The Texas Rangers is an American professional baseball team that is based in Arlington, Texas, and they compete in Major League Baseball as a member of the American League West Division. Their name was borrowed from the famous law enforcement agency in Texas that has the same name.
The franchise was founded in 1961, and they were initially known as the Washington Senators, which is an expansion team that was given to Washington, D.C, after the city’s first American League ballclub. The second Washington Senators then moved to Minnesota. They became the Twins, and after the 1971 season, the new Senators then moved to Arlington and played as the Rangers the next spring.
In this article, we are going to know more about the history of Texas, Rangers, the state’s most iconic baseball team.
Washington, D.C owned one of the six original franchises of the American League during the 1960s. However, after their losing streak, their fan base grew distracted and disinterested. That is why in 1960, the owner of the team, Calvin Griffith, saw greener pastures to the West and decided to move his franchise in Minnesota, where the team was renamed as the Twins.
Knowing that lawmakers on Capitol Hill will not like it if they don’t get to watch the national pastime, the big bosses of the Major League Baseball decided to give Washington an expansion franchise right after Calvin Griffith departed. That is why the second generation of the Washington Senators was established, and they picked up where their predecessors left off. They lost their first-ever game to the White Sox 4-3 in April 1961. During their first four years in the game, the new Washington Senators lost 100, 1010, 106, and 105 games. That is why fans and lawmakers alike wondered why they wanted the Senators back. However, in their next few seasons, the team managed to climb to the middle of the pack, and it is after they hired Ted Williams to be the team’s manager in 1969. The Washington Senators hit their high water mark with n 86-76 record and fourth place. However, in 1970-71 they returned to their losing ways.
The only excitement for the team was the slugging of big Frank Howard. He had one of his best years with the Washington Senators, where he made 48 home runs, 111 runs batted in with a .296 average. Not only that, but Howard also hit more than 40 homers during 1968 and 1970.
While all that was happening, Bob Short, the new owner of the franchise, was being wooed by the city fathers of Dallas Fort Worth, Texas. Seeing his ample opportunity, Bob Short decided to close the deal and move the Washington Senators to Dallas right before the 1972 season. With Washington lawmakers showed no interest to the move, the big bosses of the Major League Baseball gave their approval. The Washington Senators then concluded their era of baseball ineffectuality with a forfeit loss against the New York Yankees in September 1971.
The Texas Rangers
The Washington Senators finally moved to Texas, and they were renamed as the Texas Rangers. The opened for business on April 15, 1972, where they had a 1-0 loss to the Angels on the west coast. The next day, the Texas Rangers managed to win their first game with a 5-1. Ted Williams decided to retire after the 1972 season. After that, Whitney Herzog agreed to take the helm for the first 138 games of the team in 1973, in which the Texas Rangers won only 35 percent of the time. Herzog decided to leave the team and turned over its management to Billy Martin. Martin’s “in-your-face” attitude, along with his fiery behavior, ignited the team’s spirit. That is why the Texas Rangers had one of their best seasons in 1974, and they finished five games behind the west division champion, Oakland. With a .301 average, 25 home runs, and 118 runs batted in, Jeff Burroughs won the Most Valuable Player award, and Mike Hargrove won Rookie of the Year. However, just like several of Martin’s managerial posts, he somewhat wore out his welcome quickly, and he was gone the next season because the Rangers underperformed with a 79-30 record. The Texas Rangers had second and third place seasons throughout the rest of the decade.
The Rangers experienced mostly inconsequential seasons throughout the ‘80s, and their best was having a second-place finish under the management of Bobby Valentine in 1986. During that time, the Texas Rangers did enjoy some tremendous individual feats such as Larry Parrish hitting three grand slams in just one week in July 1982, Nolan Ryan’s 5,000th career strikeout in 1989, and Oddibe McDowell’s cycle in 1985.
In 1989, a group of businessmen that was headed by George W. Bush bought the franchise, and three years later, businessman Thomas Hicks purchased the club in 1992.
From the start, pitching has always been the Achilles Heel for the Texas Rangers. However, during the mid-1990s, the team built a lineup that is devastating enough to overcome it. The lineup featured Rusty Greer, Juan Gonzalez, Dean Palmer, and Ivan Rodriguez. That is why in 1996, the Texas Rangers blasted their way to get their first Western Division title along with their manager, Johnny Oates.
However, despite winning their first-ever playoff when they defeated the Yankees 6-2, New York still won the series. But in 1998 and 1999, Texas won the West again only to lose on both division series to the Yankees.
In 2000, the Texas Rangers made headlines when they decided to sign a free agent shortstop named Alex Rodriguez with a 10-year contract worth $252 million. Rodriguez only spent three seasons with the Texas Rangers. Still, he definitely took advantage of the hitter-friendly Ballpark and Arlington to have 156 home runs, 383 runs scored, 395 RBI’s, along with a .305 average. In 2004, Alex Rodriguez was traded to the Yankees for Alfonso Soriano. During that same year, the Texas Rangers finished a surprising second under the management of Buck Showalter.
The offense was still the Rangers’ calling card throughout the decade. Yet, without a quality pitching staff, the team rarely contended. However, that all began to change when Jon Daniels started to manage the team in 2005. At just 28 years old, Daniels was the youngest general manager in the Major Baseball League’s history. He made trades to get a pitching talent throughout all levels of the organization. His most significant trade would be when he shipped Teixeira and pitcher Ron Mahay to Atlanta and trade them for four top prospects, and among them are catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, pitcher Neftali Feliz, and Shortstop Elvis Andrus.
Over the next several years, several tweaking of the roster was done where hard-hitting second baseman Ian Kinsler and centerfielder Josh Hamilton joined Young to keep the team’s offense humming. That is why by 2009, the Texas Rangers were ready to contend, and they post their first winning season since 2004 and manage to finished second behind Anaheim.
In 2009, the Texas Rangers experienced an influx of talents and success. That is why they entered the 2010 season with an expectation that they would compete for the division and achieve their 2007 goals. After the team stumbled out of the gates with a sub-.500 start in April 2010, the Rangers managed to take the division lead with a franchise-best month of June. However, the Texas Rangers never surrendered first place after they had an 11-game winning streak. The team managed to make several mid-season moves and acquired players such as Bengie Molina, Cliff Lee, Jeff Francoeur, and Jorge Cantu.
In March 2011, the Texas Rangers managed to defend their American League West Division title, which made it the club’s second-straight division title and postseason appearance. In October that same year, the team went back to the 2011 World Series after they beat the Detroit Tigers 15-5 in game six of the ALCS. The series saw Nelson Cruz hit six home runs, which happens to be the most home runs that were done by a single player in a playoff series in Major League Baseball history. During the second game, Nelson Cruz became the first player in postseason history to ever win a game that has a walk-off grand slam as the Texas Rangers managed to defeat the Tigers 1-3in 11 innings. But, the Rangers lost to the St. Louis Cardinals in seven games after being one strike away from the championship during game six.
For much of the 2012 season, the Texas Rangers dominated the American League standings. Still, they struggled September because they culminated in a sweep by the Oakland Athletics during the finals of the series. However, the Rangers still managed to qualify for the first American League wild-card playoff game. During that game, the Rangers’ despairs continued as they lost 5-1 to the Orioles.
In 2013, Nolan Ryan decided to step down as the CEO of the Rangers, and since then, Daniels served as the operating head of the team. In 2014, injuries took a significant toll on the team, and Adrian Beltre, despite being injured for some time, became the team’s most consistent offensive player. In 2015, the team acquired Cole Hamels, and they overtook the Houston Astros to finalize the American League West title on the last day of the season 88-74. The Texas Rangers lost to the Toronto Blue Jays in five games in the Division Series after reckless 2-0 lead. In 2016, the Texas Rangers once again finalized the AL West in 2016, but they lost to Toronto 3-0.
In 2017, the Texas Rangers finished the 2017 campaign 23 games out of first place by having a 78-84 record. The next year, the Texas Rangers partnered with the KBO League’s LG Twins in both business and baseball operations. In September 2018, the Rangers decided to fire Jeff Banister, who led the team since 2015. The team replaced him with their bench coach, Don Wakamatsu, for the remainder of the season. At the beginning of the 2019 season, the team picked Chris Woodward to be their manager, and he led the team to a 78-84 record during his first season.
The 2019 season also marked the last season of play at the Globe Life Park because the team plans to move into the new Globe Life Field, which is scheduled to open in March 2020. Globe Life and Accident Insurance Company own the field. This new ballpark is just across the street that is on the south of Globe Life Park, and the Rangers announced that this field would be carpeted with synthetic grass, which makes them one of the five major league teams to play home games on artificial turf. The Rangers cited that the reason they wanted to move into a new homecourt is that the attendances at Globe Life Park were lower compared to other baseball stadiums in Metropolitan areas. This is because the Globe Life Park is prone to rain delays and high temperatures.