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Rangers induct first Hall of Famers
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07/30/2003 10:33 PM ET 
Rangers induct first Hall of Famers
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Nolan Ryan led all players in the fan voting for the Rangers Hall of Fame. (Jesse Sanchez/MLB.com)
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ARLINGTON -- Former Rangers pitchers Nolan Ryan and Charlie Hough, catcher Jim Sundberg and manager Johnny Oates will be honored as the first class enshrined into the Texas Rangers Baseball Hall of Fame this weekend.

The foursome will be inducted during an on-field ceremony prior to the Rangers-Indians game on Saturday, Aug. 2. Bronze plaques honoring the inductees will be on permanent display on the main concourse of the Ballpark in Arlington.

Oates, who was the Rangers manager from 1995-2001 while guiding Texas to three AL West Division titles in a four-year span, is currently battling a brain tumor. He's feeling better and plans on attending the event.


RANGERS HALL OF FAME VIDEO

Former manager Johnny Oates
Tom Grieve, Bobby Witt and Nolan Ryan talk about the Rangers' "solid and steady ... thoroughly prepared" former skipper Johnny Oates. "I was fortunate to have him as a manager," said Witt.
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Living legend Nolan Ryan
Hard-throwing righty Nolan Ryan was "by far one of the most dominant players I've ever played with," said Bobby Witt. "Every night he went out, there was the possibility of seeing history."
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Former backstop Jim Sundberg
Teammates talk about their "Sunny" memories."You knew Jim for the competitor that he was," said Nolan Ryan. "He was a complete player for the Rangers."
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Former pitcher Charlie Hough
Knuckleball artist Charlie Hough was "able to combine old school with new school" said Tom Grieve. He would ride a conditioning bike after games, but that wasn't Gatorade he was drinking.
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Bonus cuts: Ranger Greats
Oddibe McDowell
The former Texas outfielder discusses the differences between Arlington Stadium and The Ballpark, how to get a triple and his first fantasy camp.
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Bobby Witt
Former Texas hurler Bobby Witt isn't in the Rangers Hall of Fame (yet), but he has some great stories.
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Pete O'Brien
The former first baseman with superb defense and a solid bat discusses the transition to DH and the future of the Rangers.
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"What an unbelievable honor this is, for a number of reasons," Oates said in a conference call last month. "No. 1, for being in the first class. No. 2, for the gentlemen that I'm going in with, I've known for a long time (as) not only being outstanding baseball personalities, but being quality people. Third of all, just being part of the Texas Rangers organization.

"I'd like to thank those who voted me this honor. It's a thrill for my family, and we look forward to returning to Texas."

The Hall of Fame was created to honor players, managers, coaches, executives and broadcasters for outstanding performance and service with the organization. The players were selected by fan voting. More than 75,000 votes were cast overall, with Ryan topping the voting.

"Obviously my Ranger years rate very high in my career," Ryan said. "The Rangers gave me an opportunity to come here and play, and the fans treated me so well. I have nothing but fond memories here. When I think back on my career, my Ranger days are high on my list. I look at it as something very special."

Hough is the club's all-time leader in both innings and wins. The knuckleball pitcher said he feels privileged to be inducted.

"It's really nice," said Hough during the call. "It's a special honor to be in with these guys. I spent a lot of great years in Texas, and I'm looking forward to going back, seeing the guys and having a wonderful day."

Sundberg, the Rangers all-time leader in games played, and a Gold Glove winner from 1976-1981, was selected Rangers Player of the Year in 1977.

"This is very special, a very special day," Sundberg said via telephone. "One is the privilege of having been in a Texas Ranger uniform and having pride in that before there was probably reason to have pride in it. It's an honor to be in the first class."

Jesse Sanchez is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.





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