In a dramatic change of plans, the Texas Rangers have decided to induct former slugger Juan Gonzalez to the team’s Hall of Fame along with former teammate Ivan Rodriguez.
The two-time American League MVP declined the honor, but the team will include him anyway “because that’s what our fans want,” said team president Jon Daniels. Since Gonzalez refused to attend the celebrations scheduled for July 19 and 20, the Rangers are bringing Pete Rose to stand in for the ex-Ranger, who left baseball under suspicion of using performance-enhancing drugs.
Rose, the all-time baseball hit king, is banned from the game – and Cooperstown – for betting on baseball when he managed the Cincinnati Reds. “Here’s a guy who appreciates a Hall of Fame,” Daniels said. “We figured that would make him an ideal stand-in for Juan.”
In addition to the ceremonies, Rose will sign Gonzalez’ name on baseballs and other memorabilia for prices starting at $50.