Previously known as the Washington Senators (1961-1971)
Post Season Record: 20-31 (.392)
World Series Titles: 0
American League Pennants: 2 (2010 & 2011)
Playoffs: 8 (1996, 1998, 1999, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2016)
Ballparks: Arlington Stadium (April 21, 1972-October 3, 1993), Rangers Ballpark in Arlington (April 1, 1994-Sept. 29, 2019), Globe Life Field (2020-)
Franchise Players: Elvis Andrus, Buddy Bell, Adrian Beltre, Juan Gonzalez, Charlie Hough, Fergie Jenkins, Ivan Rodriguez, Nolan Ryan, Jim Sundberg, Michael Young
Retired Numbers 7 Ivan Rodriguez; 10 Michael Young; 26 Johnny Oates; 29 Adrian Beltre; 34 Nolan Ryan; 42 Jackie Robinson (retired throughout baseball)
The Texas Rangers began their life as the Washington Senators in the Expansion of 1961. This team replaced the original Senators (1901-1960), who had moved and become the Minnesota Twins. General Pete Quesada was the team's first owner. He owned the team for only two years before selling to James Johnston, James Lemon and George Bunker. In 1965, Johnston and Lemon would buy out Bunker. In 1968, the Senators got their third ownership group as Bob Short purchased the club. In 1969, the club named Hall of Famer Ted Williams manager. The team spent one season at the old Griffith Stadium before moving to D.C. Stadium, which was later renamed R.F.K. Stadium.
On the field, the club struggled for most of the decade but played above .500 and achieved a 4th-place finish in 1969, helped by the divisional realignment that season, which made 6th place the new last place. One of their few highlights was pitcher Dick Bosman leading the league in ERA during that 1969 campaign. Another star for the club was outfielder Frank Howard who became the team's first and only real power threat, hitting at least 44 home runs every season from 1968 to 1970. Other noteworthy Senators during the decade were Claude Osteen, Darold Knowles, Camilo Pascual, Dick Donovan, Pete Richert, Moose Skowron and Don Zimmer.
The team started the 1970s struggling in Washington, DC and ended it competing in Texas. After two other seasons of subpar baseball in the nation's capital, Short received permission to move the club to Arlington, TX for the 1972 season.
Playing in Arlington Stadium, the team beat the California Angels in their Texas debut, but was even more dreadful on the field than the Senators had been. In 1973 the team selected David Clyde with the first choice in the 1973 amateur draft and rushed him to the big leagues three weeks later. Clyde pitched well in his debut, but would never become a star in the majors. 1973 also featured the first no-hitter in team history as Jim Bibby shut down the Oakland A's. In 1974, the team got yet another owner as Bradford Corbett purchased the club and under the guidance of fiery manager Billy Martin, achieved a second-place finish in the AL West. That year, Jeff Burroughs won the MVP Award and Ferguson Jenkins set a team record with a 25-win season. In 1977, the team went through four managers: Frank Lucchesi, Eddie Stanky, Connie Ryan and finally Billy Hunter, on their way to a second-place finish.
The club finished in second place three times and came as close as 5 games out to winning their first division title. Despite never winning a division title, the Rangers of the seventies were full of stars featuring Burroughs, Jim Sundberg, Toby Harrah, Mike Hargrove, Richie Zisk, Jim Spencer, Jim Fregosi, Rico Carty, Alex Johnson, Al Oliver, Bobby Bonds, Gaylord Perry, Jenkins, Bert Blyleven, Doyle Alexander, Jon Matlack and Doc Medich.
The 1980s were an up-and-down decade for the Rangers. The club once again failed to make the postseason and only had two second-place finishes, but finished in sixth or seventh five times. The team also once again had a change in ownership as Corbett sold the team to Eddie Chiles in 1980. Chiles would last as owner until 1989 when he sold to Rusty Rose and future United States President George W. Bush.
There were few on-field highlights for the team during the decade. Bobby Valentine made his mangerial debut for the Rangers in 1985. The club had some star players also during this time including Pete O'Brien, Buddy Bell, Gary Ward, Larry Parrish, Charlie Hough, Bobby Witt, Frank Tanana, Dave Schmidt, Mitch Williams and Rick Honeycutt.
The club made some positive moves before the 1989 season though. From December 5 to December 7, the team made three big moves that would help it compete in the future. First, on the 5th, they traded Williams, Curtis Wilkerson, Paul Kilgus, Steve Wilson and two minor leaguers to the Chicago Cubs for Rafael Palmeiro, Jamie Moyer and Drew Hall. The next day, they traded O'Brien, Jerry Browne and Oddibe McDowell to the Cleveland Indians for Julio Franco. Finally, on the 7th they signed future Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan as a free agent. These moves combined with the team's young talent in Ruben Sierra, Jeff Russell, Kevin Brown and Kenny Rogers seemed to bode well for the 1990s.
At the start of the 1990s, the Rangers struggled. The big-name moves made before the 1990 season did not pan out immediately. Julio Franco won a batting title in 1991, but was injured for almost all of 1992 and left as a free agent after that season. Rafael Palmeiro played well during his first stint with the Rangers but really blossomed once he went to the Baltimore Orioles as a free agent after the 1993 season. Moyer would struggle in Texas but later find sucess as a member of the Seattle Mariners. In 1992, the club traded away three of its own homegrown players for one of the biggest names in baseball. The team sent Sierra, Witt and Russell to the Oakland A's for Jose Canseco. Unfortunatly Canseco's most memorable moment in Texas was having a ball bounce off his head and over the wall for a home run. Another memorable moment for Canseco came when he was injured because then-manager Kevin Kennedy allowed him to fulfill his life-long dream of pitching during a major league game and he manged to hurt his arm. Ryan was the one bright spot of the early 1990s for the Rangers. He threw his sixth and seventh no-hitters, won his 300th game, and recorded his 5,000th strikeout as a Ranger. In 1999, he was enshrined in the Hall of Fame as a Ranger despite spending more time as member of both the California Angels and Houston Astros.
Shortly after the Bush and Rose ownership group took over, they appointed Tom Schieffer to pilot a project to build a new ballpark for the team. Schieffer reached a deal with the city of Arlington, TX and had it ratified by voters through a referendum. In 1994, the new stadium, called the Ballpark in Arlington, later renamed "Ameriquest Field", opened to rave reviews. This coincided with a rebirth of the Rangers. Led by young stars like Juan Gonzalez, Ivan Rodriguez, Dean Palmer, Rusty Greer, Roger Pavlik, Rick Helling and Darren Oliver, the club began a playoff push. This group of youngsters was supported by veterans like Will Clark, Mark McLemore, Ken Hill, John Burkett and Mickey Tettleton. Kennedy had the team in first place, but under .500 when the strike wiped out the 1994 season. That year, Bush was elected governor of Texas, and Schieffer, who had become team President in 1991, took over for him as General Partner.
Johnny Oates was hired to manage the Rangers in 1995. After a bit of a struggle his first season, the team won its first division title in 1996. The Rangers also won their first-ever playoff game, beating the New York Yankees in Game 1 of the Division Series. But that one win would stand as the only post-season victory in Rangers history until the team's run to the World Series in 2010. Despite winning division titles in 1998 and 1999, the Rangers would not advance out of the first round, being swept by the eventual World Series Champion New York Yankees both times.
During their playoff years, the club acquired a number of stars to help the reach the postseason. 1996 World Series MVP John Wetteland was signed just weeks after winning the series. Aaron Sele, Mike Morgan and Esteban Loaiza were all brought in to contribute to the starting rotation, with varying degrees of success. Darryl Hamilton, Tom Goodwin, Kevin Elster, Fernando Tatis and a returning Rafael Palmeiro helped keep the offensive juggernaut running.
While this playoff run was happening Tom Hicks purchased the club from Bush and his partner Rusty Rose in 1998.
The first decade of the 21st century was rough on the Rangers. They did not make the postseason and always finished in either 3rd or 4th place in the AL West. Popular manager Johnny Oates was forced to step down from his position after being diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2001; Oates died in 2004. The club lost many of its now veteran stars as Juan Gonzalez was traded away, and Palmeiro and Ivan Rodriguez left as free agents.
The club made a big splash before the 2001 season, signing shortstop Alex Rodriguez to a 10-year, $252 million contract, the largest in baseball history. Rodriguez did his part, winning an MVP award and hitting extremely well in his first three seasons in Texas. However, the Rangers failed to acquire any pitching to go along with their strong offense. The best management could do was sign right-hander Chan Ho Park to a mega-deal which backfired, as he flopped and became a financial liability. The Rangers traded Rodriguez to the New York Yankees after the 2003 season in return for infielder Alfonso Soriano, but still assumed responsibility for part of A-Rod's huge contract.
The club did have some good young players as they continued to try to scrape together some pitching. A very strong infield of Mark Teixeira, Ian Kinsler, Michael Young and Hank Blalock brought many fans into Ameriquest Field. This would last until the 2007 season when Teixeira was traded to the Atlanta Braves in exchange for prospects. Hicks brought in Hall of Famer Ryan to be the team's President in 2008. In 2009, the Rangers gave their fans some hope as young pitchers such as Scott Feldman and Tommy Hunter stepped forward, while Nelson Cruz and David Murphy emerged as future hitting stars and young shortstop Elvis Andrus showed some wizardry with the glove on the way to a second-place finish.
The 2010s began with the team's sale in January 2010 to a consortium headed by Pittsburgh lawyer Chuck Greenberg, with Nolan Ryan retaining his position as team President. However, matters became complicated when the sale was tied up in Hicks's bankruptcy proceedings. At issue were $525 million in loans on which Hicks's ownership group had defaulted the previous year. On June 22nd, Federal Bankruptcy Court Judge Michael Lynn ruled that the deal, which provided for $75 million being paid to creditors, affected their interests and they had a right to vote on it, prompting fears that the entire sale could collapse if creditors rejected the deal. To avoid such an outcome, Judge Lynn ordered both sides to meet for a mediation session and extended the delay for final approval of the sale. However, Hicks was unable to satisfy the creditors and on July 5th, his group announced that the team would be put up for auction. The auction took place on August 4th, and after a tense bidding war with Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks of the National Basketball Association, Greenberg's bid of $385 million in cash emerged as the winner in the early hours of August 5th. The value of the sale reached $593 million when the value of Hicks's debt that would be assumed by the new owners was added to the total. The sale received unanimous approval from other Major League Baseball owners on August 12th, putting an end to the complicated saga.
The final approval of the sale came with the Rangers enjoying a 7 1/2 game lead in the AL West and the new owners promised that they would invest to keep the team atop the standings in future years. The team's subsequent victory over the Tampa Bay Rays in the ALDS marked its first playoff series victory after 49 seasons. The Rangers went on to defeat the New York Yankees in the ALCS and in the first World Series appearance in franchise history, lost to the San Francisco Giants in 5 games. Ron Washington was the team's manager during this run.
The 2010-11 offseason saw OF Josh Hamilton named the AL MVP and P Neftali Feliz become the Rookie of the Year. P Cliff Lee a key mid-season acquisition, left via free agency and signed with the Philadelphia Phillies, in spite of both the Rangers and New York Yankees pursuing him vigorously. In fact, Greenberg became personally involved in the negotiations, traveling a few times to Arkansas to woo Lee, a tactic which was seen as backfiring and was resented by other members of the ownership group. Greenberg also clashed with them during the renewal of General Manager Jon Daniels' contract, and on March 11th, he was forced to step down in favor of Ryan as CEO, as the other owners cited significant philosophical differences. In 2011 the team repeated as American League champions but once again fell in the World Series, this time to the St. Louis Cardinals, after twice being a single strike away from clinching the championship.
The Rangers went through a couple of lean years after their back-to-back appearances in the World Series, but re-emerged as a contender under new manager Jeff Banister. They won back-to-back division titles in 2015 and 2016, but both years fell to the Toronto Blue Jays at the division series stage. The first year, they had managed to win the first two games before dropping the last three, and the second they were swept in spite of having maintained the best record in the AL during the regular season. The team's starts during that time were pitchers Yu Darvish and Cole Hamels, 2B Rougned Odor, 3B Adrian Beltre, SS Andrus and OF Shin-Soo Choo, with 1B Mitch Moreland, OF Nomar Mazara and Ps Derek Holland, Colby Lewis, Matt Bush and Sam Dyson in a supporting role.
Early in 2017, the Rangers announced that they had retained the firm HKS to design a new $1-billion ballpark equipped with a retractable roof. This followed a referendum in November of 2016 that authorized public funding for such a project. The target date for the new facility, to be called Globe Life Field, is 2020. Meanwhile, the Rangers hit another rough patch, which cost manager Banister his job after a poor 2018 season. But the team was showing life again in 2019, with slugger Joey Gallo emerging as one of the most dangerous hitters in the league.
The Rangers were owned by Tom Hicks until 2010, when they were sold to a group headed by Chuck Greenberg, with Nolan Ryan as a minority shareholder and team President. Hicks had purchased the team in 1998 from George W. Bush and Rusty Rose. In early 2011, Greenberg was forced to step down in favor of Ryan.
- General Pete Quesada 1961-1962
- James Johnston, James Lemon and George Bunker 1963-1964
- Johnston and Lemon 1965-1967
- Bob Short 1968-1974
- Bradford Corbett 1974-1980
- Eddie Chiles 1980-1989
- George W. Bush and Rusty Rose 1989-1998; Tom Schieffer as General Partner 1994-1998
- Tom Hicks 1998-2010
- Rangers Baseball Express CEO: Chuck Greenberg 2010-2011; Nolan Ryan 2011-2013; Ray Davis 2013-
The Rangers' current general manager is Jon Daniels. Daniels was the youngest general manager in baseball history when he was named to the position in 2006. He is part of the youth movement going on in front office throughout the game. His assistant is Thad Levine. Former Rangers GMs include John Hart, Tom Grieve, Doug Melvin and Joe Burke.
Current Minor League Teams
- AAA - Round Rock Express
- AA - Frisco RoughRiders
- A - Myrtle Beach Pelicans
- A - Hickory Crawdads
- A Short-Season - Spokane Indians
- Rookie - AZL Rangers
- American League MVP:
- American League Manager of the Year Award:
- Johnny Oates 1996
- Buck Showalter 2004
- Jeff Banister 2015
- Hitting for the Cycle:
- Rusty Burson: 100 Things Rangers Fans Should Know and Do Before They Die, Triumph Books, Chicago, IL, 2012.
- Grag Chandler: "Major League Baseball comes to Arlington", in Steve West and Bill Nowlin, eds.: The Team That Couldn't Hit: The 1972 Texas Rangers, SABR, Phoenix, AZ, 2019, pp. 5-7. ISBN 978-1-943816-93-4
- Phil Rogers: The Impossible Takes a Little Longer: The Texas Rangers from Pretenders to Contenders, Taylor Publishing Co., Dallas TX, 1990.
- Mike Shropshire: Seasons in Hell: With Billy Martin, Whitey Herzog and 'The Worst Team in History' - The 1973-1975 Texas Rangers, Dutton Books, New York, NY, 1996. ISBN 978-1556114953
- Joe Stroop: "The first two dozen years: Bad management, worse baseball", in Steve West and Bill Nowlin, eds.: The Team That Couldn't Hit: The 1972 Texas Rangers, SABR, Phoenix, AZ, 2019, pp. 378-386. ISBN 978-1-943816-93-4
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