Gonzalez, Russell going into Rangers Hall of Fame
Slugger, reliever to be inducted prior to July 11 game
ARLINGTON -- Former outfielder Juan Gonzalez and reliever Jeff Russell have been selected for induction into the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame. The ceremonies will take place before the July 11 game against the Padres at Globe Life Park.
Gonzalez is one of the greatest players in Rangers history. He was the American League's Most Valuable Player in 1996 and 1998 and was five times named the Rangers Player of the Year. He also won five Silver Slugger Awards.
He is the Rangers' all-time leader with 372 home runs, 1,180 RBIs and a .565 slugging percentage. His 157 RBIs in 1998 and .643 slugging percentage in 1996 are also club records.
Gonzalez signed with the Rangers as an amateur free agent in 1986 out of Puerto Rico. He was a September call-up in 1989 and '90 before becoming an everyday player in '91. He played with the Rangers through 1999, helping the club win three division titles. Gonzalez hit five home runs in four games in the 1996 Division Series loss to the Yankees.
Gonzalez was traded to the Tigers after the 1999 season. He returned for two more seasons with the Rangers in 2002-03 but was limited both years because of injuries.
Gonzalez has expressed reluctance in the past to be inducted into the Rangers Hall of Fame. But the selection committee decided he was worthy of being in the Hall of Fame whether or not he decides to attend the ceremonies.
Russell spent 10 seasons with the Rangers and is second in club history with 445 games pitched and 134 saves. He was acquired from the Reds, along with outfielder Duane Walker, in July 1985 for third baseman Buddy Bell.
Russell enjoyed the unique distinction of being selected an All-Star as a starting pitcher in 1988 and then as a reliever in '89. His '89 season was spectacular, as he recorded a league-leading 38 saves and had a 1.98 ERA. He was named the American League Relief Pitcher of the Year.
Russell was traded to the Athletics, along with Bobby Witt and Ruben Sierra, for Jose Canseco in August 1992. But he returned to the Rangers as a free agent after the 1994-95 strike was settled.
He was the Rangers' closer in 1995, recording 20 saves. He was a setup reliever behind Mike Henneman in '96 as the Rangers won their first division title. He retired after that season. His son James is a reliever with the Cubs and is in his sixth season in the Major Leagues.