The Texas Rangers are coming off the most successful decade in the club's history. The decade was decorated with five playoff appearances, four division titles, and two American League pennants.
As the Rangers close out the 2010's and look forward to a new era of Rangers baseball in Globe Life Field, we'll take a look back at the three players who were the most impactful on the ball club. Whether it be by success on or off the field, these three players helped the Rangers in many ways.
As any list is, this one is subjective. You may or may not agree with my decisions. And that's okay. All three of these players played a role on at least one of the two World Series teams, which makes sense since those were the two most successful seasons in franchise history.
3. Josh Hamilton
It would be really difficult to leave Josh Hamilton off this list. From the time he broke on the scene in 2008, Hamilton immediately captured the eyes and hearts of many Rangers fans with his natural swing and off-the-field story.
In 2010, Hamilton won the American League MVP after a stellar season where he slashed .359/.411/.633 with 32 home runs and 100 RBI's, all while missing most of September with a rib injury after crashing into the outfield wall in Minnesota.
Hamilton also claimed the ALCS MVP in 2010, hitting four home runs in the six-game series, while maintaining a .350 batting average.
When it comes to natural ability, Hamilton may be unparalleled. I've always thought of him as the real-life Roy Hobbs. He had a short-yet-brilliant career thanks to off-the-field issues that left his body unable to play as long as he wanted.
Unfortunately for him, and the Rangers, his career was all too short. His Rangers career was also cut short when he jumped ship to Los Angeles to sign with the rival Angels for more money, which turned out to be a pretty terrible decision, even by Hamilton's own admission.
His 16.5 bWAR from 2010-2012 cannot go unnoticed, along with many other heroics and home runs that left Rangers fans cheering.
2. Ian Kinsler
When it comes to the unsung heroes of teams in professional sports, Ian Kinsler may be the most unsung hero ever.
Kinsler was never the most popular player in Arlington. Overall, he was well-liked, but you and I have all heard the same stuff about him.
"How many times does he pop up?"
"He never ran out ground balls."
*insert The Simpsons old man yelling at a cloud*
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Ian Kinsler was beyond a solid player for the Rangers. Statistically, he was the most valuable Rangers player from 2010-2013, boasting an 18.4 bWAR during those years.
Not to mention, he was one of the best Rangers hitters in the postseason during that time. His .311/.422/.484 slash line from 2010-2013 in the postseason was wildly consistent, something many Rangers players lacked, including Josh Hamilton.
Players like Hamilton had flair for the dramatic, like his two-run home run to regain the lead in game six of the 2011 World Series. Kinsler however, was rock solid and consistent. In his 34 playoff games this decade, when pitching becomes much more difficult, Kinsler went hitless only eight times and had 11 multi-hit games.
Kinsler was traded after 2013 to the Tigers for Prince Fielder, which will go down as one of the worst trades in Rangers history. Kinsler was a very valuable player for Texas and went on to have a good run with the Tigers, including two Gold Gloves and won a World Series championship with Boston in 2018. Prince Fielder had only one healthy season of his three in Texas, and was forced to retire early in 2016 due to a neck injury. The Rangers are still paying off the Fielder contract.
Kinsler was very upset about the direction of the franchise and was not afraid to voice his harsh opinions when he was traded.
Despite the relationship ending on a rather rocky note, there's no denying that Kinsler was a very impactful player for Texas during his eight-year career as a Ranger. And his contribution in this decade cannot and should not go unnoticed.
1. Adrian Beltre
There really is no question about who number one was going to be, right? Adrian Beltre solidified his place in Cooperstown in a Rangers uniform. And when it comes to on- and off-the-field contributions and longevity, the Rangers' third baseman of the 2010's is unmatched.
If Beltre's 43.2 bWAR in his eight seasons this decade isn't enough for you, his slash line of .304/.357/.509 in those eight seasons as a Ranger should. Not to mention his three Gold Gloves and two Silver Sluggers, collecting his 300th and 400th home runs in a Rangers uniform, and of course, registering hit number 3,000 on July 30th, 2017.
Adrian Beltre was signed in the wake of losing out on the Cliff Lee sweepstakes after Lee had helped the Rangers make the World Series in 2010. After accomplishing what Beltre did for the Rangers, he became the consolation prize of all consolation prizes.
Not all franchises get to boast about having one of the best ever to play at a certain position, but the Rangers can do that with at least a couple. Thanks to Beltre's contribution, the Rangers had one of the best third baseman to ever play baseball dress in their uniform for eight seasons.
Beltre is third all-time in Rangers history in bWAR, only behind Ivan Rodriguez and Rafael Palmeiro. Beltre also played two less season than Palmeiro in a Rangers uniform, and five less seasons than Rodriguez.
His place in Rangers history is solidified. The only thing that's missing is that elusive World Series ring, but let's not go down that road again.
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