- The Texas Rangers is also the name of a law enforcement agency in Texas. See Texas Rangers (law enforcement).
- Founded: 1961 (American League expansion)
- Formerly known as: the Washington Senators, 1961-1971. (Not to be confused with the team that was the Washington Senators prior to 1961, which became the Minnesota Twins, or the Washington Senators that existed from 1891–1899 and were contracted.)
- Home ballpark: Ameriquest Field in Arlington (known as The Ballpark in Arlington 1994-2004)
- Uniform colors: Blue, White, and Scarlet red
- Logo design: A "T" superimposed on a baseball, set inside a circle with "TEXAS" on the top half and "RANGERS" on the bottom
- Wild Card titles won (0): none
- Division titles won (3): 1996, 1998, 1999
- American League pennants won (0): none
- World Series championships won (0): none
Table of contents
When the second Washington Senators (the original Senators existed in the 1890's) moved to Minnesota in 1960, Major League Baseball awarded a team to Washington, D.C., giving it the name of the old franchise.
In eleven seasons, the Senators posted only one winning season (1969). Frank Howard was the team's most accomplished player. Ted Williams of Boston Red Sox fame managed the team from 1969 to 1971, and moved with the franchise to Arlington, Texas in 1972.
Team uniform colors: Red, blue and white, with script "Washington" across the player's chest
Efforts to bring baseball to the Metroplex
In 1962 the American League began to entertain the idea of bringing a professional baseball team to the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Charley Finley, the owner of the Kansas City Athletics, sought to move his team to Dallas, but the idea was rebuffed by the other AL team owners.
In 1964, the 10,000-seat Turnpike Stadium was constructed in Arlington for the minor-league Dallas-Fort Worth Spurs. The stadium, later renamed Arlington Stadium, would eventually serve as the Rangers' first home stadium.
Meanwhile, the Senators received new ownership in 1968 in the form of Bob Short, the Treasurer of the Democratic National Committee. He sought to move the team from Washington. On September 20, 1971, he got his wish, receiving approval from AL owners to move the franchise to Arlington for the 1972 season. Washington fans were outraged, and in the team's final game in RFK Stadium on September 30 against the New York Yankees, the Senators were forced to forfeit the game after angry fans stormed the field and damaged much of the stadium and playing surface.
First years in Texas
During the off-season, additions were made to Turnpike Stadium to increase its seating capacity, and it was officially renamed Arlington Stadium. Bob Short also announced that the franchise would be called the Texas Rangers. The team played its first game on April 15, 1972, a 1–0 loss at the California Angels. The next day, the Rangers defeated the Angels 5–1 for the team's first victory. The first home game was also against the Angels on April 21. After the season, Ted Williams retired as manager. Whitey Herzog was named the new manager, but he was replaced in the middle of the 1973 season by Billy Martin.
In 1974, the Rangers began to come into their own as a team. They finished the season 84–76 and in second place behind the eventual World Series champion Oakland Athletics. Mike Hargrove was named AL Rookie of the Year, Billy Martin was named Manager of the Year, and Ferguson Jenkins was named the Comeback Player of the Year. However, the following season, after a 44–51 start, Martin was fired as the Rangers manager and was replaced by Frank Lucchesi.
The 1980s and early 1990s
The Rangers continued to struggle for many years, going through cycles of mostly poor seasons with losing records highlighted by occasional flashes of talent. After the 1977 and 1978 seasons, the Rangers would not have another winning season until 1986 under manager Bobby Valentine, when the team finished second in the AL West. During this time, the team had a host of talent, including Bert Blyleven, Buddy Bell, Fergie Jenkins, Mike Hargrove, Jim Sundberg, Toby Harrah and Rick Honeycutt.
Valentine, who would eventually become the Rangers' longest-serving manager at 1,186 games, became steward over an influx of talent in the team in the late 1980s and 1990s. The signing of 41-year-old star pitcher Nolan Ryan prior to the 1989 season allowed Ryan to reach his 5,000th strikeout, 300th win and throw his sixth and seventh no-hitters with the Rangers. Coupled with powerful batters like Juan González, Rubén Sierra, Julio Franco, Harold Baines, and Rafael Palmeiro and a pitching staff that also included Charlie Hough, Bobby Witt, Kevin Brown, and Kenny Rogers, fans expected much from the team. However, the team never improved past being average, and Valentine was let go during the 1992 season.
Meanwhile, in April of 1989, the Rangers' owner, Eddie Chiles, sold the team to an investment group headed by future President George W. Bush. Bush would serve as the Rangers' managing partner until he was elected Governor of Texas in 1994. During this time, the Rangers and the City of Arlington decided to construct a new stadium to replace the aging Arlington Stadium. Ground was broken on October 30, 1991 on what would become The Ballpark in Arlington (later renamed Ameriquest Field in Arlington).
Success in the 1990s
In 1993, Kevin Kennedy took over managerial duties, helming the team for two seasons. He was let go in 1994 despite leading the AL West prior to the players' strike. The strike wiped out what could have been the Rangers' first division championship when commisioner Bud Selig canceled the remainder of the season.
The year 1995 saw the beginnings of the most promise for the Rangers. With a brand new ballpark that hosted its first All-Star Game, Johnny Oates was hired as the Rangers' manager and promptly led them to an AL West division title in 1996. The first Rangers' playoff series in history, 24 years after the franchise came to Texas, saw the Rangers lose to the New York Yankees. But the team had finally made the playoffs. Oates was named AL Manager of the Year and Juan Gonzalez was named AL MVP. The team featured a powerful lineup of hitters with Ivan Rodriguez, Will Clark, Mark McLemore, Dean Palmer, Rusty Greer, Juan Gonzalez, and Mickey Tettleton but continued to struggle with pitching – a reputation that dogs the Rangers to this day – despite having Darren Oliver, Gil Heredia and later John Wetteland on their roster. Oates again led the team to AL West championships in 1998 and 1999, but en route to a second straight last place finish, Oates was let go mid-way through the 2001 season.
Meanwhile, Bush sold the team to an investment group led by Dallas businessman Tom Hicks in 1998. In 1999, Nolan Ryan became the first player ever elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame to have a Ranger cap placed on his plaque.
The Alex Rodriguez experiment
Prior to the 2001 season, star free-agent shortstop Alex Rodriguez, previously of the Seattle Mariners, was signed by the Rangers in the most lucrative deal in baseball history: a 10-year, US $252 million contract. The move was considered controversial and was frequently maligned by the media who thought that Hicks was placing too much emphasis on one player instead of spreading out money among many players, especially for a team that lacked significant pitching talent. Although Rodriguez's individual performance was outstanding, the Rangers continued to struggle, and manager Jerry Narron was fired following the 2002 season. He was replaced by seasoned manager Buck Showalter.
In the 2003 season, the Rangers finished in last place for the fourth straight year, and after a post-season fallout between Rodriguez and team management, Rodriguez was traded to the New York Yankees for Alfonso Soriano and a player to be named later.
The present and a very promising future
Prior to the 2004 season, little hope was held out for the Rangers to improve on their losing ways. However, behind a young team that gelled together well, the Rangers battled with the Anaheim Angels and Oakland Athletics for first place in the AL West for much of the season. Mark Teixeira, Alfonso Soriano, Michael Young, and Hank Blalock became one of the better tandems of batting infielders in the league, and Young, Blalock, and Soriano were named to the 2004 All-Star Game. Soriano was named the All-Star MVP after going 2 for 3 with a three-run home run. The Rangers remained contention until the last week of the season, eventually finishing in third place behind the Angels and A's, but they finished the season only 3 games out of first place. (By comparison, the fourth-place team, the Seattle Mariners, were 29 games out of first.)
Players of note
- Ferguson Jenkins
- Gaylord Perry
- Nolan Ryan
- Ted Williams (former manager; inducted for his playing career with the Boston Red Sox)
Current 25-man roster (as of May 10, 2005)
- 55 Orel Hershiser (pitching)
- 8 Rudy Jaramillo (hitting)
- 52 Mark Connor (bullpen)
- 18 Don Wakamatsu (bench)
- 16 DeMarlo Hale (first base)
- 1 Steve Smith (third base)
Not to be forgotten
- Buddy Bell (Texas Rangers Hall of Famer)
- Bert Blyleven
- Dick Bosman
- Jeff Burroughs (AL MVP, 1974)
- Will Clark
- Juan Gonzalez (AL MVP, 1996, 1998)
- Charlie Hough (Texas Rangers Hall of Famer)
- Frank Howard
- Ferguson Jenkins (Texas Rangers Hall of Famer)
- Mark McLemore
- Johnny Oates (Manager 1995–2001, Texas Rangers Hall of Famer)
- Al Oliver
- Rafael Palmeiro
- Mickey Rivers
- Alex Rodriguez (AL MVP, 2003)
- Ivan Rodriguez (AL MVP, 1999)
- Dave Stewart
- Jim Sundberg (Texas Rangers Hall of Famer)
- Frank Tanana
- Mickey Tettleton
- 26 Johnny Oates (his number is scheduled to be retired during the 2005 season)
- 34 Nolan Ryan
- 42 Jackie Robinson (retired throughout baseball)
Single season records
- Home Runs: 52 (2001) Alex Rodriguez
- Runs Batted In: 157 (1998) Juan Gonzalez
- Batting Average: .341 (1991) Julio Franco
- Hits: 216 (2004) Michael Young
- Runs: 133 (2001) Alex Rodriguez
- Doubles: 50 (1998) Juan Gonzalez
- Triples: 10 (1986) Ruben Sierra, (1993) David Hulse
- Stolen Bases: 52 (1978) Bump Wills
- Hitting Streak: 28 games (2000) Gabe Kapler
- Strikeouts: 185 (1986) Pete Incaviglia
- Pitching Wins: 25 (1974) Ferguson Jenkins
- Pitching Strikouts: 301 (1989) Nolan Ryan