Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Current Rangers make mark on all-time list
By Richard Durrett
ARLINGTON, Texas -- We recently asked fans to give us their starting lineup, including a DH, four starting pitchers and a closer as part of ESPN Dallas' all-time Ranger team.
View and discuss the results.
The results are in and certainly many recent Rangers, including a handful from this 2010 edition, made the list. The winners:
Outfield: Josh Hamilton, Juan Gonzalez, Rusty Greer
It's tough for me to argue here. Hamilton is an AL MVP candidate and had the great 2008 season and while he's early in his Ranger career, he appears to have a bright future. Juan Gonzalez won two AL MVP Awards (1996 and 1998) and was an integral part of those AL West championship teams in the mid-to-late 1990s. Rusty Greer, always a fan favorite, is a Ranger Hall of Famer and a guy who made a living getting big hits. Others certainly deserved some consideration, like Ruben Sierra and Jeff Burroughs (won the AL MVP in 1974).
First base: Rafael Palmeiro
He had a .290 batting average, a .897 OPS, 321 homers and 1,039 RBIs during his 10 seasons in Texas. And while Will Clark, Mark Teixeira and Mike Hargrove got votes, Palmeiro because of his longevity and production won out.
Second base: Ian Kinsler
His value seems to come into view even more when he's hurt and not in the lineup. But Kinsler has given the lineup some pop and speed since he's been here and he's got many more years left. Kinsler beat out Julio Franco, who finished 11 percent back of Kinsler.
Third base: Micheal Young
This is a no-brainer since it's his current position and where he'd have to fall in the all-time lineup (since we're doing this in 2010). Young is a great team player, willing to move positions twice for the club, and the franchise's all-time hits leader. With apologies to Buddy Bell, Young is an automatic on this team.
Shortstop: Alex Rodriguez
Now the Yankee third baseman, Rodriguez signed the richest contract in league history at the Winter Meetings in Dallas, when Tom Hicks paid $250 million for him. While it's fair to argue that no one is worth that much, Rodriguez was a productive player in three seasons in Texas. He hit .305 with 156 homers and 395 RBIs. He won the AL MVP in 2003.
Manager: Johnny Oates
Another easy choice considering Oates took the team to its only three AL West titles to this point (1996, 1998 and 1999). He was named AL Manager of the Year in 1996. He's second among Ranger managers with 983 games all-time, 506 victories and a .515 winning percentage from 1995-2001. Bobby Valentine edged out Ron Washington for second, but both were well back of Oates.
Catcher: Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez
Jim Sundberg certainly set the standard for Ranger catchers and Pudge Rodriguez lived up to it. He won the 1999 AL MVP Award after helping the team win the AL West for the third time in four seasons. He won 10 Gold Gloves while in Texas, breaking Sundberg's mark of six. Rodriguez hit .304 with 217 homers and 842 RBIs in 13 years with the Rangers.
Designated hitter: Vladimir Guerrero
Though he's not even played in Texas but part of 2010, Guerrero has made a mark with fans. Much of that is from his domination of the club as a member of the Angels. But Guerrero, despite some struggles in July and into August, is one of the club's top offensive producers this season and a big reason Texas is on top of the AL West. We'll see if Guerrero's tenure as a Ranger lasts more than just this season as there's a mutual option for next season in his contract.
Starting Pitchers: Nolan Ryan, Kenny Rogers, Fergie Jenkins, Kevin Brown, Charlie Hough
As much as the Rangers have struggled at times to put together a solid rotation, they have had some great pitchers come through Arlington. Ryan was an automatic here and Fergie Jenkins, a Ranger Hall of Famer, won a league-high 25 games in a memorable 1974 season. Rogers, in 12 seasons in Texas, was 133-96 with a 4.16 ERA. The lefty was one of the better defenders at his position, winning Gold Gloves with Texas four times (2000, 2002, 2004, 2005). Brown and Hough round out the five-man rotation. Brown compiled a 78-64 record and a 3.81 ERA in eight years in Texas. He was 21-11 in 1992 with a 3.86 ERA and finished sixth in the Cy Young voting. Hough, another Ranger Hall of Famer, anchored the rotation for nearly 10 years with that knuckleball. He's the all-time club leader in wins at 139 and had 98 complete games in 2,307 2/3 innings.
Closer: John Wetteland
He is the Rangers' all-time saves leader with 150 of them after arriving in Texas as a free agent fresh of a World Series MVP award with the Yankees in 1996. He was 20-12 with a 2.95 ERA in 248 relief appearances and became the 12th pitcher at the time to reach 300 saves when he did it in May 2000. he made three all-Star games while with the Rangers and was a key piece of the bullpen during AL West titles in 1998 and 1999. Francisco Cordero picked up a few votes, but was a long way back of Wetteland.