Texas Rangers

Wed, 05 Nov 2008 21:38

The history of the Texas Rangers

Information about the MLB team Texas Rangers.

The Texas Rangers were one of the two expansion teams to join Major League Baseball in 1961, the other one being the Los Angeles Angels. The Rangers were originally known as the Washington Senators. However, this was a totally new team to grace Washington since the original Senators moved to Minnesota to become the Twins. The new Senators did not gain the records of the old team since these too were taken to Minnesota. Thus, the league considered them as an expansion team. The Washington Senators played their first game in 1961 at the Griffith Stadium. They later moved to the District of Columbia Stadium which was renamed Robert F. Kennedy Stadium in 1969.

The Texas Rangers: Early history

The Senators had the services of Frank Howard, who won two home run titles during his time. However, his skills were not enough to give victories to the team. The Senators would have an average of 90 games lost every season. The team owners would then hire Hall of Fame member Ted Williams to be the Senators’ manager. Williams was not a conventional leader since he did not coach nor manage any baseball team before. Yet, under his tenure, the Senators had an increase in attendance. The Senators would still have cash problems even though there were many people watching their home games.

Team owner Bob Short was losing more money with the Senators, thus he tried to offer the squad to potential buyers. The mayor of Arlington, Texas, Tom Vandergriff, was pushing to get a baseball team to his town. The city already has a 10,000-seat park known as the Turnpike Stadium. This was a good chip to bargain with Short because the city is fully equipped to have its own baseball team. By 1971, the agreement was made official: the Senators would move to Texas. However, this would spark an outrage in Washington. The fans would cause problems during the team’s last game in the state capital, with one fan even stealing the first base of the stadium.

The Senators would then be renamed the Texas Rangers, in honor of the law enforcement group in the area. Before the team would move to the city, the Turnpike Stadium had an increased seating capacity and was renamed the Arlington Stadium. The Rangers would play their first game in 1972, losing to the California Angels. During the season, the team manager position would be filled in by Billy Martin, a former player for the Major League. By 1974, the Rangers would be competing for a playoff spot but would only go on to second place behind the Oakland Athletics.

The first four seasons would be disappointments for the Texas Rangers. However, they would continue competing for a playoff spot. In 1981, the team was just a half game behind the Oakland Athletics for the top position. Yet, they were still denied a chance to play in the postseason. Fans were growing tired of their losing streak and the attendance dwindled over the next seasons. Hoping to combat this problem, the Rangers hired Bobby Valentine to fill the manager position. Under his leadership, the Rangers were able to get good talents such as Ruben Sierra, Nolan Ryan, and Pete Incaviglia.

Although the team boasted of superb talents like Sierra, Ryan, Incavglia, Rafael Palmeiro, Julio Franco, Bobby Witt, and Charlie Hough, the Rangers would still not qualify for the playoffs. This led to the firing of Valentine as manager. Kevin Kennedy would take over his post, trying to acquire success with his different approach to the game. During the late 1980s, George W. Bush, future president of the United States, became the Managing General Partner of the Texas Rangers by buying some shares of the team. With new revenue, the Arlington Stadium would be replaced by The Ballpark in Arlington, later called Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

The Texas Rangers in the 1990s

The team led the American League West division in 1994, which was a sure shot to the playoffs. However, during this year, a players’ strike occurred thus all the future games would be canceled. The Rangers again did not reach the next round and Kevin Kennedy would be relieved of his post. Johnny Oates would replace Kennedy and would lead the Rangers to their first American League West division title in 1996, giving them an automatic playoff berth. The team would lose to the New York Yankees in the next round but the Rangers felt that there are more good things to come.

Oates would lead the Rangers to two more American League West titles in 1998 and 1999. However, they would always bow out during the first round of the playoffs. Oates would resign as manager by the 2001 season and would be replaced by Jerry Narron. The team ownership changed as well as Tom Hicks, a Dallas businessman, bought the franchise in 1998. Hoping to improve their luck, the Rangers made one of the most lucrative signings in baseball history by getting Alex Rodriguez for US$ 252 million. The team continued its struggles despite the signing of Rodriguez.

The Rodriguez experiment did not work out. Although Rodriguez was the Rangers’ captain and the American League Most Valuable Player, he would be traded to the New York Yankees in 2003. The team would then get Alfonso Soriano and Joaquin Arias. In 2004, the Rangers would still compete for a playoff spot. However, the race for first place in the American League West was tough as the Rangers battled against the Oakland Athletics and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. By the end of that season, the team would fall to first place, a mere three games behind the top spot.

The Rangers already had secured a talented roster in Mark Teixeira, Hank Blalock, Michael Young and Alfonso Soriano. However, injury plagued them in 2005. Two of their key players, Carlos Almanzar and Frank Francisco, were out of the roster due to a surgery while their top pitcher Kenny Rogers was not allowed to play due to a suspension. The Rangers did not reach the playoffs in 2005 and some of their players defected to other squads. Kenny Rogers would move on to the Detroit Tigers before the start of the 2006 season. They would also lose Ryan Drese to the Washington Nationals.

During the 2005 off-season, the Texas Rangers would name Jon Daniels as their general manager. Daniels was just 28 years old when he would man the post, making him the youngest general manager in the Major League. Under his tenure, the Rangers would make significant trades to bolster their lineup. Alfonso Soriano would be traded to the Washington Nationals for Brad Wilkerson and Termel Sledge. They would also get Vicente Padilla by giving Ricardo Rodriguez to the Philadelphia Phillies. Their trading spree also involved Adam Eaton and Akinori Otsuka whom they would get from the San Diego Padres in exchange for Adrian Gonzalez, Chris Young and the recently acquired Termel Sledge. The team would also sign Kevin Milwood to add to their roster. Even though the team made these big roster changes, their standings would not improve as they would fail to bid for a playoff spot yet again. By 2008, the Rangers are still striving to reach the playoffs.