Congratulations to the 2023 World Champion Texas Rangers! It has been a long, hard road for the franchise. For the first 35 years of existence, October meant putting on your Halloween costume instead of your uniform. This, however, did not mean the Rangers didn’t have their share of amazing players and managers going in an out in Arlington.
Let’s take a look at the history, players, and managers donning a uniform for the Texas Rangers and/or Washington Senators
The Rangers first started as the second iteration of the Washington Senators in 1961 (it’s complicated). They … .were not good. In fact, their first four seasons had them losing more than 100 games. They scored their very first over .500 team in 1969 under new manager Ted Williams … .yes, that Ted Williams. It was short-lived, as they now moved to Texas and officially became the Rangers in 1972, they had two more 100-loss seasons and The Splendid Splinter was out. The likes of Hall of Famers Bert Blyleven, Fergie Jenkins, Gaylord Perry, and managers Whitey Herzog and Billy Martin couldn’t get them out of their losing ways for the rest of the 70s, even though they did finish second in a couple of those years.
The 80s treated them no better, as they only had two winnings seasons that decade. Even some die-hard baseball fans would be hard pressed to name a Texas Ranger beyond Buddy Bell at that time.
Stuck in mediocrity in the going into the 90s, they started having success, culminating into their first playoff birth in 1996. Great seasons by Juan Gonzalez, Dean Palmer, Kevin Elster, and a young catcher by the name of Ivan Rodriguez propelled them into October, but were knocked out in five games by the Yankees. They were back in the postseason in 1998 and 1999, but they got swept both times.
Going into the 2000s, there was no success. They finished fourth five times, third three times and second twice. However, in 2010 and 2011, they finally started putting it all together and found themselves in the World Series. The San Francisco Giants rolled over them in five games in 2010, but 2011 was a classic. Game 6 was especially heartbreaking, as a David Freese triple with two outs in the bottom of the ninth and St. Louis walking off with a home run two innings later killed off the parade for Texas.
Three more playoff appearances got them a total of two wins. Then in 2021, they fell off a cliff with yet another 100-loss season, their seventh in 61 years. Ranger fans were looking straight into the barrel of another decade of losing and near misses. But it was not meant to be as this year’s Rangers can finally call themselves World Champions.