The Texas Rangers will induct two new members into their hall of fame as part of the 2019 induction class.
It’s the top of the 10th inning. The score is tied at 7-7. Runner on 1st and one out.
The reigning American League MVP steps to the plate.
And then in the words of Joe Buck, “There’s a shot into right! Back at the track…at the wall…Hamilton has gone deep!”
I need to stop now and apologize. It hurts for me to write it, to relive it. We all know the rest.
This was of course after the Nelson Cruz non-catch. But this still could have been it. This should have been it.
There could have been a statue of Hamilton’s swing from game 6 in front of Globe Life Park instead of the awkward Feliz-Molina air hug statue (as iconic and cool of a moment that was/is).
Maybe if Feliz stays in the game instead of Ron Washington bringing in Darren Oliver this would have been it. Or maybe if David Freese wasn’t empowered by perhaps God himself in game 6 then this is the moment that defines not only Josh Hamilton’s career with the Rangers, but even defines the Rangers franchise history.
But we all know this was not it. And Josh Hamilton is instead often remembered by too many fans (even if it is not the majority) for the battles he faced against his demons, dropping a baseball in September, or for saying DFW is not a “true baseball town.”
But we should all remember Josh Hamilton as one of the most talented baseball players to ever wear Texas across his chest and for what he gave us fans over the course of 6 seasons–that is, the greatest run in Rangers franchise history and a chance to watch greatness on a regular basis.
Thankfully, he will be remembered in this way at large because he will be inducted into the Rangers Hall of Fame as part of the 2019 class which includes Richard Green who served as the mayor of Arlington when the ballpark was built in 1994.
Green played a significant role in helping push toward the construction of a new stadium and so this is a special moment for him to be honored as part of the final induction at Globe Life Park.
But of course, the headline of this year’s class is former Rangers outfielder, Josh Hamilton.
Hamilton spent 2008-2012 as well as 2015 with the Texas Rangers. His career numbers in Texas included a .302 avg (9th all time), 150 HR (14th), 531 RBI (13th), and an ops of .901 (3rd).
More notable than his career statistics with the Rangers, however, is the impact he had on the organization and his accomplishments. In 6 seasons with the Rangers, Hamilton was named an all star 5 times, a 3 time silver slugger, and won the American League MVP in 2010.
Purely in terms of awards and accomplishments, very few Rangers are more decorated. Hamilton has more all star appearances as a Ranger than all current members of the hall of fame except Michael Young, Juan Gonzalez, and Ivan Rodriguez. He even has more career all star appearances than Adrian Beltre. Hamilton is also one of just four Rangers to ever win the MVP award joining Gonzalez (’97 and ’99), Pudge Rodriguez (’01) and Alex Rodriguez (’03).
Even more important than any of this, though, is Hamilton helping lead the Rangers to consecutive World Series appearances in 2010 and 11. These still remain the only two A.L. Pennant seasons in franchise history and Hamilton was the face of this team in that run and era.
Hamilton’s career with Texas may have only spanned six seasons but this still is longer than some current Rangers Hall of Famers spent with the team including Nolan Ryan and John Wetteland.
And he deserves to be celebrated for what he was regardless of what could have been. He was arguably the greatest player in baseball for a 4-5 year span that produced the best run in Rangers franchise history.
I look forward to seeing Josh back at Globe Life Park one more time for his induction on August 17 before the Rangers play the Minnesota Twins.
Congratulations and thank you for all the memories, Josh.