Superpower rising out of Texas

Defending AL champion Rangers return to national stage as a budding powerhouse

Originally Published: October 7, 2011
By Howard Bryant | ESPN.com

Throughout the spring and into the summer, the Texas Rangers carried the title of defending American League champions while fighting a narrative of non-belief. The Rangers had won their first pennant, losing the World Series in five relatively easy games to the San Francisco Giants, but their hard-fought quest for long-term legitimacy was less assured.

Immediately following their World Series defeat, Cliff Lee used his free agency to return to baseball-rich Philadelphia. His exit ...

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