Chipper Jones and Jim Thome in 2018, Mariano Rivera and Roy Halladay in 2019, and Derek Jeter in 2020.

Twelve players have been elected by the BBWAA in the past four years, the most over a span of that length since the first four ballots from 1936-39.

Pete Rose, the career hits leader who has never appeared on a ballot because of a lifetime ban that followed an investigation of his gambling, received one write-in vote.

Online: 2017 BBWAA Hall of Fame Ballot

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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