Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Best Seasons: Sierra - 1989.

I was going to wait and post on tonight's game. Alexi Ogando got knocked out in the third inning though and James Shields was brilliant. Looks like the Devil Rays are going to win this one. Time for the next installment in T.R. Sullivan's fifty best seasons in Rangers history list.

Number six on the list is Ruben Sierra's 1989 season. Sierra, shown here on card number 165 of the 1990 Sports Illustrated for Kids set, was 23 years old in 1989 and had been in the Majors for three years. In 1989 his speed and power came together.

Ruben led the league in games played with 162. He also led the league in triples (14), RBI (119), slugging percentage (.543), and total bases (344). He led the team in doubles (35), home runs (29), runs scored (101), and hits (194). His .306 batting average was the best he had posted to that point in his career and was second only to Julio Franco's .316 on the team. His 14 triples are still a team record.

Sierra's season did not go unnoticed. He came in second in MVP balloting. He was also named to the All-Star team and won a Silver Slugger award. This was the season that the Rangers and their fans had been hoping for from Ruben since he tore up through the minors and onto the Major League roster. It would easily be the best season of his career.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Checking in.

Checking in on the 2011 season that is. Kind of a mixed bag over the last few days but at least the Rangers seem to have come out of their slump.

With just two games separating the two teams going into last weekend, the Rangers welcomed the Angels to Arlington. Momentum seemed to be in the Halos favor. To be frank, I was expecting to two clubs to flip-flop in the standings before the series was over. That was not too be. The Rangers suddenly woke up and took two of three from the Angels to come out of the series with a three game lead. They then picked up an additional half a game yesterday when the Mariners managed to beat the Angels while Texas took the day off.

Nice to see the guys pick up a little ground on Anaheim. They're not out of the woods yet though. While the Angels are playing a couple of fourth place teams in the next week the Rangers will be facing off with the Devil Rays and Red Sox. That with Nelson Cruz going back on the Disabled List today with a hamstring injury.

With Tampa Bay coming to town I must confess to being less than impressed to hear that Scott Feldman, shown here on card number 259 of the 2010 Allen and Ginter set, was starting tonight. It's not that I dislike Scooter, it's just that I don't care to see him start a big game. Ron Washington didn't ask me though so Feldman got the start. Good thing he did. He just left the game with a two run lead. In six innings he gave up just two hits and held the Devil Rays scoreless. Very nice work to see from a spot starter. If Texas doesn't hold on to this game it won't be Scott Feldman's fault.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Minor League Monday - Ronaldo Romero, 1989 ProCards.

Texas signed young Ronaldo Romero, shown here on card number 1016 of the 1989 ProCards set, in 1987. In 1988 he would play for the Sarasota Rangers in Rookie ball. With an ERA of 3.05 Ronaldo showed enough promise to get promoted to Single A the next season.

With the Gastonia Rangers in 1989 Romero would post a 4.82 ERA and a 1.679 WHIP in 84 innings. He would start 15 of the 22 games he appeared in and would end with a 5-5 record. Ronaldo did struggle with his control as he walked 60 batters while striking out 62.

That performance wasn't enough to get Romero bumped up to Double A. At 18 years old there was time for improvement though. Another season at Gastonia was in order.

Romero started off the 1990 season like a house afire. By the time he appeared in his eleventh game on May 14th he had a 1.35 ERA. Something had clicked it seemed. Ronaldo got off to a rocky start that night and gave up an uncharacteristic seven runs in the first two innings. Sitting in the dugout in the top of the third he began to have trouble breathing and complained that his heart was fluttering. As emergency personnel responded, his heart stopped. CPR was initiated and he was transported to the local hospital. At 2045, a half an hour after his collapse, he was pronounced dead by the emergency room doctor. At age 19 Ronaldo Romero's career and life were over.

An autopsy later determined that Romero suffered from an enlarged heart and that was likely what led to his fatal heart attack. With that in mind, there was little that anyone could have done. Young people just don't survive heart attacks and there is usually little sign that they are coming until it is too late. Apparently that was the case here. Trainer Tom Tisdale later said that Ronaldo had told him prior to the game that he was feeling the strongest he had all season.

Sorry for the rather downer post. Romero's card was simply the next to come up in the team set. I had no idea what I was about to uncover as I scanned it in and began to research. I suppose that's the thing to keep in mind here. Tomorrow is not guaranteed and nobody knows what the future holds. We all need to make sure that we are prepared to step into eternity at any time.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Senators Saturday - Joe McClain, 1962.

Joe McClain, shown here on card number 324 of the 1962 Topps set, had spent the entire 1961 season as a member of the Senators starting rotation. In 1962 he returned to the game with the goal of making that spot in the rotation his permanent home.

Things went badly for Joe from the word go. He got four starts in ten appearances and completed two games. He wasn't able to win a game though and got tagged with the loss four times. His ERA ballooned to 9.38 and his WHIP climbed to 1.833.

McClain was a control specialist and apparently his control had deserted him. The results were predictably not good. After just 24 innings the Senators had seen enough. They sent Joe down to Triple A to see if he could regain his 1961 form.

Joe pitched 113 innings in 24 games with the Syracuse Chiefs to finish out the 1962 season. He managed to get his ERA down to 4.62 and his WHIP to 1.513. His control was still a problem but at least he struck out more than he walked (59 to 36). Some improvement had been made but not enough, McClain ended his dismal season at Triple A.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Odd Moments: Knocking a hole in the wall.

Late in 1985 the Rangers obtained Pete Incaviglia, shown here on card number 20 of the 1988 Nestle set, from the Montreal Expos. Inky had yet to see Major League action. For Spring Training in 1986 the Rangers would be getting into shape in Florida. Pete was there along with the rest of the team.

During an exhibition game Incaviglia got a handle on a pitch and blasted it into the outfield. The ball rocketed to the wall and appeared to be ready to ricochet off the wall. To everyone's amazement that didn't happen. Instead the ball smashed a hole through the wall. Truly a spectacle of incredible strength!

Later investigation revealed that the wall at Pompano Beach Park was made of wood. That wood was rotting away. Such information didn't keep the Rangers from getting some great mileage out of the story. It would stick with Inky throughout his time with Texas. I can remember my Grandfather talking about it and hearing it referenced during broadcasts of Rangers games. Needless to say, the part about the rotted wood never seemed to make the story.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Best Seasons: Burroughs - 1974.

Another ugly night at The Ballpark in Arlington tonight. This will drop the Rangers down to a mere two games over Anaheim. That with the Angels coming into town and Texas on a skid. Starting to get frustrating. I think I am going to take a break from the 2011 season this weekend. Good time to try and get caught up on T.R. Sullivan's top 50 lists.

Number 5 on T.R.'s list of fifty best seasons is Jeff Burroughs' 1974 performance. I have already covered this season in detail here. To recap just how good Jeff's season was, at the time this 1986 TCMA All Time Rangers card was issued Burroughs was the only Rangers player ever to win the American League MVP award.

Hard to forget a 118 RBI season with a .301 batting average and 25 long balls. Amazingly it seems that a large number of Rangers fans have done just that.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Decisions: Three-for-one.

With the horrendous losses last night and tonight I decided to move on with T.R. Sullivan's Top 50 Decisions list. Two of the next three decisions deal with front office moves and one concerns a manager that I have already posted my only card of. As such I will bunch the three together in this one post with sticker number 450 in the 1989 Panini set serving to provide the Rangers team logo.

Number nine in T.R.'s list is the decision in 1973 to fire Whitey Herzog as manager of the Rangers. The gig was Herzog's first as a manager and he was given just 138 games before Bob Short fired him. Short should have let Herzog develop but he was impatient and committed one of the worst errors in team history. By 1975 Whitey was leading the Royals to a second place finish. By 1976 he was leading them to the first of three straight post-season appearances. Soon after that came his time with the Cardinals. Pure stupidity to let him go after such a short time.

Number ten is the 1994 housecleaning. General manager Doug Melvin and manager Johnny Oates were brought on board. Two years later the Rangers were in the post-season for the first time ever. Additional appearances in 1998 and 1999 followed.

Number eleven is also a housecleaning, this time in 1984 and 1985. Tom Grieve was hired as General Manager in 1984 and Bobby Valentine as manager in 1985. These moves didn't lead to a post-season berth but they did bring the franchise back from the steep decline it was in following the excitement of the mid to late 1970's. That would set the stage for Melvin and Oates to work their magic.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Starting off right.

This week has been and is slated to be incredibly busy. Hectic even. Seems like I have little to no time looking to be empty through early next week. The result will be some short posts at times. For that I apologize in advance.

C.J. Wilson, shown here on an Academy Sports playing card, started off the week nicely last night against the Red Sox in Arlington. In the series opener Wilson went 6.2 scoreless innings as he picked up his 13th win. C.J. walked two while striking out four. Very nice.

Following C.J. the bullpen was perfect as they allowed no hits. Final score: Texas 4, Boston 0. Very encouraging way to start off the homestand. Just gotta keep winning guys.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Minor League Monday - Cris Colon, 1989 ProCards.

Two losses to end the road trip. Anaheim picks up a couple of games in the standings. Ugh. Time for a break from the 2011 season.

Cristobal Colon, seen here on card number 1014 of the 1989 ProCards set, was just 17 years old when the Rangers signed him in 1986. As befitting a shortstop he had been born in Venezuela. In 1987 he started his pro career with the Rookie League Gulf Coast Rangers. He started the 1988 season with Butte in the Pioneer league, also a Rookie level league. After 49 games with Butte he moved up to Single A and the Gastonia Rangers.

Cris would put in a full season with Gastonia in 1989. He would appear in 125 games.

In 500 plate appearances Colon's batting average was an uninspiring .226 and his on-base percentage was an even less exciting .243. Part of the problem was Cris' 95 strikeouts as compared to just ten walks on the season. That's a dangerous ratio at any level of play.

Cris also struggled in the field. In 550 chances at short he committed 47 errors for a .915 fielding percentage.

At just 20 years of age Colon was looking at a career change. If he couldn't get the holes in his bat and glove plugged he was not going to be playing pro ball for very long. He was obviously struggling. Single A is not a good level to start that. Of course the longer than normal stay at Rookie ball may have been a harbinger of what was to come at Gastonia. As it was he would get more time, Cris would be starting the 1990 season at Single A with Gastonia. What he would do with that time remained to be seen.

Friday, August 19, 2011


Having one of those days. You know, just like card number 536 in the 1988 Score set. All yellow bordered mediocrity. I think it's probably the last couple of days at work and then mowing in the heat today.

It's all finally catching up with me. Caught myself snoozing earlier listening to the Rangers game. No motivation for composing a post. With the Rangers loss last night I can't even come up with a decent topic that doesn't take a lot of effort. Of course Score had the same problem in 1988.

That's why Paul Kilgus ended up looking less than motivated himself on a yellow bordered card with a pretty boring design. It's the kind of design that I might come up with on a day like today.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Catching up.

Wow! Seems like a lot going on since I posted on Thursday. I'll try and get up to speed. Since I'm doing some catching up I'll leave you with this 2003 Fleer Tradition card of catcher Ivan Rodriguez and a piece of his jersey.

When I left off posting the Rangers were two games up on the Angels and seemed to be unable to gain any ground. Now they are seven games ahead and winning on the road. Very nice turnaround.

Michael Young is doing well. Well enough that at least one writer has mentioned his name and MVP in the same article. Ron Washington is also trying to advance Michael's cause.

On the downside of things the club is now saying that Adrian Beltre is probably out until September. That's a real bummer with the season he was having. Hopefully he is rested and ready to come back for the final push.

Sorry about the lack of a post yesterday. I had intended to get back up and running then but ended up putting in 14 hours at work. Kind of made the day short for posting. Back now though and ready to cheer the Rangers down the stretch.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

1975 Topps - Jackie Brown.

In this last of the pre-recorded posts we see Jackie Brown on card number 316 of the 1975 Topps set. You can tell this is a vintage card by the chaw of tobacco in Jackie's cheek. Can't have that anymore. Could be a bad influence on the kiddos.

Jackie started the 1975 season doing long relief and spot starting for the Rangers. All told he would appear in 17 games for Texas. Seven of those games were starts. Interestingly he completed two of his starts. Not something you would expect out of a spot starter/long reliever. One of those complete games was a shutout.

All told Brown pitched a total of 70.1 innings and allowed 33 earned runs for an unsightly 4.22 ERA. He struck out 35 of the 305 batters he faced while walking 37. Two of those walks were intentional. Jackie's WHIP was 1.493.

Fergie Jenkins, and Steve Hargan, needed some help in the rotation. Jackie's chances of landing a starting gig were slight. His ERA was also higher than everyone else in the bullpen other than Clyde Wright. Wright was a lefty and Jackie threw right. Apparently that made him expendable. On June 13, 1975 the Rangers traded Brown, Jim Bibby, Rick Waits, and $100,000 to the Cleveland Indians for Gaylord Perry.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Minor League Monday - Doug Cronk, 1989 ProCards.

Doug Cronk, shown here on card number 1013 of the 1989 ProCards set, was the Rangers 22nd selection in the 1988 draft. In 1988 he played for the GCL Rangers in Rookie ball. In spite of some struggles there he was moved up to Single A for the 1989 season.

In 1989 Doug would play in 133 games for the Gastonia Rangers. He would make 562 plate appearances during the season. His batting average would total to .251 and his on-base percentage to .351. The on-base percentage was helped by the 74 walks he worked and the three times he was hit by a pitch. Cronk had some power. 22 of his 120 hits were home runs and 17 more were doubles. Three were triples. He also knocked in 77 RBI. Unfortunately Doug struck out like a power hitter might - a lot. 132 times in 1989.

In addition to the strikeouts Cronk also struggled a bit in the field. His 14 errors during the season contributed to his .989 fielding percentage. Not real good for a first baseman.

1989 was not a good season for Doug Cronk. His defense could be improved with work. The high number of strikeouts and low batting average were big red flags - especially at Single A. Apparently his swing had a hole in it and even at that level of play the opposing pitchers had found it. Doug needed to find and close it quick if he wanted to move on up the ladder to Arlington.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Senators Saturday - Chuck Hinton, 1962.

Chuck Hinton was the Senators go to guy in 1962. Hinton, shown here on card number 347 of the 1962 Topps set, had more plate appearances and appeared in more games than any other position player on the team.

Chuck played all three outfield positions, second base, and even a couple of innings at shortstop. In total Chuck put in 1,138 innings in the outfield. He saw 243 chances and handled all but three of them successfully. That gave him a .989 fielding percentage - well above the league average .980. At second base Chuck handled 55 of the 56 chances he saw in 90 innings for a .982 fielding percentage. That was two points above the league average .980. Chuck's two innings at shortstop were more of a cameo appearances than anything else. He didn't even get a ball hit to him.

Hinton was also a workhorse at the plate. His 598 plate appearances, 168 hits, 25 doubles, 75 RBI, 28 stolen bases (2nd in the league), .310 batting average (4th in the league), and .361 on-base percentage led the team. He also tied for first on the team in home runs with 17 and triples with 6. He was second in walks with 47.

That performance made Chuck one of the few bright spots for the Senators in 1962 and even generated some MVP consideration. It also brought into question Jim Piersall's role with the team in 1963.

Friday, August 12, 2011


This weekend is a very busy one for the Spiff household. As such I have scheduled today's post as well as the posts for the next few days. Hopefully I am only missing commenting on positive happenings for the Rangers.

For post #500 I posted a Jon Matlack card. For #1,000 I decided to go with Matlack again. This time he appears as a new Ranger on the cover of the third issue of the 1978 Sports Quarterly. Gotta love the headlines. "The Texas Menace" and "Pittsburgh Rises Again". Guess it's time for a repeat.

Post number one on this blog was a welcome post followed the same day by the Rangers rookies card from the 1972 Topps set. That was in January of 2008. A little over three and a half years later here we are at #1,000. It's been a fun time for the most part, even if there were moments of frustration with the Rangers and a lack of inspiration with the blog. Hope you have gotten a little enjoyment from it as well. A few of the highlights to this point:
  • Comments and feedback from those who have taken the time to read the blog.
  • Trades with new friends, fellow bloggers, and readers.
  • Willie Lozado commenting on the blog and graciously granting me an interview.
  • Joe Wardlow's comment on a post.
  • Getting a free Strat-O-Matic game and being able to give away free games to readers.
  • The stint at the top of Google search results for Texas Rangers Cards.
There are many more that I can't recall off the top of my head so the list is by no means complete. I have really enjoyed taking another look at my Rangers collection and appreciate all the comments and support from readers. If there is a post or series of posts that you have found particularly interesting or amusing I would love to hear about it. Thanks again for reading.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Odd Moments: Captain A-Rod.

Bummer on the loss last night. I guess at least the Angels lost as well so the Rangers didn't lose any ground. With Holland struggling and the team losing this might be a good time for the next installment in the Odd Moments series.

In January of 2004 the Rangers and Alex Rodriguez, shown here on card number 96 of the 2003 Donruss Estrellas set, were in what appeared to be the last stages of a nasty divorce. Rodriguez had publicly embarrassed the club by making it clear that he did not want to play in Texas. He had asked for a trade and even gotten involved in trying to set one up. Obviously it was just a matter of time before the club found a way to dump Alex.

Thus it was a bit of a shock when the Rangers and Rodriguez held a joint press conference. Something was up - Buck Showalter, Tom Hicks, and Alex were all in tuxedos. Only slightly more jarring than the attire was the announcement that was made. Alex Rodriguez was now the team captain (the first since Buddy Bell). The reaction was underwhelming. Alex made a situation appropriate comment when he said, "I'm probably pretty sure it will work out for the best." Tom Hicks said that the disputes and discord were past. Buck Showalter made confident noises.

Two weeks later Texas traded the newly minted captain to the New York Yankees.

Looking back on the incident it is plain to see that it was a farce from the word go. Tom Hicks had already been taken once by Rodriguez's agent, Scott Boras. In following Boras' suggestion to name Alex team captain he was taken again. Naming a lying, whining, selfish, immature malcontent to an official leadership role on the team wasn't going to help anyone. It wasn't going to help the team's finances, their relationship with Rodriguez or their win-loss record. It's hard to believe that Showalter honestly thought that it would. It's incredible to think that Hicks could be so naive. Obviously Rodriguez didn't buy any of it for a minute.

Captain or not, Alex wanted out. Two weeks later the team obliged.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Another comeback, another walk off.

Well, Alexi Ogando got slapped around a bit by the Mariners last night. Seems a little odd that anyone would get slapped around by the Seattle offense this season but that's what happened.

Fortunately the Rangers' bullpen was able to take over with two outs in the top of the third. At that point the Mariners had six runs to the Rangers three. The bullpen shut Seattle down though and they didn't score again. In fact, the Mariners got just three hits after Ogando left the game. Texas scored though. Two runs in the seventh and another in the eighth to tie things up.

In the bottom of the ninth Ian Kinsler worked a walk and Endy Chavez got aboard with a bunt. That brought up Josh Hamilton, seen here on card number SQ-46 of the 2009 Upper Deck StarQuest set. Josh laced a single and Kinsler scored from second for a walk-off win. Good stuff.

That kept the Angels a game and a half back but no further as they rallied late to beat the Yankees in New York. It would be nice to see the Rangers use this series with Seattle to pick up another game on Anaheim.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Harrison, offense top Seattle.

So the Rangers welcomed the Mariners to Arlington last night to kick off a series. Thanks to a great pitching performance by Matt Harrison and the Texas offense coming alive the Rangers were able to grab the 9-2 win and pick up half a game on the idle Angels.

Harrison went seven innings and gave up just two runs while striking out six. That was the total number of runs Seattle got and it was a good enough performance to give him the win.

Since I am running a little short on Harrison cards I am going to give the card of the day to Nelson Cruz. He appears here on card number TEX13 of the 2007 Topps Texas Rangers team set. Last night Nellie went 3-for-4 with a walk, a home run, and two RBI. Nice to see him heating up.

Mike Napoli and Yorvit Torrealba both continued their respective offensive runs. Mith Moreland also had a very good night at the plate. Very good to see some of the guys in the lower part of the batting order contributing.

Quick note on Matt Harrison's tenth win. That gives all five Rangers starters ten wins on the season this year. That's the first time the team has had that many pitchers with that many wins since 1996. It's the first time in team history that the team has had five starters with ten wins each. Awesome to see the rotation holding together this far into the season. Hope it continues.

Monday, August 8, 2011


Lots going on in the last couple of days with the Rangers. First off, a comeback win last night against the Indians bullpen to hang on to first place in the American League West. Great to see the team not give up and pull out the victory.

In last night's game Michael Young, seen here on card number 110 of the 2005 Leaf Century Collection set, went 2-for-4 at the plate. Not too bad a night. It was the second hit though that stirred the most reaction from Rangers fans. Michael's infield hit didn't score a run but it was hit number 2,000 for his career. All 2,000 hits have come in a Rangers uniform. That puts Young in some pretty nice company career-wise and cements his status as the player with the most hits all-time as a Ranger. Congratulations Michael Young. It would be nice to see number 3,000 come in a Rangers uniform.

Some bad news for Arthur Rhodes this morning. After signing with Texas in the off-season he experienced some early success. Then came the struggles and the addition of Mike Adams to the bullpen. Following that trade Rhodes was designated for assignment. Less than a week later the team has placed him on release waivers. That means he becomes a free agent on Wednesday. Tough ride for Arthur.

Former Rangers pitcher Kenny Rogers had a smoother ride. On Saturday he was inducted into the Rangers Hall of Fame. I missed his speech but apparently it was pretty well done. Congratulations to The Gambler.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Spoke too soon.

Apparently I should have held off on last night's post. The game came to quite a different conclusion than I thought that it would.

When I posted the Indians were leading the Rangers 7-3 in the top of the sixth inning. The Cleveland lead was due mostly to an early meltdown by Derek Holland. Dutch gave up 6 runs in 1.2 innings. Scott Feldman then took over. He managed to shut the Indians down for the most part as he gave up just one run in 3.1 innings. That left the score at 7-3 in the the middle of the sixth.

Shortly after I posted Texas began to claw their way back into the game. They picked up two runs in the sixth to run the score to 7-5. There it stayed until the bottom of the ninth.

In the bottom of the ninth Josh Hamilton, seen here on card number OPC-33 of the 2009 Upper Deck set, managed to get on base. With two outs Michael Young then launched a two-run homer to tie the game. Into extras.

Nothing happening in the tenth or the top of the eleventh. Bottom of the eleventh Elvis Andrus bunted his way on and then went to second on a wild pitch. Up came Josh Hamilton. He hit a weak infield hit to score Andrus. From second. On an infield hit. Incredible. Rangers win!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Best Seasons: Ryan - 1989.

Nothing positive to say in the sixth inning of tonight's game. Looking like a pretty bad loss shaping up. As such we will move on to number four on T.R. Sullivan's Fifty Best Seasons list.

Nolan Ryan was 42 years old in 1989 - his first season with the Rangers. Like card number 49 of the 1989 Sports Illustrated Covers set says, he seemed like a miracle man.

Nolan started 32 games for Texas and won 16 of them. He completed six games and tossed two shutouts. Four potential no-hitters died in the eighth inning or later. His ERA was 3.20 for the season and his WHIP tallied to 1.086.

In the 239.1 innings that Nolan pitched in 1989 he struck out 301 batters. That total was the best in the American League. In comparison he walked just 98 batters unintentionally. Roger Clemens was second in the strikeout totals with 230. One of Ryan's strikeouts was number 5,000.

As a result of his performance Ryan was named to the All-Star game and got some Cy Young consideration (5th). Not bad for a pitcher who was old enough to be retired from playing the game.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Hanging on.

Well, the Rangers won today to hold on to at least a one game lead in the division. Good thing the Twins beat the Angels last night or there could have been a tie this morning.

Alexi Ogando went 6.1 innings and gave up two runs in the 5-2 victory. While he didn't go particularly deep in the game he did strike out seven while not allowing any walks. New Rangers Koji Uehara and Mike Adams both appeared out of the bullpen with better results than last night. Darren Oliver got his man as well and Neftali Feliz struck out two to get the save. Nice to see some good pitching again.

On the offensive side of the ledger nobody was a one-man wrecking crew but eight of the starting nine got at least one hit. Andres Blanco was the only hitter to get an 0-fer. Nice to see such an even distribution of offense. Even nicer to see Ian Kinsler with a walk, a clutch hit, and a RBI. Kinsler's been struggling lately and this is hopefully the beginning of the end of his slump.

Since today is Thursday I took a look to see what I could come up with in the way of an autograph or game-used card for this post. Turns out that I have very little in the way of current players that I haven't already posted. Nothing that really fit in with this game. As such I will leave you with this signed 1992 Fleer card of Kenny Rogers. The Gambler is supposed to be inducted into the Rangers Hall of Fame before Saturday's game so there is a tenuous connection to today's post.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Odd Moments: A night in Oakland.

Ok, so the past two nights in Detroit have been frustrating. Enough to get me a little wound up. Not as wound up as several Rangers players got in a bizarre incident in Oakland in 2004. That's the next installment in T.R. Sullivan's 50 Strange Occurrences list.

September 13, 2004. Texas was in Oakland to play a set at the Coliseum.

One thing that's important to know about the Coliseum and A's fans - the razzing of visiting teams. C.J. Wilson commented on that on his blog a season or two ago. During the 2001 season my brother was stationed at Monterrey, California. He is a big A's fan and took advantage of the situation to go to the Coliseum. Even he commented on the fans giving the visiting bullpen a hard time during the games. In 2003 a fan threw a cell phone and hit Ranger Carl Everett on the back of the head.

The stage appeared set for confrontation. Manager Buck Showalter would later complain of the lack of security and state that the Rangers had always had trouble in Oakland.

During the game the fans taunted and harassed the Rangers bullpen as per the normal routine. By the ninth inning nerves were wearing thin. What happened next though was totally unexpected. Pitcher Doug Brocail, shown here on card number 112 of the 2005 MLB Showndown Trading Deadline set, claimed that a fan began to taunt him about his recently stillborn child. The fan, Craig Bueno, later got a lawyer and refused to comment on what he might have said. Dave Rinetti, A's vice president of stadium operations said that the fans never swore or yelled racial slurs at the players. Don't have to do that to get into a stillbirth. Whatever was said, Showalter claimed that it, "went over the line."

Brocail lost his cool (understandable if his account was accurate) as did several other members of the bullpen. A scuffle broke out and the dugout cleared. During the melee Frank Francisco picked up a plastic chair and threw it into the stands. The chair hit Jennifer Bueno, Craig's wife, in the face. The blow broke her nose and left a cut that took stitches to close. Doug Brocail was restrained by coach Mark Conner and several teammates as he screamed at a male fan (probably Craig Bueno). Security quickly rushed to the area and ended the altercation.

Frank Francisco was arrested the next morning on a $15,000 bond. The Buenos would later file a civil suit that was settled out of court for an undisclosed amount in 2007. Tom Hicks apologized for the players actions. The A's finally beefed up security. Commissioner Bud Selig wasn't happy. Frank Francisco received a 16 game suspension that was later reduced to 15 games. He also pled no contest to the criminal charges and had to attend anger management counseling. Doug Brocail was suspended for six games. Carlos Almanzar was suspended for four games. The incident effectively gutted the Rangers bullpen for the remainder of the season.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

1975 Topps - Pete Broberg.

Looking at card number 542 in the 1975 Topps set today, Pete Broberg.

By the time the 1975 season rolled around Broberg was no longer with the Rangers. On December 5, 1974 Texas traded Pete to Milwaukee for Clyde Wright.

The pitcher who so impressed Ted Williams was no longer a Ranger.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Minor League Monday - Trey McCoy, 1989 ProCards.

So the Rangers seemed to have shored up their bullpen just at the trading deadline. Don't really know enough about the two prospects they gave up to get Mike Adams but I am glad they got him instead of Heath Bell.

Since I really can't analyze the trade and since I have no other ideas for a post it's time to take another look at the past down on the farm.

Today we see Trey McCoy on card number 1012 of the 1989 ProCards set. Trey's legal name is Homer Claude McCoy. Think I might go with Trey if I were him. Trey was the Rangers 9th round selection in the 1988 draft and played that year for Butte in Rookie ball. McCoy's .357 batting average and .458 on-base percentage is what probably got him promoted to Single A for the 1989 season.

In 1989 Trey would get 549 plate appearances in 130 games for the Gastonia Rangers. His batting average would drop to .280 and his on-base percentage to .377. Both drops were significant but not fatal. Trey's strikeouts rose to 81 but his walks also went up to 72. Those numbers really aren't that bad considering that he was developing into something of a power hitter. In 1989 he had 18 home runs, two triples, and 31 doubles. He also knocked in 89 RBI.

While McCoy's hitting seemed to be developing nicely his defense was another matter. In 42 games in the outfield he saw 52 chances and committed eight errors for an abysmal .846 fielding percentage. He did better in the 21 games he played at first base as he saw 155 chances and committed just one error for a .994 fielding percentage.

All in all 1989 hadn't been a bad season for McCoy. As a ninth round draft pick he probably wasn't expected to rocket through the minors. His offense had dipped a bit with his promotion and he needed to work on his defense. Probably for those reasons he would start the 1990 season by returning to Gastonia for more work and seasoning.