International players like Adrian Beltre, Ivan Pudge Rodriguez, and Juan Gonzalez have made their mark on the franchise, but plenty of Texas Rangers born right here in the States have become all-time greats.

In honor of this 4th of July holiday, let’s look at the five greatest American players to have played for the Texas Rangers.


Criteria

The criteria for this list will be a combination of overall greatness and impact on the Rangers organization. The emphasis will be more on organizational impact than on overall stats and numbers in a player’s entire MLB career.

For example, Nolan Ryan could easily slot in at number one on this list if it was based on what he did in his whole MLB career instead of just with the Rangers. Another example is a certain name who will be #5 on the list but is only in his third season as a Ranger.


5) Corey Seager

From a numbers perspective, it’s hard to justify having Corey Seager at number five on this list. Seager is in his third season in Arlington, but last year’s World Series win is the majority of what lands him on this list.

Seager has been an All-Star in each of his first two full seasons as a Ranger. In 2023, Seager slashed .327/..390/.623/.1.013 with 33 home runs and 96 RBI.

In each of his first two full seasons in Texas, Seager has hit a career-high 33 home runs. The numbers are great early on in his tenure as a Ranger, but it’s last year’s World Championship that lands him at five.

Following the Rangers first title, Seager was named the World Series MVP after hitting .286 with 3 home runs and 6 RBI in the fall classic. Seager’s game-tying blast in the 9th inning of Game One instantly became one of the most iconic moments in franchise history.

By the time Seager is set and done as a Ranger, he’ll be higher on this list, but for now, it’s being the best player on the best team in franchise history that lands him here.


4) Buddy Bell

This one was a tough spot to fill, but Buddy Bell won out over Charlie Hough and others. Bell had over 1,000 hits and nearly 500 RBI in a Rangers uniform, which landed him on this list.

Bell spent eight years in Texas, one more than he spent in Cleveland, four more in Cincinnati, and seven more in Houston.

Bell was named to the All-Star team in four of his eight seasons in Arlington while winning six gold gloves and a silver slugger.

None of the Rangers teams Bell played on won anything, but he undoubtedly had many great years in Texas.


3) Ian Kinsler

Looking at advanced metrics, you will see that they all tend to favor Ian Kinsler very heavily. Kinsler’s 35.0 WAR is the 5th best in franchise history.

If you have etched Kinsler’s play t, then it’s pretty clear why his WAR was so high. The long-time Rangers second baseman was the perfect five-tool player who could do it all on the field.

Kinsler was named to the All-Star team three times as a Ranger and was impressively a member of the 30/30 club in 2009 and 2011.

Something else that solidifies Kinsler’s high on this list is that he was a staple of the Rangers 2010 and 2011 World Series teams.

In 8 years as a Ranger, Kinsler had 1,145 hits, 156 home runs, and 539 RBI. Overall, Kinsler passed the eye and the advanced metric test, which puts him in number three.


2) Nolan Ryan

If this list were based on a player’s entire MLB career and not just their Rangers tenure, Nolan Ryan would be a manageable number one.

One of the greatest pitchers of all time spent his final five seasons as a Ranger, and that alone was enough to get his jersey retired.

Ryan threw his final two of his seven no-hitters in a Rangers uniform and struck out 949 batters.

In 1989, Ryan struck out an obscured 301 batters en route to his best season as a Texas Ranger.

The Ryan Express is one of just two (soon to be three) players in a Rangers cap on their Hall of Fame Plaque.

As a whole, Ryan is probably the greatest pitcher of all time to never win a CY Young Award and one of the greatest pitchers ever, which will land him number two on this list.


1) Michael Young

It wouldn’t be a crazy stretch by any means to say that Michael Young is one of the most underrated baseball players of all time.

Spending 13 of his 14 MLB seasons in a Rangers uniform, Young is all over the top of the Rangers records.

Young leads the Rangers all-time in games played, hits, doubles, and triples.

Throughout some struggling seasons in the mid-2000s, Young was a staple of consistency for many Rangers teams that had none of that.

In seven seasons, Young was named an All-Star and was also a major faction in the Rangers’ first two World Series-winning teams.


PHOTO: Texas Rangers

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