With Adrian Beltre having his number retired by the Texas Rangers on Saturday, the job now is to assess where he ranks among the best players in the history of this franchise.
Beltre was originally signed by GM Jon Daniels to a six-year, $96 million deal back before the 2011 season, to push the team to the World Series title it just missed the previous season.
A lot of people thought that JD blew that deal, up to and including MLB commissioner Bud Selig, who called out the Rangers for driving up the market on this contract during an owner’s meeting that off-season.
Beltre nearly did push the Rangers to the World Series in 2011; his home run in the top of the 7th in Game 6 of the World Series gave the Rangers the lead, and should have given them the title. Then ... something else happened.
Where does Beltre rank among the Rangers greats? Feel free to debate, and just know you’re wrong.
1. Nolan Ryan. When he signed with Texas as a free agent it brought legitimacy to a franchise that previously was irrelevant. When he agreed to become the club president, his leadership and presence was a major reason why the team reached consecutive World Series’ and became a viable threat.
2. Michael Young. He went through it all, and between his production and leadership no player meant more to a winning clubhouse than MY.
3. Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez. He and Johnny Bench are the two best to ever catch a baseball game.
4. Adrian Beltre. One of the best third baseman in the history of the game who nearly made the Texas Rangers a World Series champion.
5. Juan Gonzalez. No Ranger batter scared opposing pitchers like Senior Octubre, whose only failure was to play on the great Ranger teams of the 90’s that ran into the Yankees’ dynasty.
6. Josh Hamilton. The reason the Rangers reached consecutive World Series. The living version of The Natural. A brilliant player whose long-term production was simply not meant to be.
7. Ferguson Jenkins. A Hall of Fame pitcher whose six years in Texas are mostly forgotten because he played for some awful teams in the ‘70s.
8. Buddy Bell. A narrow nod over my guy Ruben Sierra, Bell was a multiple All-Star and Gold Glover in 10 years in Texas.
9. Rafael Palmeiro. For 10 years in Texas, no batter had a better, or sweeter, swing.
10. Alex Rodriguez. Talent wise, he’s No. 1. Production and tenure wise, he was never worth the 10-year, $252 million deal he signed. He simply never wanted to be here.
BIG MAC BITES
The highlight of the first XFL tryouts, at UTA on Friday, was watching former TCU linebacker PJ Dawson introduce himself to the XFL Dallas director of player of personnel.
“What’s your name?” Dawson asked the man.
“I’m Daryl Johnston,” the former Dallas Cowboys fullback said.
The Texas Sports Hall of Fame this week announced its new class, among them including several members of the local media. Congrats to former Fort Worth Star-Telegram colleagues Charean Williams and Randy Galloway, along with Houston Chronicle NFL czar John McClain, Texas Rangers radio voice Eric Nadel, Dallas Cowboys radio man Brad Sham, former Cowboys, Dallas Texans and Rangers voice, and long time professor at North Texas, Bill Mercer, and the late Frank Glieber, who was a radio voice for the Cowboys and CBS sports.
At the Dirk Nowitzki Heroes’ charity baseball game, Mavericks forward Dwight Powell and I chatted about the place of academics in college basketball. Powell graduated from Stanford.
“Coming out of high school my final three choices were Stanford, Harvard and Georgia Tech,” he said.
Just like me.
PS: Dirk has still not cleared out his locker.
BTW: Powell did not say it, but he certainly intimated he plans to remain with the Mavs and pick up his player option on his contract. Powell averaged 10.6 points and 5.3 rebounds per game last season.
Former TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin was on the list, but did not show, to the XFL tryouts on Friday. XFL player personnel people said Boykin suffered an injury a few days prior to the showcasing event, and that they expect him to participate in one of the seven other tryouts across the U.S. this summer.
Boykin’s assault charge with his girlfriend remains unresolved; per XFL officials, Boykin’s attorney said he is confident that Boykin will be cleared and he be available if one of the eight teams want him. He did not play in the 2018 NFL season.
Also on the list of invites for the XFL tryouts included former Cowboys Lance Dunbar and Sterling Moore; former Baylor safety Ahmad Dixon; former TCU players Jawuan Johnson, offensive lineman Tayo Fabuluje, quarterback Foster Sawyer; former Texas A&M and Dallas Cowboys running back Christine Michael.
All of the great athletes that have played for the Dallas Cowboys, Texas Rangers, Dallas Stars and Dallas Mavericks, and the first to have a street named after him is Dirk Nowitzki.
A reader emailed me this week and the first sentence was, “I want you to know up front I’m not your biggest fan.”
Sounds exactly like my mom.