Forgotten Ones of the 2000’s: Texas Rangersby Logan Lockhart February 4, 2021 0 comments
Entering the new millennium, the Texas Rangers had still yet to win a playoff series in the franchise’s history, despite existing for 28 years up until that point. But in 2010, the Rangers broke through, on route to their first World Series appearance.
From 2000-2020, Texas has welcomed a number of all-stars on its roster, including Michael Young, Ivan Rodriguez, Alex Rodriguez, Josh Hamilton, Adrian Beltre, and Nelson Cruz. However, the last 20 years of Rangers baseball has also provided individual seasons of proficiency that were either never duplicated again or had been seen with other clubs.
Alfonso Soriano (2005)
After watching Rodriguez play MVP-caliber baseball for three years while playing under the priciest contract in major league history, the Rangers dealt the star infielder to the New York Yankees in 2004. Part of the return that would head Texas’ way — Alfonso Soriano.
The then 28-year old was coming off a pair of all-star seasons with the Bronx Bombers, and it took him just two seasons in a Rangers uniform to make franchise history. In 2005, Soriano became the second player in Texas’ history to join the 30-30 club (Bobby Bonds achieved the feat in 1978, but spent the first month and a half of the campaign with the Chicago White Sox).
Soriano launched 36 home runs and drove in 104 during the ‘05 campaign while winning a Silver Slugger and appearing in yet another All-Star game. The 2005 Rangers, managed by Buck Showalter, finished the season with a 79-83 record. What’s most astounding about this edition of the Rangers is that the lineup performed at an incredibly high rate throughout the year — but despite that, no playoff appearance was seen. Soriano was one of four players in Texas’ order to drive in at least 90 runs.
Mark Teixeira (2005)
Teixeira is by no means a “forgotten” Ranger, but it is worth noting that the native of Annapolis, MD enjoyed his best offensive year while playing in Texas. In 2005, the then 25-year old batted over .300 and finished seventh in Most Valuable Player (MVP) voting, while winning his first career Gold Glove award.
The first basemen hit 43 home runs and finished the year tied for second in the American League for RBI’s (144). Teixeira recorded an OPS in ‘05 that he never matched when playing in the Bronx later on in his MLB tenure (.954). The slugger was already a household name in the baseball world by the time 2005 came, but it was in that year when he qualified for his first All-Star game and recorded the most total bases in the AL.
Vladimir Guerrero (2010)
Vladimir Guerrero was signed by the Rangers to be more than just a veteran presence in the clubhouse, and his numbers in 2010 back it up. The aforementioned postseason run by the Rangers during the year saw the then 35-year old play a bigger offensive role than maybe even him anticipated.
Guerrero made his ninth All-Star game appearance in 2010, and first since 2007 while finishing eleventh in AL MVP voting. The full-time designated hitter led the team in RBI’s during the regular season (115) and finished off the year playing in 15 postseason games, the most ever in his career for one playoff run.
The now member of the Baseball Hall of Fame launched 29 home runs with the Rangers, the most he had hit since 2006 while batting for an average of .300.
In retrospect, 2010 was Guerrero’s last real shot at winning a World Series — and his single-year run with the Rangers will forever be remembered as that, despite the stellar numbers at the plate. Texas lost to rookie phenom Buster Posey and the San Francisco Giants in five games to wrap up 2010’s edition of the Fall Classic.
C.J. Wilson (2011)
The 2011 Rangers possessed as good of a lineup as there was in baseball in that year, however, the rotation left a lot to be desired on paper. The lone exception — Wilson. The native of Newport Beach, CA appeared in his first All-Star game in 2011, and finished sixth in AL Cy Young voting, leading the Rangers to their second consecutive pennant.
Wilson was Texas’ ace-hurler prior to the start of the 2011 postseason but failed to earn a win in five playoff starts. Despite the eventual disappointment that would come with the 2011 Rangers and their inability to close the deal in game six of the World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals, the team’s regular-season performance was the ultimate bright spot for the club.
Texas won 96 games that season, the most ever in franchise history — a big part of that can be owed to Wilson. The then 30-year old posted a 2.94 ERA in 223.1 innings pitched while throwing three complete games and one shutout.
The hurler’s 2011 campaign was good enough to earn him a five-year, $77.5 million deal with the Angels in free agency prior to the 2012 season.
Elvis Andrus (2017)
Elvis Andrus has spent the last 12 seasons playing in Arlington. He’s a lifelong Ranger, and despite the uncertainties involving where his future on the diamond will be spent next, the Texas faithful will surely always consider him one of them.
In 2017, Andrus made his case in being the game’s premier leadoff hitter. The shortstop batted .297 while hitting 20 long balls and driving in 88 runs. Andrus’s 44 doubles that year was good enough for the fourth-best in the majors.
The Rangers failed to win a third straight AL West title in 2017, but despite that, Andrus solidified himself as one of the faces of the franchise. The native of Maracay, Venezuela tallied career highs in hits, home runs, RBI’s, and recorded the highest OPS he ever has to date.