On this date in Texas Rangers history, the team inducted its inaugural class into the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame.
On a sweltering August 2, 2003, the Rangers christened their new team Hall of Fame with three former Rangers players and one former Rangers manager — pitcher Nolan Ryan, pitcher Charlie Hough, catcher Jim Sundberg, and manager Johnny Oates.
The quartet hardly needed any introduction to the capacity crowd.
Ryan played for the Rangers from 1989-1993, closing out his Hall of Fame career in Texas. During his five seasons, Ryan won his 300th game, struck out his 5,000th batter, and threw his sixth and seventh no-hitters. His final record as a Ranger was 51-39 with a 3.43 ERA and 939 strikeouts. The Rangers retired his jersey, he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame on the first ballot in 1999, and he eventually became the president of the team during its run to two consecutive World Series in 2010 and 2011.
Hough was the workhorse of the Rangers’ starting rotation in the 1980s, carving out a 24-year Major League career on the back of a knee-buckling knuckleball. While Ryan blazed like a star, Hough left the organization after the 1990 season as its leader in victories (139) and strikeouts (1,452). He ended his career with the Florida Marlins in 1994, completing a 216-216 career record.
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Sundberg was the Rangers’ catcher for a decade (1974-83), and returned for his final two seasons in 1988 and 1989. With the Rangers in his prime, ‘Sunny’ was one of the best defensive catchers in the game, winning six Gold Gloves at the position. He also hit .252 as a Ranger, with 60 home runs and 480 RBI. Like Ryan (New York Mets, 1969), Sundberg won a World Series title away from Arlington, as he caught for the Kansas City Royals in 1985.
Oates took over the Rangers as manager in 1996 and led the Rangers to the postseason for the first time in team history in 1996. The Rangers won three American League West titles under Oates (1996, 1998, 1999), but lost in the Divisional Series all three times to the New York Yankees. Oates finished with a record of 506-476 with the Rangers, and 797-746 for his managerial career, which included a stint with Baltimore from 1991-1994. Oates died in 2004.
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