Pudge to Rangers' Hall; Gonzalez Declines

Ivan Rodriguez is going into the Texas Rangers Baseball Hall of Fame.

Juan Gonzalez, the only two-time American League MVP in franchise history, is turning down a chance to join him.

Rodriguez, the 14-time All-Star catcher who spent most of his career with Texas and known affectionately as "Pudge," will be the 16th member of the team's hall of fame. The Rangers said Friday his induction will be July 20 during a ceremony before a game against Baltimore.

Rodriguez made his major league debut as a 19-year-old for the Rangers in 1991. He caught a major league record 2,427 games, surpassing Carlton Fisk's record of 2,226 during a game for the Houston Astros four years ago at Rangers Ballpark. It was later that season that Pudge returned briefly to the Rangers, the team he played for his first 12 seasons.

The 13 Gold Gloves that Rodriguez won are the most ever for a catcher. He was the 1999 AL MVP.

Rodriguez announced his retirement after 21 seasons as a player in April 2012. During spring training this year, he rejoined the Rangers as a special assistant to the general manager to assist the team in several areas, including international scouting, player instruction on the major and minor league levels and talent evaluation. He also represents the team in community and marketing endeavors.

In 1,507 career games with Texas, Rodriguez hit .304 with 217 homers and 842 RBIs. He ranks second in club history in hits (1747), doubles (352), and multi-hit games (490).

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He hit .296 with 311 home runs and 1,332 RBIs in 2,543 games overall with Texas (1991-2002, 2009), Florida (2003), Detroit (2004-08), the Yankees (2008), Houston (2009), and Washington (2010-11).

The team said Gonzalez, the AL MVP in 1996 and 1998, also was recommended by the selection committee but turned down the honor.

Gonzalez, an outfielder, had five 40-homer seasons in a span of seven years for Texas and starred alongside Rodriguez on the first three playoff teams in club history.

He was traded to Detroit in 1999 after consecutive poor showings in the last two of three AL division series losses to the New York Yankees. He returned in 2002 but had two injury-plagued seasons.

Rodriguez and Gonzalez, a career .295 hitter with 434 homers, were implicated by Jose Canseco in his book about steroids use in baseball, but they were never directly linked to the sport's steroids era.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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