On this date in Texas Rangers history, the Rangers hosted the first Major League Baseball All-Star game in their history.
Played on July 11, 1995, the Rangers were in their second season in their new Ballpark in Arlington. MLB was happy to bring the pomp and circumstance of the ‘Mid-Summer Classic’ to baseball’s newest home. Country star and Texas native Lyle Lovett sung the National Anthem.
The Rangers had two players named to the American League All-Star team. Catcher Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez started for the American League and played in his fourth All-Star game. Pitcher Kenny Rogers was selected to the AL pitching staff and made his first All-Star team.
Randy Johnson, then of the Seattle Mariners, and Hideo Nomo, then of the Los Angeles Dodgers, were the starting pitchers.
The National League won the game, 3-2, with Heathcliff Slocumb taking the win in relief for the NL, while Steve Ontiveros took the loss for the AL. The NL won the game on three solo home runs by Craig Biggio of the Houston Astros, Mike Piazza of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and Jeff Conine of the Florida Marlins, who was named the game’s most valuable player.
Frank Thomas of the Chicago White Sox hit a home run for the AL.
Also on this date…
July 11, 1978: Rickie Zisk represented the Rangers in the All-Star Game in San Diego. Zisk started for the American League and hit in the fourth position in the order.
July 11, 1980: The Rangers acquire Dodgers pitcher Charlie Hough at the waiver deadline for $20,000. Hough went 139-123 in 11 seasons with the Rangers.
July 11, 1989: Four Rangers — Ruben Sierra, Julio Franco, Jeff Russell and Nolan Ryan represented the Rangers at the All-Star Game, held in Anaheim, California. To that point, they represented the most Rangers to appear in a single All-Star Game. Sierra and Franco were in the starting lineup.
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July 11, 2000: Catcher Ivan ‘Pudge’ Rodriguez was the lone representative for the Rangers in the All-Star Game when it was held in Atlanta. Rodriguez hit No. 6 in the order.
July 11, 2006: Infielder Michael Young was named the Most Valuable Player of the All-Star Game after a game-winning 2-run triple off pitcher Trevor Hoffman. Young was one of two Rangers in the All-Star Game, the other being outfielder Gary Matthews Jr.
July 11, 2015: The Rangers inducted their 11th class into the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame.
On July 11, 2015, former Texas Rangers outfielder Juan Gonzalez and former Texas Rangers pitcher Jeff Russell became the 18th and 19th honorees.
Gonzalez, who signed with the Rangers at age 16 out of Puerto Rico, became one of the team’s most prodigious power hitters during his initial stint with the Rangers, from 1989-1999. He also played with Texas from 2002-2003.
During his first 10 years with the Rangers, he made two All-Star Game appearances, won two American League home run titles, made three postseason appearances and was the 1996 and 1998 American League Most Valuable Player, making him at the time the second Rangers player to win the award (Mike Hargrove, 1974). He was also the first to win it twice.
Gonzalez hit .295 for his career, hitting 434 home runs and 1,404 RBI.
Russell made his name out of the bullpen in the 1980s and 1990s, as he threw for the Rangers from 1985 to 1992, and again from 1995-1996. Russell began his career as a starter, but he quickly became the ninth-inning stopper for manager Bobby Valentine. For his Rangers career, Russell went 42-40 with 134 saves and a 3.73 earned run average. For his Major League career he had 186 saves and 56 victories. Russell was a two-time All-Star and won the 1989 American League Relief Man of the Year award.
Russell was part of the trade that brought Jose Canseco to Texas. But, by re-joining the Rangers for the 1995 and 1996 seasons, he was able to enjoy the Rangers’ first American League West title.
July 11, 2017: At Miami, pitcher Yu Darvish made his fourth All-Star Game appearance and was the Rangers’ lone representative.
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