Hey Murph, That Number Is Taken

**ORIGINAL POSTED DATE 8/23/12**

A few nights ago I was conversing with my friend Mike Luna, via Twitter. We were discussing retiring numbers and how we are both the glad the Rangers have not gone crazy retiring numbers of players that are highly regarded players in Texas, but not well known in the national spotlight. Mike then stated that David Murphy needs to find a new number. I immediately agreed, since #7 truly belongs to future Hall of Famer Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez, one of the greatest players in this franchise’s history.
I remember the day that Pudge debuted in Chicago. He was a 19 year old kid that had a lot of promise. The scouts said, “He is tremendous behind the plate, but will need to adjust to Major League hitting, and he is young, that calling a game maybe something he struggles with.” The above is a paraphrase of many thoughts, but you get the idea. Pudge was going to be a great defender, but hitting was a bonus in the minds of most of those guys.

In 1991, Ivan played in 88 games for the Rangers and hit a modest .264 with 3 HR’s, and only 27 RBI’s. What he did do in ‘91 was throw out 34 potential base stealers which was good for 49% of all runners, and that year the league average was 34%. He finished 4th in Rookie of the Year voting that year. He was exactly what the Rangers needed – another young player that could compliment Palmeiro, Juando, and Ruben Sierra. He was a perfect fit for the Texas franchise.

Over the next 10 years in Texas, all Pudge did was play in 10 All-Star Games, win 10 Gold Gloves, win 6 Silver Sluggers, and was the American League MVP in 1999. How good was Pudge? In his MVP year, he hit .332 with 31 HR’s and 113 RBI’s. Also that year his WAR was 6.1, and he threw out 41 runners for a percentage of 55%, against a league average of 33%. Ivan played 13 seasons in Texas, including 28 games in the 2009 season. He totaled 1747 hits, 217 HR’s, 842 RBI’s and hit .304 in a Rangers uniform. In that span he also threw out 458 runners which is good for a 48% clip in Rangers laundry. He has an average WAR of 3.6 in his 13 years in Texas, and was “the” premier catcher of his era.

Ivan Rodriguez is going to be in the Hall of Fame. He is up for induction in 2016, and he will be a first ballot guy, as he should be. The great thing is that he’s back in the Ranger organization, which was a perfect move. He is an ambassador for not only the Rangers, but also the great game of baseball, and I for one, am glad he’s back in Texas, where he is an important figure for this community. Rodriguez had so many memorable moments in Arlington, so many in fact that I cannot begin to list them all or even a few, because that would spawn another great memory, and then another, and then another. He is a Texas Ranger. He played for other teams, and had success, and even won a World Series ring, which is fantastic. But Pudge belongs in Texas. He grew up here as a baseball player, and we grew up with him.

It’s time to not only elect Pudge to The Texas Rangers Hall of Fame in 2013, but it’s also time to tell David Murphy that he needs to find a new number, because #7 needs to be on the facade in left field. I don’t know the criteria for Rangers HOF election, but if there are any, they need to be tossed aside for many people’s favorite Ranger.

Hey Murph. Which number do you want? 

Patrick Despain is the Editor and Sr. Staff Writer for Shutdowninning.com. He can be reached at Patrick.Despain@ShutDownInning.com and on Twitter @ShutDownInning.
Patrick Despain
Patrick is a member of the IBWAA and creator of Shutdown Inning. He was raised him Arlington, Texas and grew up watching games on HSE and listening to Eric Nadel and Mark Holtz on the radio. He is a long time Rangers fan and never achieved his dream of being a bat boy. He know lives in Georgia with dreams of a Texas return.

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