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Rangers History Today: Division Champions For The First Time

Finally, the Texas Rangers won a division title for the first time in franchise history.

On this date in franchise history, the Texas Rangers clinched their first American League West division title.

On September 27, 1996, the Rangers hosted the California Angels at The Ballpark in Arlington, while Seattle and Oakland played on the west coast. Because it’s the Rangers, they had to clinch their first division title in the most bizarre way possible.

The Rangers started their game two hours earlier than the Mariners and Athletics, but a weather delay forced the Rangers to wait for what they hoped would be the inevitable. The delay was long, but it didn’t help matters that the Rangers and Angels decided to play 15 innings. Because of these factors, the Oakland-Seattle game actually caught and passed the Rangers game.

So as the Rangers played on late into the next morning — and fans filtered in from the Metroplex to join the crowd at The Ballpark in Arlington — they learned that Oakland had defeated Seattle, a win that gave the Rangers the division title while the Rangers were still trying to beat the Angels.

The Angels won the game, 4-3, in 15 innings. But, even with the loss, the Rangers were finally able to truly celebrate a historic moment in the organization’s history.

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September 27, 1996: Dean Palmer hit his 38th home run of the season, making him the first Rangers infielder to hit 38 home runs in a single season.

September 27, 1998: Juan González hit his 50th double of the season, becoming the first Rangers player to hit 50 doubles in a season. He also became the fifth Major League player to hit at least 50 doubles and 45 home runs in a single season.

September 27, 2012: Matt Harrison won his 18th game of the season, defeating the Oakland Athletics, 9-7. Harrison became the second left-hander in Rangers history to win 18 games in a season, joining Kenny Rogers (2004).

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