I’ll never forget how I felt that day sitting in my barracks room in Pensacola, FL. Young was not only my favorite Ranger at the time, but he was a favorite to many other fans as well.
As fans, we tend to grow attached to our favorite players. They don’t always have to be the best player on the team. Maybe they play the same position you played. Maybe you just like their name, such as my first ever favorite player as a child, Mickey Tettleton.
Regardless of why you like the player, though, it’s never easy to see them leave your favorite team, whether it’s through free agency or via trade.
Yesterday afternoon, I, along with so many other fans experienced that feeling all over again when some major news broke. This time, it was Elvis Andrus who the club was moving on from as they traded him to the division rival Oakland A’s.
In many ways, the Young and Andrus stories are similar.
Andrus, like Young was, is at the tail end of his career and found himself without an every day spot in the lineup.
Both players were unhappy with the direction their role with the team was headed. For Young, it was Andrus who forced him to make the move from Shortstop to 3B.
Having already experienced this feeling doesn’t make it any easier, though. There aren’t enough words to describe what Elvis Andrus has meant to the Texas Rangers franchise, as well as the community here in DFW.
He finishes his Rangers career with two All-Star appearances, placing first in team history in steals, and top-three in games played, runs scored, and total hits. There is no doubt in my mind that he will one day be in the Rangers Hall of Fame.
Elvis Andrus made the Texas Rangers fun.
But it was more than just the numbers on the field. If you ever needed an indication that baseball players have fun, all you had to do was find Elvis and he would be that reminder for you.
He always had a smile on his face. Who could forget all of his antics with Adrian Beltre when they shared the left side of the infield? Or the Powerade baths after every win with the help of Rougned Odor? Elvis brought a joy to the field with him every single day that you don’t see with most players.
Elvis Andrus was a driving force for the Texas Rangers both on and off the field.
No. 1 was a fixture in the community too. Every time the Rangers had a charitable event, or visited a children’s hospital during the holidays, or a food drive, he was there. Whatever it was, it always seemed as though Elvis was there front and center bringing a smile to the faces of those around him.
Sure, his production on the field has never been the same since he broke his elbow in 2018. And in 2020, he battled a back injury all year which caused his season to be downright bad. Those injuries and missed opportunities won’t make it any easier to see him wearing green and gold next year, though.
I can tell you right now, if there are fans in the stands in 2021 I’m going to do my best to be in attendance the first time Oakland comes to town.
And when Elvis Andrus steps into the box, I’ll be on my feet cheering loudly to show my appreciation for everything he did in his time in a Rangers uniform. I hope if you’re there, you’ll do that as well.
So with all that being said, I’d like to finish with this: Thank you Elvis. It was an absolute pleasure to watch you for 12 years in Texas.
Keep on bringing that smile to the ballpark every day, and we’ll see you back in Arlington soon when you’re welcomed in to the Rangers Hall of Fame.