The 15 Best Texas Rangers of All Time
The 15 Best Texas Ranger Players Ever
The Texas Rangers have a somewhat short history. They were created in 1961 as the second coming of the Washington Senators, then moved to Arlington Texas after the 1971 season.
As most would know, the Rangers as a franchise did not make a World Series appearance until just three seasons ago in 2010. Before then, the franchise only had two years (1999, 1977) with over 90 wins.
Other than a couple of seasons in the 90s, the majority of the Rangers time as a franchise was spent in the cellar of the American League West, whether it be the 1994-now AL West with just four teams (becoming five in 2013) or the AL West that was around for the other years the franchise spent in the league where there were seven teams competing for the West crown.
Up until Nolan Ryan took over the franchise in 2010, the Rangers were an embarrassment of a franchise, almost to the level of the Seattle Mariners or Washington Nationals (pre-2012).
In 2009, the Rangers were just one of three teams that had never made an appearance along with the aforementioned Mariners and Nationals. There was another team before 2008 that had never made an appearance — the Tampa Bay Rays — but they lost to the Philadelphia Phillies.
The Rangers are, to this day, one of only eight teams that have not won a World Series (Mariners, Nationals, San Diego Padres, Houston Astros, Rays, Milwaukee Brewers, Nationals).
This franchise has seen a lot of upper level talent, but they have never made anything of it.
This list will not include any players who solely played for the franchise while they were Senators. This list will only consist of players who have played in the organization as a Ranger.
Due to the age of some of these players I could not find good pictures for everyone. Anyone who did not have a usable picture will either have a blacked out profile shot of Yu Darvish or a generic baseball photo.
No. 15 Rusty Greer
Rusty Greer played his entire career in Texas spanning from 1994 to 2002. His .305 batting average and .387 on base percentage rank him pretty well, but it was his defense during his nine seasons that placed him on this list.
No. 14 Buddy Bell
Buddy Bell played eight seasons as a Ranger (1979-1985, 1989). Bell chose to end his career in Texas.
Bell is the best defensive infielder the franchise has ever seen. His offense was unimpressive but his defense earns him the right to be on this list.
No. 13 Jim Sundberg
Jim Sundberg began and ended his career in Texas, playing a total of 12 seasons for the franchise (1974-1983, 1988, 1989).
Sundberg only had a .252 batting average during his years in Texas, but his .330 on base percentage is average.
Sundberg was never an offensive threat, though. His six consecutive gold gloves as a catcher while playing for the Rangers makes him one of the best catchers this franchise has ever seen.
No. 12 Will Clark
Will (the thrill) Clark played in Texas for five seasons (1994-1998). The Rangers were his first team after leaving the San Francisco Giants.
Clark wasn’t the best offensive player, but he did sport a .308 batting average.
Clark’s expertise was always with the glove. Having a career fielding percentage above .990 proves that.
Clark gave the heart of his career to the Rangers and I am rewarding him for it now.
No. 11 Fergie Jenkins
Fergie Jenkins only played six seasons for the Rangers, but he had a record of 93-72 with an ERA of 3.56.
In his six seasons, Jenkins pitched in just under 200 games and threw 17 shutouts.
Jenkins had 25 wins in the 1974 season, the season that cemented his position on this list.
No. 10 Toby Harrah
The only player on this list who played for the Rangers franchise while they were still the Washington Senators. But as I said on the opening slide, this list is based off of his achievements as a Texas Ranger.
Toby Harrah was the original Rangers shortstop and is sixth in games played, eighth in runs scored, seventh in total at bats and seventh in all time in hits for the franchise.
No. 9 Kenny Rogers
Kenny Rogers pitched in Texas in three different stints (1989-1995, 2000-2002, 2004, 2005). All together, Rogers played 12 seasons with the Rangers and was one of the best pitchers the Rangers have seen.
He pitched to a record of 133-96 in his 12 seasons with an ERA of 4.16. That ERA seems really high from the standpoint of a fan who didn’t really pay attention to baseball until 2005, but what needs to be remembered is that Rogers pitched through one of the most offensive eras in baseball history.
Rogers definitely deserves his spot on this list after all he did for the Rangers organization.
No. 8 Ruben Sierra
Ruben Sierra pitched for Texas in a couple of different stints (1986-1992, 2000, 2001, 2003). Some of those seasons where only half seasons such as 1992 when he was traded from Texas to the Athletics after 124 games, or 2003 when he was once again traded from Texas but this time to the Yankees after 43 games.
Sierra wasn’t amazing offensively but in his 10 seasons he hit 180 home runs, 742 RBIs and had a batting average of .280.
No. 7 Nolan Ryan
We all know Nolan Ryan is arguably the greatest pitcher of all time, but he only spent five seasons in a Ranger’s uniform.
Going 51-39 with a 3.43 ERA in the last five years of his career shows how dominant he still was at 42-46 years young. Ryan threw two of his unprecedented seven career no-hitters while donning a Rangers uniform.
Ryan was still incredibly dominant while in Texas, even if he only spent the final five years of his career in Arlington.
No. 6 Charlie Hough
Charlie Hough played with the Rangers through the entirety of the 1980’s. Hough spent 11 seasons in Texas, winning 139 games with a 3.68 earned run average. That ERA doesn’t look impressive, but the 80’s were a much more offense-heavy period than we are in now.
The old chain-smoking knuckleballer threw 2308 innings in his 11 seasons and his 11 shutouts shows just how dominant he had the ability to be.
No. 5 Josh Hamilton
We all know the drama that the Rangers went through this off-season with Josh Hamilton, and many Ranger fans are going to be upset that he is this high on my list.
But Hamilton hit an amazing 142 home runs in his brief five year stint in Texas, with a .305 batting average.
Even though Hamilton was only in Texas for five seasons, he was one of the most productive Rangers of all time, and was a key part in getting them to the first franchise world series appearance.
No. 4 Rafael Palmeiro
Rafael Palmeiro played for the Rangers for 10 seasons in all (1989-1993, 1999-2003).
Palmeiro hit 321 home runs with 1039 runs batted in during his 10 seasons with Texas.
Palmeiro is the first player to ever have 500 home runs or 3,000 career hits without getting into the hall of fame, and Palmeiro has both.
Palmeiro has numbers that should merit first-ballot hall election, but the suspicion of steroids will make sure the baseball writers never vote him in.
No. 3 Juan Gonzalez
Juan Gonzalez played a total of 13 seasons with the Rangers (1989-1999, 2002, 2003). In those 13 seasons, Gonzalez hit 372 home runs with a total of 1180 runs batted in.
Gonzalez did play during the steroid era and there is a lot circumstantial evidence saying he used.
Gonzalez is definitely one of the best offensive players in Rangers franchise history.
No. 2 Michael Young
During his 13 seasons spent with the Rangers, he had a batting average of .301 and accumulated more than 200 hits six times.
Michael Young did everything the Rangers ever asked of him, whether it be moving from second base to shortstop to make room for Ian Kinsler, moving from shortstop to third base to make room for Elvis Andrus, or moving from third base to a platoon role so the team could sign Adrian Beltre.
Young may be second on this list, but he is without question the most team-oriented Ranger ever.
No. 1 Ivan Rodriguez
Ivan Rodriguez has one of the best arms on a catcher of all time, was and amazing offensively. He spent just over 11 seasons with the team (1991-2002, 2009). Rodriguez is undoubtedly the best Texas Ranger of all time.