Number 5 is Josh Hamilton. Hambone’s story is almost mythical. The one time first overall draft pick who threw everything away for drugs and alcohol who fought to regain his place in baseball and his making a run at being one of the greatest players of all time. My thoughts on Hamilton are well known and I won’t go any further into it. Hamilton came to Texas via a trade with Cincinnati on December 21, 2007. In his four years with the Rangers he has posted offensive numbers of .311/.366/.543. He has hit 99 home runs and has tallied 378 RBI. Hamilton has been injury prone throughout his time in Arlington, never playing more than 156 games in a season. Even with his injuries he has been an All-Star every year he has been with Texas, he has been a Silver Slugger twice and the 2010 MVP. With his contract expiring this year he has an ability to spend the rest of his career in Texas and move higher on the Rangers greatest hitters list.
Number 4 is Alex Rodriguez. I HATE Alex Rodriguez. I HATE the fact that he was ever allowed to put on Texas Rangers clothing. He is one of the few players who played through the Steroid age admitted using them while part of the Rangers and has been able to rebuild how his image in the current era of baseball. That being said what he was able to do while a Ranger allows him to stand on his production while in Texas. On January 25, 2001 he signed the most lucrative sports contract up to that time to play in Texas for 10 years $252 million. His offensive numbers for his career with Texas were .305/.395/.615 with 156 HR and 395 RBI. Rodriguez was an All-Star and Silver Slugger every year that he was a Ranger. He was a Gold Glove winner in 2002 and 2003. He was the MVP in his 2003 season. In the three seasons that he played with Texas he missed one game. When he was traded to the Yankees it was, in my opinion, the final straw most Ranger fans need to hate him.
Number 3 is Rusty Greer. Rusty honestly surprised me being this high on the list. He was drafted by the Rangers in the 10th round of the 1990 MLB player draft. He spent all 9 years of his career playing in Arlington. Unlike the previous two players he played his career without a great deal of fanfare. He was never an All-Star nor did he receive any other awards. His career was cut short due to injuries and there is no way to tell what he could have done. Greer began his career well by hitting a home run in his second career at bat. Offensively he was solid and dependable with a line of .305/.387/.478 with 119 home runs and 614 RBI. On August 11, 2007 he was enshrined in the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame.
Number 2 is Julio Franco. Growing up Julio was one of my favorite players. His unique batting style was mesmerizing to young baseball players and hated universally by Little League coaches. Franco joined the Rangers on December 6, 1988 in a trade that sent Pete O’Brian, Oddibe McDowell and Jerry Browne to the Cleveland Indians. In his 5 seasons with the Rangers Franco was an All-Star and Silver Slugger three times. He posted offensive numbers of .307/.382/.440 with 55 home runs and 331 RBI. He was granted free agency on October 27, 1993. In his final year of major league baseball he was 49 years old.
Number 1 is Will Clark. Will “The Thrill” Clark is my number one of all-time best hitter. When I think of Will Clark I must admit that I automatically think of him as a Giant. But his 5 seasons with the Rangers were statistically better than his time in San Francisco. On October 25, 1993 he was signed as a free agent with Texas. His 1994 season was the only season in Texas that he received any accolades by being voted into the All-Star game. The offensive numbers he posted with his time in Arlington were impressive at .308/.395/.485 with 77 home runs and 397 RBI. He had 686 hits and 324 walks. During his time there the Rangers went to their first two ever appearances in the post season. Clark was granted free agency November 5, 1998.
Based on my Top 5 list it may explain why this season is different. Unlike other seasons the Rangers are coming in with a stacked lineup. Instead of one or two power hitters and a speedster this year has the potential for multiple plus .300 hitters, multiple offensive All-Stars, and multiple MVP candidates and there is even some depth on the bench. The post season can be reached on the back of a single star, but it takes many plus players that all buy into the managers strategy to be effective in the playoffs.
I was stunned by the players that didn’t make the top 5 list. In fact the only player who I wasn’t shocked to see in the top 5 was Rodriguez. Among the players I thought would be on the list were Rafael Palmeiro, Ivan Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, Frank Howard, Juan Gonzalez, Michael Young, Ruben Sierra, and Toby Harrah. Maybe they will make your personal list of top 5 Rangers hitters but they didn’t make mine.