As everyone passes around the turkey, mashed potatoes, casseroles, or whatever food makes it Thanksgiving for you, a time-honored tradition is to go around the table and state what you're thankful for.
My personal favorite tradition is the tradition of eating large meals, but when it comes to the Rangers, we truly do have plenty to be thankful for.
The Rangers don't have the grandeur of 27 World Series championships or a rich history filled with Hall-of-Famer after Hall-of-Famer. But we've all witnessed the best decade in Rangers' history and while it came with its painful moments, it also had plenty to be cherished.
Ultimately, baseball is about the 25 men [or 26 in 2020] that take the field each and every game. So, for Thanksgiving, I decided to list the five Rangers I'm most thankful for. It doesn't mean this is the five best Rangers of this decade or all time, but it's a good summation of what Rangers fans can cherish.
Mr. Ranger himself. What couldn't be said about Michael Young?
The man was the ultimate professional who always put the team ahead of himself. His willingness to change positions multiple times can never go unnoticed. It wasn't easy for him, and he made that clear, but he ultimately wanted to win. Guys like that don't come along too often anymore.
Not to mention, Michael Young was a really good hitter. Owning a career batting average of .300 over a 14-year career with 2,375 hits is something to be proud of. It may not be good enough to get him into Cooperstown, but it's definitely good enough to make sure no one ever wears number 10 for the Rangers again.
Of course Adrian Beltre has to be mentioned. Not only is he one of the greatest third basemen to ever play the game, he left us all with a plethora of memories.
The one-knee home run in the 2011 World Series. The endless head rubs and foot-shuffles in the batter's box. The on-field antics with Elvis Andrus. And of course, getting ejected for moving the on-deck circle.
These are so many moments we can look back on with a smile and a laugh, but also compliment them with 3,166 hits, 477 home runs, five Gold Gloves, and a first-ballot Hall-of-Fame career.
Like another Texas Rangers legend, his career may not have been all with Texas, but his impact on Rangers' fans will be remembered forever. And no one will ever where his 29 uniform for the Rangers again.
While Elvis doesn't have some of the on-field pedigree as others on this list, he sure has done enough to make us thankful for such a player.
And as a career .275 hitter with plus defense at the most crucial spot in the field, his on-field play and consistency for 11 years should not go unnoticed.
Andrus has also provided plenty of laughs with his on-the-field antics with Adrian Beltre. He has a lovable personality that brings smiles to thousands of families every season. And very few players could still get cheered while walking up to the batter's box to the tune of "Baby Shark."
Rangers fans can still enjoy Elvis' play in 2020 as he leads this team back into contention. For 12 years and counting, we should be thankful to have Elvis Andrus as a Texas Ranger.
Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez
The 1990's were filled with ups and downs, but three division titles in four years was the start of success for the Rangers organization.
Ivan Rodriguez was at the center of those teams that won the A.L. West in 1996, 1998, and 1999. He's the most decorated Ranger of all time with 14 All Star appearances and 13 Gold Gloves, 10 of each in a Ranger uniform, and is also a career .296 hitter.
Pudge had a tenacity on the field and was the ultimate competitor. And now, we get to see him consistently around the team and on television broadcasts.
Not every franchise has a player as decorated as Pudge and for that, Rangers fans should be thankful. He took over as the face of the franchise after another Texas legend retired in a Rangers' uniform.
Not much has to be said about Nolan Ryan. He may have only been a Ranger for five of his 27 seasons, but he helped kick start greatness in Texas Rangers history.
Despite his age when he came to the Rangers, 42, Ryan was still a dominant pitcher for the Rangers. He recorded 939 strikeouts in five seasons and threw two of his record seven no-hitters in a Ranger uniform.
He instantly became everyone's dad's favorite player. And he provided one of the most iconic moments in Rangers history when Robin Ventura charged the mound and ended up in a Nolan Ryan headlock receiving a series of punches.
Nolan Ryan will always be iconic with the Texas Rangers. Yes, he spent more seasons with the Angels and Astros, but Ryan left his mark in Arlington forever.
Now, enough baseball talk. Happy Thanksgiving, Rangers fans!
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