After Hamels/Diekman, and then Gallardo, the third most impactful acquisition for Texas in 2015 was Josh Hamilton. When he was good, he was very good. He burst out of the gates resembling the old Josh. Driving in runs in the clutch. Multi-homer games. He even brought his glove with him from California.
Then he got hurt.
Even so, his is acquisition was so important because the Rangers front office went into 2015 without giving manager Jeff Banister a left fielder (or a bullpen).
Often Banister just had the center fielder move over about twenty feet, and the right fielder move over about twenty feet, and the Rangers played with only two outfielders—that is how poorly built the Rangers’ major league roster was.
So Hamilton’s fortuitous falling into Daniels’s lap for next to nothing was a godsend. Not only could the Rangers finally field a proper team of nine in 2015, it gave them a left fielder for 2016 as well. His salary next season is being paid entirely by Arte Moreno, too. And, for a small market club like Texas, bargains like this are essential to being able to compete with the “big boys.”
While nobody expects Hamilton to play 162 games—more like 62—when he is healthy, he makes a huge impact in the lineup.
Here is an article from May 30, a week into Josh’s grand return to Arlington. It was a good game.
A COMPLETE GAME.
How does Josh Hamilton win back the hearts of this football town? By hitting two touchdowns.
Which is exactly what he did last night.
It might be too hard to believe, but Josh Hamilton might just be writing another chapter in his made for Hollywood career.
After witnessing him hit two home runs last night, I couldn’t help but think back to that July night in 2008 in Yankee Stadium when Hamilton hit twenty-eight home runs in the first round of the Home Run Derby and instantly became Paul Bunyan.
Last night, he swung the magic axe once again.
Nobody knows what the rest of this season is going to look like, and maybe Josh Hamilton really likes feasting on knuckleballers, but last night’s two-home-run performance was pretty special.
By the time he came up to bat for the third time, he got the loudest ovations of the night.
The joy on Hamilton’s face was infectious.
Until his next knucklehead move, Texas Rangers fans love Josh Hamilton again.
What an incredible story of redemption.
But an even more special story was written by the bat of twenty-two-year old Hanser Alberto, playing in his first major league game in place of Elvis Andrus. Alberto laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt in his first ever major league at bat in the third inning that set up the Rangers’ second run.
Then, in the seventh inning, with two outs and a runner at first, in one swing of the bat, Alberto picked up his first major league base hit, first major league triple, first major league RBI, and first knock out blow of an opposing major league pitcher. Then, moments later, he scored his first ever major league run.
The joy on Alberto’s face was infectious.