JUAN GONZALEZ AND JEFF RUSSELL INDUCTED
INTO TEXAS RANGERS BASEBALL HALL OF FAME
Gonzalez and Russell are 18th and 19th inductees
Arlington, Texas—Two-time American League Most Valuable Player Juan Gonzalez and the A.L.’s 1989 Fireman of the Year Jeff Russell, were inducted as the 18th and 19th members of the Texas Rangers Baseball Hall of Fame on Saturday.
Gonzalez, who was unable to attend the ceremony, was inducted by fellow Hall of Famer Tom Grieve. Gonzalez’ plaque was accepted by his son, Juan Gonzalez, Jr., who attended the event with a number of members of the Gonzalez family. Russell was inducted by Tom House, who was the Rangers’ pitching coach from 1985-92.
Rangers Hall of Famers who participated in the ceremony included Charlie Hough (2003), Jim Sundberg (2003), Rusty Greer (2007), Toby Harrah (2009), Ruben Sierra (2009), Tom Grieve (2010), Ivan Rodriguez (2013), and Tom Schieffer (2014).
Gonzalez and Russell were elected in voting conducted by the Hall of Fame selection committee, which is comprised of all living Texas Rangers Hall of Fame inductees, veteran members of the media, and Rangers club officials.
Gonzalez was one of the majors’ top offensive performers throughout the 1990’s. The outfielder-designated hitter played for Texas from 1989-99 and again in 2002-03 and is the club’s all-time leader in home runs (372), RBI (1180), and extra base hits (713). The right-handed hitter ranks among the leaders in total bases (2nd, 3073), slugging (2nd, .565), runs (3rd, 878), hits (4th, 1595), doubles (4th, 320), at bats (4th, 5435), and games (5th, 1400).
The slugger earned his first MVP Award in 1996, batting .314 with 47 homers and 144 RBI in just 134 games while setting a club record with a .643 slugging percentage as Texas advanced to the postseason for the first time in franchise history. In the four-game ALDS with the New York Yankees, Gonzalez clubbed five homers with nine RBI and a .438 average. He established team records with 157 RBI and 97 extra base hits and led the A.L. in RBI and doubles (50) in winning his second MVP Award in 1998. Gonzalez earned Rangers Player of the Year honors five times (1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998), matching Michael Young for the most ever.
A five-time selection to A.L. Silver Slugger Team, Gonzalez started the 1993 and 1998 All-Star Games. He also led the A.L. in home runs in 1992 and 1993 and slugging in 1993, producing 20 or more homers nine times with 40+ HR on five occasions as a Ranger. Gonzalez had 100+ RBI seven times and hit .300 or better in four different seasons while batting .293 in his Texas career. Overall, he hit .295 with 434 homers and 1404 RBI in 1689 games while also playing for Detroit (2000), Cleveland (2001; 2005), and Kansas City (2004).
Russell is the Rangers’ all-time leader in relief appearances (406) and games finished (251), and ranks second in total appearances (445) and saves (134). The right-hander, who pitched for Texas from 1985-92 and again in 1995-96 has the 11th best career earned run average at 3.73 (min. 400.0 IP). He recorded 20 or more saves four times with 30+ saves twice.
Russell was a starter in the early years of his Rangers career and earned selection to the A,L. All-Star team in 1988, when he won his first seven decisions of the season. He moved into the closer’s role in 1989 and led the American League with 38 saves and 66 games finished, both club records at the time (games finished mark still stands). Russell posted a 1.98 ERA over his 71 appearances that season and was selected as the A.L’s Fireman of the Year. He joined National Baseball Hall of Famer Rich Gossage as the only pitchers at that time to be selected to the All-Star team as first a starter and then a reliever in consecutive seasons.
He saved 30 games in 1991 and had 28 saves in 1992 when he was traded with Ruben Sierra and Bobby Witt to Oakland in the deal for Jose Canseco on August 31. Russell returned to the Rangers for his final two major league seasons, posting 20 saves in 1995 and appearing in 55 games for the A.L. West champs in 1996. Overall, he won 56 games with 186 saves and a 3.75 ERA in 589 games with the Rangers, Reds (1983-84), A’s (1992), Red Sox (1993-94), and Indians (1994).
Beginning with the 2009 inductions, a selection committee meets to consider individuals for the Hall of Fame based on their playing contributions in every odd year. In even years, individuals in a non-playing capacity are considered for induction.
The copy on Gonzalez’ and Russell’s Hall of Fame plaques is attached.
TEXAS RANGERS BASEBALL HALL OF FAME MEMBERS (Year Inducted in parentheses)
Charlie Hough (2003) Toby Harrah (2009)
Johnny Oates (2003) Ruben Sierra (2009)
Nolan Ryan (2003) Tom Grieve (2010)
Jim Sundberg (2003) Kenny Rogers (2011)
Buddy Bell (2004) Eric Nadel (2012)
Ferguson Jenkins (2004) Ivan Rodriguez (2013)
Tom Vandergriff (2004) Tom Schieffer (2014)
Mark Holtz (2005) Juan Gonzalez (2015)
John Wetteland (2005) Jeff Russell (2015)
Rusty Greer (2007)
– RANGERS –