Many great players have pulled on the jersey of the Texas Rangers over more than four decades, and for the club’s first decade, the Washington Senators.
The Texas Rangers were formed from a failed attempt by Major League Baseball to forcibly keep a big league team in the Nation’s Capital.
The original Washington Senators had been one of the American League’s eight charter franchises. That club traced its existence back to the 1901 founding of the junior circuit.
Those first Senators relocated to Minnesota in 1961, where they became the current Twins. Wanting to keep baseball in D.C., an expansion club was created by MLB as a replacement.
The new expansion Washington Senators thus began play in that 1961 season. The team would remain there through the 1971 season.
The Senators had a losing record through each of their first eight seasons. With the nearby Baltimore Orioles as a consistent contender, attendance became a serious issue.
In 1969, baseball Hall of Famer Ted Williams was brought in as the skipper with no prior managerial experience. “The Splendid Splinter” would guide the club to its only winning campaign. Williams’ 1969 Senators team finished 86-76 in the first year of MLB divisional play.
THE MOVE TO TEXAS
The Senators quickly fell back to their losing ways in 1970. This finally resulted in the ball club relocating out to Arlington, Texas where they became the current Texas Rangers ahead of the 1972 season.
In 1974, Texas rose to second place in the AL West, finishing just five games out. Their 84-76 record was just the second winning campaign in franchise history up to that point.
By 1977 the Rangers had become a major contender for the first time. They won 94 games and again finished in second place, eight games short of an extremely talented Kansas City Royals team.
For most of the next two decades the Rangers would see-saw up and down the standings. Texas would lose as many as 99 games in 1985, then win as many as 87 games the very next year.
FUTURE POTUS HELPS RANGERS BECOME WINNERS
The Rangers were sold in 1989 to a group that included future U.S. President George W. Bush. A minority owner, Bush was nonetheless elected as the team’s Managing General Partner.
The future President became a key player in setting up deals over the next few years which would result in the building of The Ballpark in Arlington. That facility would later be renamed as Globe Life Park.
Bush gave up his position with the team after being elected as the Governor of Texas in 1994, the same year that the Rangers finally moved into their new home.
Emerging from the crippling baseball strike of 1994, the Rangers quickly became a consistent contender in their new home. Texas won 90 games in 1996, capturing the first AL West crown in franchise history.
The Rangers would again capture division championships in both 1998 and 1999. After each of those three first place finishes, Texas was knocked out in the ALDS by the dynastic New York Yankees teams of the late 1990’s.
NEW CENTURY LOSERS BECOME TITLE CONTENDERS
As the 21st century dawned, the club fell back to their losing ways. For eight of the nine seasons between 2000-2008 the Rangers suffered through losing campaigns.
Texas rose in the standings once again in the 2009 season. They have once again become consistent contenders, with seven winning seasons over the last eight.
In 2010, the Rangers reached the World Series for the first time. Texas then returned the following season, capturing back-to-back American League pennants.
In both of these Fall Classic appearances the club appeared on the verge of capturing their first world championship. Both times, fate intervened to deny them the title. Texas remains one of eight clubs to never win a World Series crown.
The Rangers have now captured the AL West title in four of the last seven seasons. Division winners the last two years, they remain a strong contender entering the 2017 season.
PUTTING TOGETHER THE ALL-TIME ROSTER
Many great players have pulled on a Rangers jersey over the last four and a half decades. In fact, players from the Texas years make up the vast majority of this All-Time 25-Man Roster for the franchise. Only two men who ever wore a Senators jersey have made the cut.
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In putting together this feature for other organizations, I have stuck with a formula. I normally name 11 pitchers to the roster, with a breakdown of nine starters and two relievers. The position players have usually broken down as two catchers, six infielders, and six outfielders.
In evaluating the Rangers history, there were just too many great infielders to keep that balance. Frankly, with a handful of notable exceptions, great pitching has rarely been an organizational strength. Only 10 pitchers are named here to the Rangers list: eight starters and two relievers.
There are a full eight infielders named to the roster. The two catchers are still here, and the team has five outfielders named instead of the usual six.
MISSING THE CUT
Even with making these adjustments, a number of strong position players were left off the roster.
My apologies go out to those who have been left off. Included among these are position players such as Julio Franco, Ken McMullen, Nelson Cruz, Mark Teixeira, Mike Hargrove, Bump Wills, Al Oliver, and Will Clark.
Let’s take a look now at who did make the final cut for the Texas Rangers / Washington Senators All-Time 25-Man Roster.