VIPs ready for Pudge's jersey retirement

Alomar, Jenkins among supporting cast for HOF catcher

VIPs ready for Pudge's jersey retirement

ARLINGTON -- Two members of Ivan Rodriguez's new fraternity will be on hand when the Rangers retire his number before Saturday's game against the Astros.

Hall of Famers Roberto Alomar and Ferguson Jenkins will be present when the Rangers put Rodriguez's No. 7 on the left-field facade alongside the numbers of Nolan Ryan, Johnny Oates and Jackie Robinson.

Alomar and Rodriguez are both from Puerto Rico. Jenkins is also a member of the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame, and both wanted to be there on Saturday night.

"I've known Ivan for a long time," Alomar said. "As ballplayers, we've shared a lot of moments and become friends. It's nice to be supportive of a guy who you call a friend. He was a great ballplayer and is also a great person."

Both were in Cooperstown on July 30 when Rodriguez was inducted into the Hall of Fame, along with Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, John Schuerholz and Bud Selig.

"He did great," Jenkins said. "He spoke in English and Spanish. I played in Latin America in winter ball a couple of seasons, so I could understand what he was trying to get across. I think it was outstanding for him to be the fourth Puerto Rican to be inducted. It's important, there is a proud heritage of baseball in Puerto Rico."

Saturday won't be quite as emotional, but it will be a big night. A sellout crowd is expected, and the ceremonies are scheduled to begin at 6:35 CT with first pitch being moved back to 7:35.

Congratulations, Pudge

National Baseball Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson will take part in the ceremonies, and Rodriguez's plaque is on display Friday and Saturday at Globe Life Park.

"It has been great. ... I call it crazy good," Rodriguez said. "This is a great moment for me in my life, what I'm doing right now. Yeah, there is a lot of travel, signing books, going to different states, it's great. This is a moment everybody dreams about, being in the Hall of Fame and having the number retired, going to all the cities I played in and receiving the love and respect from all those fans, it has been nice."

Other members of the Rangers Hall of Fame expected to be present are John Wetteland, Rusty Greer, Toby Harrah, Tom Grieve, Eric Nadel, Tom Schieffer, Jeff Russell and Michael Young.

Among the former Rangers coming back are those who wore the No. 7 before and after Rodriguez played with the club, including Vic Harris (1972-73), Lenny Randle (1974-76), Lew Beasley (1977), Billy Sample (1978), Leon Roberts (1981-82), Glenn Brummer (1985), Eric Young (2004), David Murphy (2008-13), J.P. Arencibia (2014), and Delino DeShields (2015).

"A lot of hard work and a lot of great moments in my career, especially when I played here," Rodriguez said. "To be able to play for 13 years in Texas, and support from fans for me and my family, day in and day out, and to have the career that I did, 21 years, all as a catcher. I'm glad to finish being in the Hall of Fame and having my number retired."

Pudge's Hall of Fame weekend

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.