Top Five Single-Season Offensive Performances in Rangers History
The Texas Rangers have been a franchise that has been known for its offensive output over the years. During the best years of the franchise, the lineup's output has been the strength of the team.
While it's difficult to leave off some amazing performances, these five individual seasons stand the test of time.
Rafael Palmeiro, 1999
It would be difficult to list great individual offensive seasons in Rangers history without taking a performance from the greatest offensive team in franchise history.
The 1999 Rangers won the AL West crown, their third in four years – all while posting a team ERA of 5.07. The offensive carried this team to a then-franchise record 95 wins.
Of the many great offensive performances of this team, none stood out more than Rafael Palmeiro's season. He slashed .324/.420/.630 with 47 home runs and 148 RBIs. Palmeiro's 1.050 OPS still ranks atop all individual seasons in franchise history.
Palmeiro's tie to performance-enhancing drugs, including a failed test in 2005, taints his status in not only the franchise's history, but in his standing in the baseball community. Palmeiro brags 569 home runs and 3,020 hits, yet he still has not been voted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Alex Rodriguez, 2001
The Texas Rangers looked to rebound from their disappointing 2000 season, where they regressed by 24 wins and finished last place in the AL West. They stole the offseason by signing budding star Alex Rodriguez to a 10-year, $252 million contract.
Rodriguez lived up to the pressure of the massive contract in his first season with the Rangers, slashing .318/.399/.622 with 52 home runs and 135 RBIs. His 1.021 OPS was the highest of his tenure with the Rangers. His 2002 season is memorable as well, where he led the American League with 57 home runs and 142 RBIs.
Rodriguez was traded to the New York Yankees after only three seasons with Texas.
Alex Rodriguez's tie to performance-enhancing drugs is well documented. He admitted in 2009 that he took steroids during his three years in Texas, citing the pressure of living up to his massive contract.
Ivan Rodriguez, 2000
The year 2000 was one to forget for the Rangers. Coming off three division titles in four years, three of the six Rangers who hit 20-plus home runs in 1999 were suddenly absent. Not to mention a pitching staff that had a 5.07 ERA the year before, posted an even worse 5.52 ERA in 2000.
For Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez, 2000 was one of his finest seasons at the plate. Coming off an MVP season in 1999, Pudge set the franchise record for batting average in a single season, batting .347 in 91 games for the Rangers. His 1.042 OPS, an eye-popping .667 slugging percentage, and 27 home runs in a shortened season were one of the few highlights from the 2000 Rangers. His 13.4 At-Bats per Home Runs (AB/HR) was the highest of his career.
Pudge's MVP season in 1999 is worthy of recognition as well. In 144 games, he slashed .332/.356/.558 with 35 home runs and 113 RBIs. He also stole 25 bases that season.
Mike Napoli, 2011
Surely, we could not leave off anyone from the best team in Rangers history.
Mike Napoli was acquired from the Blue Jays for Frank Francisco just four days after the Angels shipped him to Toronto for Vernon Wells. Napoli turned out to be a key piece for the 2011 Rangers that won their second consecutive American League pennant.
Primarily the team's catcher, Napoli also played at first base and DH for the Rangers. He turned in a whopping 1.042 OPS, which is still second in team history behind Rafael Palmeiro's record from 1999. He slashed .320/.414/.631 with 30 home runs and 75 RBIs.
Napoli was also a monster in the 2011 postseason and could have made a serious bid for World Series MVP if the Rangers could have gotten that final strike in St. Louis.
Josh Hamilton, 2010
The 2011 Rangers may be the best team in franchise history, but the 2010 Rangers will always have a special place in the hearts of Texas fans.
In the center of the 2010 Rangers stood Josh Hamilton, who turned in arguably the greatest all-around single-season performance (without the use of performance-enhancing drugs) in franchise history.
Hamilton slashed .359/.411/.633 with 32 home runs and 100 RBIs, all while missing the final month of the season after sustaining an injury after running into the outfield wall in Minnesota.
Hamilton beat Miguel Cabrera's batting average by 31 points, winning the AL batting title with his .359 average. He was named the American League's Most Valuable Player for the regular season and won the ALCS MVP for his performance in the World Series-clinching defeat of the New York Yankees.
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