WASHINGTON -- Tim Raines had never been to Washington D.C., before Monday. Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez spent the final two seasons of his career with the Nationals from 2010-11. Both players are crucial to the history of the franchise even though they didn't have extensive careers in Washington.The two newest Baseball
WASHINGTON -- Tim Raines had never been to Washington D.C., before Monday. Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez spent the final two seasons of his career with the Nationals from 2010-11. Both players are crucial to the history of the franchise even though they didn't have extensive careers in Washington.
The two newest Baseball Hall of Famers were inducted into the Ring of Honor at Nationals Park during pregame ceremonies prior to Monday night's 11-2 win over the Marlins.
"This makes it much more real," Raines said. "I'm happy and elated about the whole situation."
Both players had portions of their Hall of Fame speeches played on the scoreboard during the game at National Park. They also took part in first-pitch ceremonies, with Raines throwing one to his former Expos teammate and current Nationals bench coach Chris Speier, and Rodriguez catching the first pitch from his former Tigers teammate and current Nationals assistant hitting coach Jacque Jones.
Rodriguez formed a bond with Washington even though his stint here was brief. Earlier Monday, the Nationals and their Dream Foundation dedicated the newly renovated Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez Field to him in Annandale, Va.
Rodriguez still shares fond memories with a couple of the players who were young and still developing when Rodriguez played here, like Ryan Zimmerman and Stephen Strasburg. Rodriguez caught Strasburg's electric Major League debut in 2010, and Zimmerman was in attendance at Rodriguez's field dedication on Monday morning. Rodriguez remarked on how far the franchise had come since then.
"I knew that the talent was there," Rodriguez said. "I knew it since Day 1 I came in."
Raines never played for the Nationals, but he spent the majority of his career with the Expos, the hat he donned on his Hall of Fame plaque in Cooperstown. Raines spent his first day in Washington walking the National Mall and touring the monuments along with his two daughters. He was honored to be included in the Nationals Ring of Honor, which includes two of his ex-Expos teammates: Andre Dawson and Gary Carter.
"Even though I never played here I never played one game here…to come here under these circumstances, this situation makes it more worthwhile," Raines said. "I've never had that opportunity to have my name on the Ring of Honor. The closest thing I have to have something on the rafters is in Montreal at the hockey arena. Obviously, I did not play any hockey."
Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.