Rangers Vault: Pudge throws out Griffey Jr.

June 20th, 2021

MLB.com is digging back into its massive video vault to uncover classic plays that you have loved, forgotten about or, perhaps, are discovering for the very first time. Watch these moments and many, many more on the MLB Vault YouTube page.

April 6, 1992: Griffey Jr. tries to run on Pudge
It was a high-scoring affair at the Kingdome in Seattle during opening weekend of the 1992 season. The Rangers were coming off an Opening Day victory and with Texas legend Nolan Ryan on the mound, they looked to add to the win column. Ryan was unusually ineffective, going just 4 1/3 innings and allowing three runs, only one of which was earned. But his batterymate Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez didn’t miss a beat early in the game. Seattle’s Ken Griffey Jr. took a walk from Ryan in the bottom of the fourth inning, and looking to break a 1-1 stalemate, attempted to steal second. Rodriguez’s cannon of an arm didn’t let that happen as he nabbed Griffey with a high throw down to second base.

July 16, 2010: Molina triples to complete cycle
Only 11 players in Rangers history have hit for the cycle. Bengie Molina became the sixth in an 8-4 win over the Red Sox at Fenway Park. In his third at-bat, Molina crushed a go-ahead grand slam to straightaway center in the top of the fifth inning, which gave Texas a lead it never relinquished. At 5-foot-11 and 225 pounds, the Rangers’ catcher wasn’t exactly fleet afoot, but he managed to complete the cycle with an eighth-inning triple. “Get going kiddo! You got the cycle big guy! Get there! He did it! Pigs have flown in Boston, Massachusetts,” announcers Josh Lewin and Tom Grieve cheered as Molina reached third.

Sept. 9, 2002: A-Rod’s two-homer game
There were six home runs in the American League West matchup between the Rangers and the Mariners at The Ballpark in Arlington that night, and Alex Rodriguez hit two of them as Texas claimed a 12-7 victory. A-Rod hit an MLB-leading 57 homers during the 2002 season, just one year after he signed a historic 10-year, $252 million deal with the Rangers. The two homers against the Mariners were his 52nd and 53rd of the season. The club finished the year at the bottom of the AL West at 72-90, but it wasn’t for lack of trying on Rodriguez’s part. He had a slash line of .300/.392/.623 and an 1.015 OPS en route to a second-place finish in the AL MVP voting.

June 8, 1995: Greer's walk-off homer
One of the greatest comebacks in Rangers history took place late at night in front of what was left of 20,425 fans at The Ballpark in Arlington. Texas trailed 9-1 at one point in the matchup against the Royals before sending 10 men to the plate and scoring six runs in the eighth, tacking on two in the ninth to send the game to extras. In his second year with the club, Rusty Greer started hot, hitting .308 through June 8. That night was no different, as he launched a solo home run to right field to lead off the bottom of the 10th, sending the Royals and reliever Billy Brewer home.

July 1, 2006: Matthews makes acrobatic catch
With Bryan Corey on the mound and the Rangers down, 5-0, to the Astros in the top of the eighth inning, Gary Matthews Jr. robbed Mike Lamb of a home run with a leaping grab at the center-field wall to end the frame. Matthews perfectly timed his jump, then somehow twisted his body while in the air to snag the ball and come down with it. However, Texas went on to fall, 7-0.

June 21, 1989: Sosa's first career homer
Many forget about Sammy Sosa's month with the Rangers that started his big league career in 1989. Sosa made his Major League debut against the Yankees on June 16 that season. He hit his first home run in the next series at Fenway Park, driving a Roger Clemens pitch over the Green Monster in Texas’ 10-3 win over Boston. Sosa was later traded to the White Sox on July 29, 1989.

Aug. 22, 2007: Rangers set AL record with 30 runs
The Rangers went 75–87 in 2007, and they were still three years away from winning the American League pennant. But the club was record-breaking in its own right. In the first game of an Aug. 22 doubleheader at Baltimore, Texas set an AL record by scoring 30 runs. That came after the Orioles owned a 3-0 lead through three innings. The Rangers went on to score five runs in the fourth, nine in the sixth, 10 in the eighth and six in the ninth. They had 29 hits, including six home runs, two of which were grand slams.