It’s that time of year, when the end of college basketball (the Final Four) converges with the beginning of the major league baseball season (Opening Day). This year, the National Championship game and Opening Day happen to fall on the same day, Monday, April 4. To honor this occasion we’ve mashed up the two by creating a bracket to see who fans think is the Texas Rangers’ greatest player of all time.
We’re down to the final four of Ranger greats: Pudge, Nolan, Michael and Rusty after readers voted in the sweet sixteen and the great eight. The Cinderella story has been 13th seed Rusty Greer who has knocked off 4th-seeded Buddy Bell and 5th-seeded Rafael Palmiero. Another upset in the great eight was Michael Young (6th seed) prevailing over Juan Gonzalez (3rd seed).
Vote and check back for the championship matchup which will be revealed at the start of the Rangers’ opener Monday.
1. Ivan ‘Pudge’ Rodriguez, C vs. 13. Rusty Greer, OF
The case for Rodriguez: In the top tier of greatest catchers in baseball history. American League Most Valuable Player in 1999.
The case for Greer: Batting average of .304 and is in many other top-10 categories. Remembered more for sacrificing his body in the outfield.
2. Nolan Ryan, P vs. 6. Michael Young, INF
The case for Ryan: Brought credibility to a franchise that had none. Reached the 5,000 strikeout mark and had two no-hitters.
The case for Young: Most games in Rangers history. As well as most hits, runs, doubles, triples, total bases, multi-hit games and infield hits.
Great eight results
1. Ivan ‘Pudge’ Rodriguez (84%) defeats 8. Adrian Beltre (16%)
2. Nolan Ryan (87%) defeats 7. Jim Sundberg (13%)
6. Michael Young (75%) defeats 3. Juan Gonzalez (25%)
13. Rusty Greer (59%) defeats 5. Rafael Palmiero (41%)
Sweet sixteen results
1. Ivan ‘Pudge’ Rodriguez (96%) defeats 16. Ruben Sierra (4%)
2. Nolan Ryan (94%) defeats 15. Kenny Rogers (6%)
3. Juan Gonzalez (72%) defeats 14. Ferguson Jenkins (28%)
13. Rusty Greer (57%) defeats 4. Buddy Bell (43%)
5. Rafael Palmiero (64%) defeats 12. Josh Hamilton (36%)
6. Michael Young (86%) defeats 11. Charlie Hough (14%)
7. Jim Sundberg (72%) defeats 10. Ian Kinsler (28%)
8. Adrian Beltre (85%) defeats 9. Toby Harrah (15%)