Ivan Rodriguez elected to National Baseball Hall of Fame

Pudge becomes 52nd player elected on 1st ballot; joins Johnny Bench as only catchers to be 1st-ballot honorees

Ivan Rodriguez has been elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year on the ballot, it was announced this evening.

Rodriguez becomes the 52nd player to be elected by the member of the Baseball Writers Association of America in his first year on the ballot. He joins Johnny Bench, who was elected in 1989, as the only first ballot catchers so honored.

Rodriguez joins first baseman Jeff Bagwell and outfielder Tim Raines as BBWAA selections in the Hall of Fame class of 2017. They will join former Royals and Braves General Manager John Schuerholz and former commissioner Allan H. "Bud" Selig as the inductees in the Class of 2017 on Sunday, July 30 in Cooperstown, New York.

Rodriguez received 336 of the 442 votes submitted by qualifying BBWAA members for 76.0%, 4 votes more than was needed for the 75% (332 of 442) needed for election. The margin of four votes matches Jackie Robinson in 1962 for the fewest ever for a player elected on the first ballot.

Overall, Rodriguez becomes the 18th catcher to join the National Baseball Hall of Fame, the tenth selected in BBWAA voting. Born on November 27, 1971, he will become the youngest current Hall of Fame member. Pitcher Pedro Martinez, who was inducted in 2015, was born on October 25, 1971.

Rodriguez becomes the sixth player who wore a Texas Rangers uniform to be elected to the Hall of Fame, joining Ferguson Jenkins (1991), Gaylord Perry (1991), Nolan Ryan (1999), Rich Gossage (2008), and Bert Blyleven (2011). Ryan, who pitched for the Rangers from 1989-93, is the only Hall of Famer with a Rangers cap adorning in plaque. Other Hall of Famers with Rangers connections are managers Ted Williams (1966) and Whitey Herzog (2010), and coach Nellie Fox (1987),

Rodriguez becomes the fourth native of Puerto Rico to be elected to the Hall of Fame, joining Roberto Clemente (1973), Orlando Cepeda (1999), and Roberto Alomar (2011). In addition, native Cuban Tony Perez (2000) has spent much of his life residing in Puerto Rico.

Rodriguez batted .296 with 311 home runs and 1332 RBI in 2543 major league games with Texas (1990-2002; 2009), Florida (2003), Detroit (2004-08), New York-AL (2008), Houston (2009), and Washington (2010-11). Following his retirement, he joined the Rangers as Special Assistant to the General Manager and begins fifth year in that role. Rodriguez was a 14-time American League All-Star and a 13-time recipient of the Rawlings Gold Glove.