The Drillers recognized one of their greatest players Thursday night, retiring Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez's number eight.
Rodriguez became the first player to have his number retired in Tulsa Drillers history.
"First thing I saw was my face in one of the columns outside of the stadium,” stated the former Drillers Catcher. “It's kind of nice to see that. It makes me feel very happy to come back to Tulsa."
Drillers baseball looked a little different than when Rodriguez played in 1991. The beautiful ONEOK Field replaced Drillers Stadium, but the weather seems the same.
"What I remember was it was very hot,” Rodriguez recalled. “It was turf. We used to play on the old type of turf, that very thin one."
Rodriguez’s big league career started here in Tulsa. The Texas Rangers called him up straight from Double-A when he was just 19 years old.
"I think almost two months, and finally, the dream came true just to be in the big leagues,” said Rodriguez.
Rodriguez played in more than 2,500 major league games and won 13 gold gloves as one of baseball's all-time great defensive catchers.
"I take a lot of pride in calling good games and making my pitcher that I worked with that night feel comfortable with me behind the plate, blocking balls and throwing guys out,” Rodriguez explained. “That was my game."
Now every game at ONEOK Field will have a reminder of Rodriguez’s legacy.