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Rangers notes: Inductees honored
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08/01/2003  9:38 PM ET 
Rangers notes: Inductees honored
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Jim Sundberg, Nolan Ryan and Johnny Oates at the Dr Pepper Texas Rangers Monthly Luncheon Series on Friday. (MLB.com/Scott Burchett)
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ARLINGTON -- Three of the four members of the innaugural class of the Texas Rangers Baseball Hall of Fame were the honored guests at this month's Dr Pepper Texas Rangers monthly luncheon Friday at the Wyndham Hotel near The Ballpark in Arlington.

Nolan Ryan, who recorded his 5,000th strikeout, 300th win, and sixth and seventh no-hitters in a Texas uniform; catcher Jim Sundberg, first in team history in games played and a six-time Gold Glove recipient; and manager Johnny Oates, who guided Texas to its first three postseason appearances ever, all attended the event.

"Every no-hitter, I can go back and reflect back on it and remember a catch that was made in that game that could have been the difference on whether it was a no-hitter or a one-hitter," Ryan said. " When those things happen, you got a shot at it. Other times a ball will be hit and it's not playable.

"I was very blessed to be able to pitch 27 years. To pitch that long on the Major League level I feel very fortunate. I feel very fortunate that I was able to pitch myself a no-hitter and do it here in Arlington."

Charlie Hough, the Rangers' all-time leader in wins, complete games, innings, and strikeouts, did not attend the luncheon but will participate in the pregame ceremony before Saturday's game against Cleveland.

"I came here in 1974," Sundberg said. "What I saw was when someone introduced me to another person, 'Hey, this is Jim Sundberg of the Texas Rangers,' you always got this confused look trying to figure out what branch of law enforcement I was in. I remember early on someone wanted to know when they were going to let the Rangers in the Major Leagues. Those early years were interesting."

The players were selected for the Hall of Fame in fan voting conducted at The Ballpark in Arlington and through the Internet in April and May. Ryan topped the voting, followed by Hough and Sundberg as nearly 75,000 total votes were cast.

A committee of local media members selected the names of the players for the fan ballot. Fans were asked to vote for up to three players for election. The other players on the fan ballot were (alphabetically): Buddy Bell, Jeff Burroughs, Will Clark, Mike Hargrove, Toby Harrah, Ferguson Jenkins, Al Oliver, Larry Parrish, Gaylord Perry, and John Wetteland. To be eligible for election to the Texas Rangers Baseball Hall of Fame, an individual must be retired as an active Major League player for a minimum of two seasons.

"I think any time you're honored by what you consider your fans, your fan base, being here from Texas I'm very proud of that," Ryan said. "I've been able to play 14 years in Texas. When your hometown fans honor you in that way it's very special."

Oates was selected for induction by the media committee from a category that included managers, coaches, executives, and broadcasters.

"I can't believe it," Oates said. "I'm so honored to go in with Nolan, Sunny and Charlie. I just feel so honored and so blessed.

The Texas Rangers Baseball Hall of Fame was created in November 2002 to honor players, managers, coaches, executives, and broadcasters for outstanding performance and service with the organization. Annual elections are planned for the Hall of Fame.

"This is very special, a very special day," Sundberg said. "One is the privileges of having been in a Texas Rangers 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."

Around the horn: Second baseman Michael Young has been selected as the Rangers Player of the Month for July. He hit .319 with four home runs and 21 RBIs in 27 games during the month to earn his first team monthly honor. ... Rangers manager Buck Showalter and general manager John Hart are expected to meet with injured outfielder Rusty Greer to discuss his role in the future. Showalter is fond of Greer as a player and a leader and would like him to become more involved in the organization. ... Ismael Valdes, placed on the disabled list retroactive to July 24 with patella tendinitis in his left knee is improving, but is not sure if he will be ready when he becomes eligible to be activated. ... The first 25,000 fans Saturday will receive a full-color print featuring the four inductees to the Rangers Baseball Hall of Fame Class of 2003.

Probables:

Sunday (7:05) -- Brian Anderson (8-8, 4.18) vs. R.A. Dickey (4-5, 4.97)

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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