ARLINGTON -- The Rangers have their own franchise Hall of Fame, with their own set of retired numbers.
One is more exclusive than the other. The Rangers have retired just five numbers, compared to the 22 players and other figures who have been inducted into their Hall of Fame.
John Blake, the Rangers' vice president of communications, oversees both and has set a high bar for retired uniform numbers. Blake’s desire is that retired numbers should only go for those players who had a National Baseball Hall of Fame-worthy career. But two of the five retired numbers were obvious exceptions.
Nolan Ryan, P, No. 34
Number retired: Sept. 15, 1996
Ryan spent only five seasons with Texas, but those years included some of the most memorable moments in franchise history. On Aug. 22, 1989, he recorded his 5,000th strikeout, and on July 31, 1990, he earned his 300th career victory. He would retire with 324 in all. Two of those wins were no-hitters: against the Athletics on June 11, 1990, and the Blue Jays on May 1, 1991, giving him an MLB record of seven for his career.
Ryan's 301 strikeouts in 1989 are a Rangers franchise record. He finished with 5,714 for his career, also the most in Major League history. Ryan was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1999 and had his uniform retired by the Angels and Astros. Ryan later served as the Rangers' club president from 2008-13, during which time Texas made its first two World Series appearances in franchise history.
Johnny Oates, Mgr: No. 26
Number retired: Aug. 6, 2005
Oates is one of the most beloved Rangers ever, managing the team to its first three division titles in 1996 and 1998-99. He shared Manager of the Year honors with Joe Torre of the Yankees in 1996. The Rangers ended up losing to the Yankees in four close games in the American League Division Series that year, and were swept by the Yankees in '98 and '99.
Oates stepped down 28 games into the 2001 season, finishing with an overall record for the Rangers of 506-476 for a .515 winning percentage. The following year he was diagnosed with a brain tumor and passed away on Christmas Eve in 2004.
Ivan 'Pudge' Rodriguez, C, No. 7
Number retired: Aug. 12, 2012
Rodriguez was one of the greatest catchers in Major League history, and he built most of his legacy during his prime years with the Rangers, from 1991-2002. During his time in Texas, Rodriguez won 10 of his 13 Gold Gloves and six of his seven Silver Slugger Awards.
Pudge appeared in 10 All-Star Games as a Ranger and was the American League's Most Valuable Player in 1999, when he hit .332/.356/.558 with 35 home runs and 113 RBIs. With his quick feet and powerful throwing arm, he was among the league leaders every year in throwing out attempted basestealers.
Rodriguez ended up winning a World Series with the Marlins in 2003 and played for the Tigers in the 2006 Series. But when he finally retired and was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, he went in wearing the Rangers cap.
Adrián Beltré, 3B, No. 29
Number retired: June 8, 2019
Beltré was a recognized star player when he signed with the Rangers as a free agent in 2011. Eight years later, he had made a convincing case for future induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. It is certain that he will be inducted as a Ranger.
Beltré led the Rangers to three division titles and one American League pennant during his eight years in Texas. He was a three-time All-Star and three-time Gold Glove winner, finishing with a .304 batting average and a .509 slugging percentage in a Rangers uniform. Beltré was the Rangers’ Player of the Year in four of eight seasons in Texas.
He finished his 21-year career with 3,166 hits and 477 home runs. Only four other players in Major League history finished with at least that many hits and home runs: Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Eddie Murray and Albert Pujols. The 3,166 hits were the most ever by a player from Latin America.
Michael Young, IF, No. 10
Number retired: Aug. 31, 2019
Young’s place in Rangers history can not be overstated. Acquired from the Blue Jays as a Double-A player in 2000, he became the Rangers’ starting second baseman in 2001 and stayed in their lineup for 12 seasons while becoming the franchise’s career leader in runs, hits, doubles, triples and total bases. He did so while going from second base (2001-03) to shortstop (2004-08) to third base (2009-10) and “super” utility infielder in 2011-12.
Young was a seven-time All-Star and was named the Most Valuable Player of the 2006 All-Star Game in Pittsburgh when he hit a two-out, two-run triple in the ninth to give the AL a 3-2 victory. He was voted the Rangers’ Player of the Year in five seasons and won a Gold Glove at shortstop in 2008. Young was also the Rangers’ undisputed team leader on the 2010-11 teams that advanced to the World Series for the first time in club history.
Young wore No. 10, the same uniform worn by All-Star catcher Jim Sundberg. When Young gave his uniform retirement speech, he paid tribute to Sundberg and the high standards he set for the Rangers during his playing career.
Note: On April 15, 1997, the Rangers joined every team in MLB in retiring No. 42 in honor of Jackie Robinson.