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Pudge elected to Latino Baseball Hall of Fame

Former Rangers great to be inducted on Dec. 5

DETROIT -- Former Rangers catcher Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez was elected into the Latino Baseball Hall of Fame on Friday afternoon.

Rodriguez played 13 seasons with Texas, earning the American League MVP Award in 1999. The 14-time All-Star also won the World Series with Florida in 2003 and was instrumental in the Tigers' 2006 AL pennant run.

Rodriguez will be inducted on Dec. 5, 2015, as part of the class of 2016, alongside Edgar Renteria, Orlando Hernandez, Sammy Sosa, Jesse Orosco and Omar Vizquel.

"I would think [Rodriguez] is just as good a representative as any could be to be inducted into the Latino Hall of Fame," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said Friday afternoon. "We all should be very proud because of the way he played the game and the guy he is."

Rodriguez, a Puerto Rican native, made his Major League debut with Texas on June 20, 1991, and batted .296 with 311 home runs over his 21-year career. He caught 2,427 games, earned 13 Gold Gloves for his excellence behind the dish and tallied 2,749 hits as a catcher -- all Major League records.

Rodriguez signed a one-day contract in 2012 to retire with the Rangers and he currently works as a special assistant to Rangers general manager Jon Daniels and as an analyst for FOX Sports Southwest.

Last winter, Rodriguez was inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame. In 2017, he'll become eligible for the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

"This is a Hall of Famer, period," Banister said. "… I would expect that he'll be in a lot of Hall of Fames when it's all said and done."

Alejandro Zúñiga is an associate reporter for Follow him on Twitter @ByAZuniga.
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