Before it was called Globe Life Park, it was the Ballpark in Arlington, but the place never changed. Deep in the heart of Texas, this team saw pennants won, back to back World Series and multiple MVPs in front of one of the greatest fan bases in baseball.
After 25 years, the end of the tunnel is in sight, and memories flood our thoughts seeing Ranger greats have their numbers retired. Adrian Beltre, Josh Hamilton, and most recently, Michael Young, have been cemented in Texas Ranger history as some of the greatest to wear the uniform. But that got me thinking, who are the best players to play during this run with Globe Life Park?
Let’s take a look at every position, including DH, and fill in the All-Time Globe Life field team, starting with some familiar names.
Catcher: Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez / Robinson Chirinos
Everyone knows who Pudge is, and if you don’t, then are you really a Texas Ranger fan? Or even a baseball fan at that? The 14-time All-Star and 13 time Gold Glove winner was the best to ever do it in a Ranger uniform, becoming a HoF player in the process.
Robinson Chirinos was always a fan favorite while here and played over 400 games with the team. He was never too consistent at the plate, but defensively he was a great player, and the Rangers miss him right now.
First Base: Mark Teixeira / Mitch Moreland
Teixeira was here for 4 and a half seasons, but when he was here, he was good, I mean REALLY GOOD. He racked up 153 home runs and 499 RBI before he was traded to. the Braves in 2007. He surely could have been one of the greatest first basemen for Texas, but it was business in the end.
Mitch Moreland was underrated but definitely loved by the fans, as he was part of the World Series teams in 2010 and 2011. He was consistent when he was here but ultimately left to Boston where he won that coveted World Series ring in 2018.
Second Base: Mark McLemore / Ian Kinsler
A lot of people forget that Mark McLemore was a part of the teams in the ’90s that won the American League West pennants in ’96, ’98, and ’99. He was a good player on a great team but didn’t stay long, as he left for Seattle in 2000.
Ian Kinsler was really good while in Texas. He and Michael Young ended up being close, as they were the 2B and SS tandem for a few seasons before Andrus came up. Kinsler had 3 seasons of at least 20 HR and 20 stolen bases, and two seasons with 30 HR and 30 SB. Michael Young being traded by Texas ended with Kinsler forcing his way out of town, but he still remains one of the best second basemen to play at Globe Life.
Short Stop: Alex Rodriguez / Elvis Andrus
A-Rod is one of the most polarizing players to ever play, but when he was in Texas, he was the best. With an MVP, he had 3 seasons with over 45 home runs, totaling 156 with 395 RBI in that short time. He ended up being traded to New York, but nonetheless, he was great.
Elvis Andrus has had some career in Texas, from being the guy to made Michael Young move to 3rd base for, to playing in back to back World Series. He has had his miscues in the playoffs, with the World Series blunders coming to mind, but don’t let that distract you from realizing that Elvis is in the top 5 of many categories in Ranger history:
- Games Played – 1,604 (2)
- At Bats – 6,184 (2)
- Hits – 1,701 (3)
- Runs Scored- 871 (4)
- Total Bases – 2,307 (5)
- Doubles- 297 (5)
- Triples – 48 (2)
Third Base: Michael Young / Adrian Beltre
It’s fitting that Michael Young and Adrian Beltre are on the list. Beltre and Young are cemented in Ranger history as fan favorites and two of the most unselfish players to wear the uniform. Young switched positions multiple times to accommodate the team and teammates, playing 2B because A-Rod was here, then ultimately moving to 3rd from SS when Elvis came up.
Michael Young is the franchise leader in:
- Hits – 2,230
- Games Played – 1,823
- Runs Scored – 1,085
- Singles – 1,583
- Doubles – 415
- Triples – 55
Beltre shouldn’t take much explanation. Before he retired, Globe Life saw him accumulate 1,277 hits, 199 home runs, and 699 RBI, and eventually his 3,000th hit. He was one of the more iconic players for the Rangers since 2011, becoming one of the most beloved Rangers with his on-field antics.
The 2019 season won’t be the same without Adrian Beltre ? pic.twitter.com/3F8nbaFfNJ
— Kent (@RealKentMurphy) February 10, 2019
Outfield: Juan Gonzalez / Rusty Greer / Josh Hamilton / David Murphy / Nelson Cruz
This group of players has a resumé that goes on for a mile, but we’ll make it short and sweet. Every one of these players played a critical role in Division Championships and/or World Series appearances. Combined, this group has seen 5 division championships and 2 American League championships.
Juan Gonzalez is highly regarded as one of the best hitters in Ranger history, as he leads the franchise with 372 home runs, earning 2 MVP awards in the process. Josh Hamilton was one of the most exciting players to watch as well, as he earned MVP honors in 2010, leading the team to its first World Series appearance. But one of his most memorable moments was the Home Run Derby, where he set a then-record of 28 HR in 2008 at Yankee Stadium.
On This Date: 10 years ago, Josh Hamilton broke the Home Run Derby.
Will anyone come close to his record this year? Find out Monday at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN. pic.twitter.com/AIcDpYDoqO
— ESPN (@espn) July 15, 2018
Rusty Greer and David Murphy were 2 of the bigger fan favorites as well. Seriously, who WOULDN’T be a fan of a Texas Ranger named Rusty? Murphy played for the Rangers until 2013, joining Hamilton and Cruz on the World Series rosters in 2010 and 2011.
Designated Hitter: Mike Napoli
As a Ranger fan, it was hard not to love Napoli, as the man played the game like a big old kid. In a combined 4 seasons with Texas, he had 88 home runs, played catcher, first base, outfield, and eventually DH in his final year with Texas.
Starting Rotation/Closer: Rick Helling / Cliff Lee / Cole Hamels / Colby Lewis / Yu Darvish / CP – Neftali Feliz
This group of pitchers have made waves with this franchise in their time here. Helling was part of the late 90s team, during different stints, that took multiple division titles.
Lee, Lewis, and Feliz were huge parts of the 2010 team that reached the World Series, including Lee going 3-0 in the ALDS and ALCS. Lewis was always a bulldog of a pitcher, consistent and effective, but never overpowering. Feliz racked up 93 saves in 6 and a half seasons, earning an All-Star appearance in 2010 with 40 saves. He is remembered much for his closing abilities, helping seal the Rangers final out to advance to the Texas Rangers first series in franchise history.
#OTD 2010: Indians alum Neftali Feliz ('07) strikes out @AROD to send the #Rangers to their first ever #WorldSeries. (? @MLB) pic.twitter.com/EatpRQDNis
— Spokane Indians (@spokaneindians) October 23, 2018
Darvish and Hamels were great pitchers while here, both making impacts for playoff teams. Combined for 5 All-Star appearances, it felt as though their time here left a lot of potential on the table, but they were a couple of the better pitchers here at the Globe.
And there you have it, the All-Time Globe Life lineup. Many players have passed through here, and these are the best and most impactful for the franchise. Next up, the NEW Globe Life Park in Arlington.