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Kenny Rogers was never supposed to be a great pitcher; in fact, he was never supposed to be a pitcher at all. Rogers was drafted in the 39th round of the 1982 MLB Draft as a right fielder, and was converted to pitcher in the minor leagues. He spent seven seasons in the Minor Leagues before joining the Rangers big-league squad in 1989 as a bullpen pitcher. Rogers spent four seasons in the bullpen before being promoted to the rotation in 1993.
Rogers spent three years in the Rangers rotation from 1993 through 1995, before leaving for the Yankees in free agency. During that time, he earned a combined 44-25 record, higlighted by a 1995 campaign in which he went 17-7 with a 3.38 ERA and 140 strikeouts, earning his first All-Star team selection.
In 1994, Rogers was responsible for one of the greatest moments in Rangers team history. Pitching against the California Angels on July 28, 1994, Rogers threw the first and only perfect game in Rangers history and only the fourteenth in MLB history.
After stints playing for both New York teams and the Oakland Athletics, he returned to Texas as a free agent in 2000. This was the first season in which his outstanding defensive play was recognized, and he earned his first of five Gold Gloves.
Rogers once again left Texas after the 2002 season for a one year stint in Minnesota, but returned for two more seasons in 2004 and 2005 to pitch two of the best seasons of his career. In 2004, he won a career high 18 games, led the league in games started, and earned his second career All-Star selection and third career Gold Glove Award. He earned both honors again the following season, in which he posted a 14-8 record with a 3.46 ERA, his best since the 1998 season.
After the 2005 season, Rogers departed Texas once again for Detroit, where he would pitch in the final three seasons of his career. Rogers won over 200 games in his career, earning a 133-96 record while playing in 12 seasons for the Texas Rangers.
In his long on-again off-again career with the Rangers, Kenny Rogers earned the title as the greatest pitcher in team history.