Texas Rangers beat writer Kennedi Landry wrote a fun article yesterday on MLB.com. She named the five best debut seasons in Rangers history. Not rookies. First seasons.
Josh Hamilton’s 2008 season.
Nolan Ryan’s 1989 season.
Alex Rodriguez’s 2001 season.
Fergie Jenkins’s 1974 season.
Adrian Beltre’s 2011 season.
Here is the full article.
I can think of a few other great first seasons. Remember Jeff Zimmerman? His first season as a Ranger was his first season as a major leaguer. He came out of the bullpen and ended up on the All-Star team, and was third in Rookie of the Year voting. He had only two more seasons, then was done.
In 2014, Kevin Kouzmanoff was off to an incredible start in his first season with Texas. After 24 games he was batting .362, with a .412 on-base percentage, and an out of this world OPS+ of 183. Then he got injured and never played major league baseball again.
Will Clark’s first season as a Ranger was pretty remarkable as well. It was the same season the Ballpark opened. 1994. Clark already had an All-Star career with the Giants before signing with the Rangers. His first year, he batted .329. had an on-base of .431, and an OPS+ of 141. It was his last season making the All-Star team.
Milton Bradley’s first, and only, season with the Rangers was remarkable as well. He led all of baseball in on-base percentage at .436, OPS at .999, and OPS+ at 162. It was his only All-Star season, and the only season he finished in the running for MVP.
David Dahl, Nate Lowe, and Dane Dunning have a chance to have a magical first season as a Ranger in 2021. So does Kohei Arihara.
Let’s hope they have the kind of seasons people remember years from now.