Rangers retire Hall of Famer Pudge's No. 7

From ESPN - August 12, 2017

ARLINGTON, Texas -- A plaque in Cooperstown and now the No. 7 retired by the Texas Rangers for Pudge.

Two weeks after Ivan Rodriguez was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, the Rangers retired the jersey number the perennial All-Star catcher wore in Texas.

"That was a great moment for me," Rodriguez said after the pregame ceremony Saturday night. "In Cooperstown, but today here was a little different. ... Here in front of my home crowd, and the ovation that they gave me from right field all the way to home plate was amazing."

Rangers players crowded along the rail in their dugout to watch the ceremony, much like they had on July 31 to watch teammate Adrian Beltre get his 3,000th career hit, a double that came only moments after Rodriguez completed his Hall of Fame induction speech in Cooperstown.

Rodriguez almost immediately acknowledged Beltre, telling the 38-year-old third baseman that if he had gotten that hit about 20 minutes earlier, it would have been mentioned at the Hall of Fame. But Pudge pointed at his plaque from Cooperstown that was on the field and told Beltre, "This is waiting for you soon. You will be there soon."

The ceremony came before the Rangers played the Houston Astros. Both teams wore replica uniforms from 1999, the season Pudge was the AL MVP after he hit .332 with career highs of 35 homers and 113 RBIs.

Before Rodriguez entered the field from the team's bullpen in right-center field wearing a red Rangers polo, other players who wore No. 7 for the Rangers took part in the "march of 7s" from the left field corner. That group included Lenny Randle, Billy Sample and Eric Young, with the last in line being current outfielder Delino DeShields, who now wears No. 3 but wore No. 7 as a rookie two seasons ago.

Pudge joined MLB strikeout king Nolan Ryan, who was 44 when he pitched to the teenager catching his second career game, as the only Rangers players to have their numbers retired. They are also the only players wearing the Texas "T" on their plaques in the Baseball Hall of Fame.


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