Friday, July 15, 2011

All-Time Texas Rangers

In the wake of the MLB All-Star game, I would like to take a short break from Football related posts and apologize to my readers for my lack of Baseball-oriented posts at the height of Baseball season. My deficiency of baseball posts is not due to a lack of interest or opinion, it's just that I've felt like there's not been much for me to say about recent events that hasn't already been said by a sports talk host or journalist. Not to mention it's kind of hard for me to do "Pick 'ems" for baseball games due to their frequency. Just wait til the playoffs. So anyway, to make up for this lack of Baseball on your favorite blog, I've assembled my All-Time Texas Rangers team. Hopefully this team brings back fond memories for older fans, and helps younger ones further appreciate how good times are now. It's worth noting, I included 3 starting pitchers for the sake of fairness. GO RANGERS! 

Catcher- Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez: Likely the greatest player to ever don a Rangers uniform. Pudge has become the model for a successful MLB catcher. The 1999 AL MVP made 10 consecutive All-Star teams (starting on 9). Pudge also won 10 consecutive Golden Gloves and 6 Silver Sluggers. Simply put, he dominated his position in the 90's. He had a career BA of .304, 217 HRs, and 842 RBIs. He also rarely missed a game, averaging 136 games per season during the later half of the 90's decade. It was a very sad day when Pudge left Texas. It will be hard to ever find another Ranger catcher anywhere close.         Backup: Jim Sundberg

First Baseman- Rafael Palmeiro: Let's take steroids out of the equation for a sec and be real. Needles or not, Palmeiro is one of the greatest Rangers to ever step into the batters' box. Statistically, he ranks in the top 3 in most offensive categories for Texas. His career BA of .290 is impressive, but it's his 321 HRs and 1,039 RBIs that are really head turning. He led the MLB in runs in '93, hits in '90, and tied for the league lead in doubles in '91. The steroid era is a tricky thing to talk about and presents some problems when talking about the best all-time, but in my opinion, Palmeiro still deserves the nod for the best 1st Baseman. Palmeiro is also a 2-time All-Star and owns one Golden Glove.    Backup: Will Clark

Second Baseman- Toby Harrah: This 3-time All-Star, who played in the '70s and '80s for Texas, is one of 9 Rangers to reach 1,000 hits. Harrah ranks 6th All-time in games played with 1,220, and was versatile, making starts not only at 2nd, but shortstop and 3rd Base as well. His career BA was .259 and he blasted 122 HRs while driving in 546 RBIs. Harrah also ranks 2nd in Rangers' history in stolen bases with 143.     Backup: Ian Kinsler

Shortstop- Alex Rodriguez: There was a time, long ago in the early 2000's, when every man, woman and child did not hate A-Rod, and he played for the Texas Rangers. Those were the days. In this mystical age of 3 seasons, A-Rod averaged .305 from the plate, hit 156 HRs and had 395 RBIs; that's an average of 52 HRs and 132 RBIs a season. Wow. All 3 of his seasons in Texas, he was a starter on the All-Star team and won 2 Golden Gloves. He was also AL MVP in 2003. Then of course, he fell to the dark side and started playing for the Yankees. Disgusting how that happens. Backup: Julio Franco 

Third Baseman- Buddy Bell: This 4-time All-Star ranks in the top 10 in 11 offensive categories in Rangers history. Bell had a solid career BA of .293 (hitting at least .294 in 5 of his 8 seasons). He also hit 87 HRs and has 499 RBIs as a Ranger. His fielding was equally impressive, as Bell won 6 consecutive Golden Gloves during his Texas career. Backup: Larry Parrish 

Left Field- Rusty Greer: Certainly an All-Time fan favorite from his time in Arlington, Rusty Greer was a great hitter to say the very least. While averaging .305 during his Rangers career, he hit at least .296 in 7 of his 9 Texas seasons. Greer hit 119 HRs and 614 RBIs for the Rangers. He can also be credited with 17 walk-off hits. It would not be a stretch to say that he was the Josh Hamilton of his day.                                            Backup: Ruben Sierra

Center Field- Josh Hamilton: I don't care who your favorite team is; it is impossible to not love Josh Hamilton. Between the redemption story, the strong faith, and awesome play on the field, this dude is about as awesome as they come. His Rangers career isn't anywhere near over yet, and he's already started in the All-Star game in each of his 4 seasons and was the 2010 AL MVP, helping Texas make it's first World Series appearance. His career BA is .313 and up to this year he has hit 85 HRs and 333 RBIs. He's also a solid fielder. In 2010, his .359 BA led the MLB and is the highest single-season BA in Rangers history. Backup: Al Oliver 

Right Field- Juan Gonzalez: Gonzalez can easily be in the conversation for the greatest Ranger of All-Time. The man was a Slugger. He is the only 2-time AL MVP in Rangers' history and is the franchise leader in HRs (372), RBIs (1,180), and extra-base hits. For 5 seasons, he did not hit less than 40 HRs and led the league twice. He also had 7 seasons of at least 100 RBIs. Backup: Jeff Burroughs

Pitcher- Nolan Ryan: Every Rangers fan knows who Nolan Ryan is, whether as a player, current team president, or knockout hitter (hitter with fists that is, not a bat). He is one of 2 Rangers to have their jersey number retired, and for good reason. In his first season with the Rangers, at 42, Ryan was not a young man, but still led the MLB in strikeouts with 301. He led the League again the next year, with 232. He struck out 939 batters in 840 innings during his Rangers career, en route to a 51-39 record and 3.30 career ERA. Ryan threw 2 no-hitters, earned his 300th victory, and threw his 5,000th career strikeout all playing for Texas. Backup: Fergie Jenkins

Pitcher- Charlie Hough: Some would consider Hough to be the greatest pitcher in Rangers history. I'm not one of those some, as I'm partial to Nolan Ryan, but Hough is no lower than 2nd best ever. Thanks to his command of the knuckleball, Hough is the franchise leader in wins (139-123 record), complete games, innings, and strikeouts. His 3.68 ERA is 6th in Rangers history. This one-time All-Star only won less than 10 games twice in his 11 year Rangers career. Backup: Kevin Brown

Pitcher- Kenny Rogers:
No, not the country singer. This Kenny Rogers is the only player in Rangers history to pitch a perfect game. This 3-time All-Star ranks first in games played, 2nd in wins (133-96 record) and innings, and 3rd in strikeouts. He also won 4 Golden Gloves throughout his 12 year Ranger career and posted a career ERA of 4.16.
Backup: John Wetteland

Designated Hitter- Michael Young: I cannot say enough good things about Michael Young. The man is the definition of a team-first guy, as he has allowed the Rangers to move him all over the defensive infield throughout his career to best help the team. But his brightest point is his offensive ability. He is already the all-time franchise leader in games, at-bats, runs, hits, doubles, triples, and multi-hit games. The 7-time All-Star (game MVP in '06) has a career BA of .301 and has hit 166 HRs and driven in 870 RBIs. He has recorded 200 hits in 5 seasons and is responsible for 4 of the Rangers top 6 hitting seasons of All-Time. He also had the MLB's best BA in 2005. With all these accomplishments under his belt, Young's career is still far from over. 
Backup: Mike Hargrove

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