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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – He played in the Rangers’ first three playoff series. Won a record 13 Gold Gloves as a catcher. Holds the Major League record with 2,377 games caught, started 12 All-Star Games and won seven Silver Slugger Awards. In an era where the league average for throwing out base-runners was 31 percent, eight times he led baseball by gunning down more than 50 percent.
In 1999, he was the American League Most Valuable Player. And from the time he arrived in Arlington as a 19-year-old in 1991 he set the standard for Rangers’ catchers past, present and future.
Johnny Bench might have been a better defensive catcher. Mike Piazza better offensively. But there’s never been a better Ranger than …
Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez.
20. Alex Rodriguez — If he wasn’t a ‘roided-up a-hole he’d be much higher
19. Jeff Burroughs — ’74 AL MVP
18. Julio Franco — ’91 batting champ with .341 average
17. Frank Howard — Hit first homer at Arlington Stadium, then 245 as Ranger
16. Will Clark — Grinding first baseman on Texas’ first two division champs
15. Buddy Bell — Best defensive infielder in history of franchise
14. Rusty Greer — Did he ever catch a fly ball without diving?
13. Nolan Ryan — Seventh no-hitter and 5,000th strikeout be damned, 51 wins rank only 11th
12. Fergie Jenkins — 90 complete games, 17 shutouts and 25 wins in ’74
11. John Wetteland — All-time saves leader
10. Toby Harrah — Original shortstop is sixth all-time in games played; second in stolen bases
9. Kenny Rogers — Best lefty pitcher, by a mile over Jon Matlack
8. Jim Sundberg — Third in games played, six consecutive Gold Gloves at catcher
7. Ruben Sierra — Second in triples and one of the best OF arms in team history
6. Charlie Hough — Chain-smoking knuckleballer holds every important pitching record
5. Rafael Palmeiro — Steroids or not, he’s third in hits and second in franchise homers
4. Josh Hamilton — AL batting champ and MVP on franchise’s first World Series team
3. Michael Young – Franchise leader in games, at-bats, runs and hits
2. Juan Gonzalez — Texas’ only two-time MVP
1. Pudge Rodriguez — Team’s all-time best defensive player also among Top 10 in every offensive stat and won MVP in ’99
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