Texas Rangers Franchise Four: The Case for Josh Hamilton

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On Wednesday, Major League Baseball announced their “Franchise Four” campaign. This is a contest for fans to vote for “most impactful players who best represent each Major League franchise and several other significant categories in the sport’s history.” According to the press release 8 ballot players were “selected based on the recommendations of a blue-ribbon panel, in consultation with the 30 Clubs. The panel was asked to identify “the most impactful players who best represent the history of each franchise (or special category)” for the ballot.

If you are signed up to receive emails from the Texas Rangers then you have probably already seen who is on the ballot for Texas. If not the 8 players are – Adrian Beltre, Juan Gonzalez, Josh Hamilton, Frank Howard, Rafael Palmeiro, Ivan Rodriguez, Nolan Ryan and Michael Young – all of them, in my opinion, are equally deserving. However, Texas Rangers fans are once again voicing their opinion about Hamilton.

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We are all too familiar with what happened that day in Oakland in the outfield, therefore I do not feel the need to harp on it any longer. We also know the struggles Hamilton has dealt with in his life. I’m not going to debate whether or not one should or shouldn’t feel a certain way about Josh Hamilton. I have strong opinions about Hamilton, but they are just that–opinions–which doesn’t make them right or wrong.

I will, however, say this, if you have ever dealt with addiction either personally or known someone who has, then I hope you understand how extraordinary it was for Hamilton to make his way back to baseball. Not only to did he come back to baseball, but when he did he helped the Texas Rangers find their way to not one but two World Series. He was even named the 2010 American League Championship Series MVP. If you take away the dropped ball in Oakland and him leaving Texas for more money I don’t see what else anyone could logically complain about.

I wasn’t going to write about the current events that are surrounding Josh Hamilton, but after I saw the ballot and fans’ reactions, it really made me feel sad for him. It also made me sad for the game I, we, all love. Because to me the way his current discretion(s) is being handled is indelicate and extremely unprofessional. And not by Josh Hamilton.

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I think the way the Los Angeles Angels handled themselves as an organization is, well, disgusting. I also think that if you are even remotely familiar with baseball you’ve heard about Hamilton’s comeback story

before

you decided to throw $125M at him. So forgive me if I feel the handling of the situation is less than palatable. Not only by the Angels but of Commissioner Rob Manfred.

I think Craig Calcaterra of Hardball Talk says it best – and much nicer than I would – in his article “…it seems Manfred is saying that he’ll never, ever investigate leaks of this information because a lot of people “know about something” and, well, I guess stuff happens.” But, this is what I really enjoyed because I believe this is so very much the reason for MLB’s non-investigation of the Angels:

"…because you are unwilling to even investigate — not just punish, but even investigate — a clear violation of the JDA when it means that you may have to make a club uncomfortable."

This really helps no one involved. Well, maybe just the new commish’s relationship with the owners? Nonetheless, I think most fans that boo and refuse to remember why he deserves this vote (as much as he probably needs it from fans) are either holding onto the past a little too tightly or they are judging him based on his ongoing, life-long battle with addiction and neither of those are enough for me not to vote for him.

I believe he represented the club well. I believe he played the best ball of his career here because he loved being here and we showed him how much we loved having him here. And because of those things we got to see our Texas Rangers play in back-to-back World Series. To me, those two seasons alone make Josh Hamilton one of the most impactful players in Texas Rangers franchise history.

If you disagree (and even if you don’t) be sure to vote for the Texas Rangers Franchise Four before May 8.

NEVER.EVER.QUIT.

Next: Rangers Season Predicted by a Video Game?

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