Celebrating 50 years of Texas Rangers baseball
2000’s: The A-Rod years and JD Rebuilds the Club
The 2000’s Rangers were bad. With zero playoff births, a maligned ownership, and only 2 winning seasons in the entire decade, Rangers fans had no idea of the special moments to come in the short future. While there wasn’t much winning, the big moments that did happen were definitely special, and by decades end they were finally building a real contender in Arlington.
The A-Rod Trade:
You can’t talk about the history of the Rangers without mentioning the negative impact of the massive 10 year, $252 Million contract Alex Rodriguez was given prior to the 2001 season, a deal that is still massive even in today’s standards. The deal was so bad for Texas he’ll be receiving paychecks from it until he is 50. That’s not to say he didn’t deserve his money, regardless of steroids, A-Rod averaged 52 home runs and a 1.011 OPS, which netted him 3 Silver Sluggers, 1 MVP, and 3 All-Star appearances. While Texas nearly had a trade lined up to get Manny Ramirez from the Red Sox, it fell through, allowing the Yankees to receive Rodriguez for Alfonso Soriano and Joaquin Arias. This hurt the Rangers incredibly for years to come, but don’t worry, the Rangers eventually got their revenge.
2004 and 2009:
Each of these seasons were very different, but both very important. 2004 was a storybook run that just fell short. Off of the backs of emergence of stars like Michael Young, Mark Teixeira, Soriano, and Hank Blalock. The Rangers unexpected run fell short as they were only 2 games back from winning the division with 10 games to go, but ultimately lost 6 of the last 10 games to drop all the way to 3rd. The ensuing years were rough and filled with controversy and injuries, which eventually resulted in then General Manager John Hart stepping down, allowing Jon Daniels to become the youngest general manager of all time, and boy wasn’t that a good move, as JD proceeded to make flurries of moves eventually building the future World Series teams.
2009 on the other hand saw the Rangers soar into contention due to trades that were made in earlier years by Jon Daniels, specifically the Mark Teixeira trade, resulting in bringing Matt Harrison, Neftali Feliz, and Elvis Andrus to Texas. All of these guys either made their debut in 2008 or 2009, combining with Nelson Cruz(who broke out as a regular during the ’09 season), Josh Hamilton, Michael Young, Ian Kinsler, Derek Holland, and several other talented young players. This was truly the first season where the Rangers had hopes of winning it all in the near future.
Sammy Sosa 600th Home Run:
Regardless of steroids, it’s still pretty amazing to see a players 600th home run, and Sosa did just that. On June 20th, 2007 Sosa became the 5th player in history to reach the 600 home run mark, and he did it against his former team.
Rangers 30 Run Game:
On August 22, 2007 the Texas Rangers put up 30 runs in a 30-3 rout against the Orioles. On this date the Rangers became the first team in 110 years to score 30 runs in one game.
Josh Hamilton’s Home Run Derby:
On July 14th, 2008 Josh Hamilton stepped into the batters box in the house that Ruth built and hammered 28 first round home runs in the 2008 Home Run Derby. 2008 was the year Hamilton broke onto the scene, and this was his moment, reaching superstardom from the ashes of being banned from baseball from 2003-2005 due to substance abuse. Hamilton hit homer after homer, with one even reaching an astounding 518 feet in distance. This was one of the most memorable nights in not only Rangers history, but in baseball history, as it happened in front of the entire world at old Yankee stadium, and tell me, what’s a more magical than that?
Who Best Represents This Decade?
What can be said about the Rangers captain? Debuting as a Ranger in 2000, Young took a bit to become what we know of him now. Once Michaels 3rd season came around though, Young became a household name. He rallied off 5 straight seasons with 200 hits, totaling 6 200 hit seasons in his career, along with 7 All-Star appearances, and 1 Gold Glove. He was a fan favorite and became the veteran presence for the World Series runs of 2010 and 2011. Young leads the Rangers in all-time hits, all-time doubles, all-time triples, all-time runs scored, most hits in a single season, most doubles in a single season, and was 3rd all-time in RBI’s. Although Young missed out on the MLB Hall of Fame, he is a member of the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame.
Other notable players/people in the era:
Josh Hamilton, Hank Blalock, Mark Teixeira, Ian Kinsler, Alfonso Soriano, Francisco Cordero, Ron Wahsington