With the Rangers inducting star outfielder Josh Hamilton into the franchise’s Hall of Fame this past weekend, I felt inspired to do a breakdown of all of the Rangers who have played in left field since I more or less became a baseball fan back in the 2001 season. Earlier this year I did a breakdown of all the different players that have appeared in a game at catcher for the Rangers over the years. It was a fun exercise that allowed me to reminisce on all of the random guys who just pass through our baseball peripheral vision each and every season. So I thought, why not focus on another position?
Why left field? Why not just all of the outfield? Well first, I realize now that might have been a better idea, but I had already done all of the research on left field. Whoops! Peeling back the curtain just a little bit here. However, it is an interesting position to look at because it has been a revolving door in recent years. The same player hasn’t started in left field on consecutive Opening Day’s for Texas since David Murphy did it in 2012 and 2013.
Again, we are starting at 2001 because that’s about the earliest memory I have of following Texas Rangers baseball and following sports in general. So enjoy this list of guys who have appeared on your TV screen one random summer night through the years.
Ruben Sierra (2001), Todd Greene (2002), Herbert Perry (2002), Jason Conti (2004), Andy Fox (2004), Brian Jordan (2004), Gerald Laird (2007), Milton Bradley (2008), Vladimir Guerrero (2010), Bryan Holladay (2016), Justin Ruggiano (2016), Renato Nunez (2018)
Gerald Laird played left field for the Rangers? Bryan Holladay, the DFW-native the Rangers brought in to patch up the catching position in 2016, appeared in left field? This is what this list is all about.
Scott Sheldon (2001), Freddy Guzman (2006-2007), Desi Relaford (2007), Jason Ellison (2008), Jeff Francoeur (2010), Mitch Moreland (2010-2016)
A lot of the names in the early portion of this list are just going to be throwbacks to better times when Josh Lewin was the TV voice of the Rangers and he’d have to announce names like Scott Sheldon and Jason Ellison.
Gary Matthews Jr. (2004-2006), Adrian Brown (2006), Victor Diaz (2007)
One member of this list robbing another member below:
Marcus Thames (2003), Leonys Martin (2011-2015)
Laynce Nix (2003-2006), Mark DeRosa (2006), Brandon Snyder (2012)
Ricky Ledee (2001), Chris Magruder (2001), Craig Monroe (2001), Ryan Ludwick (2002-2003)
Who? Who? Who? And he played for the Rangers?
Jason Hart (2002)
Esteban German (2005, 2009-2011), Craig Gentry (2009-2013), Drew Stubbs (2015-2016)
I was surprised to see “Kitten Face” Craig Gentry only showed up in left field in 8 games for the Rangers. Guess he was center field or bust.
Chad Curtis (2001), Matt Kata (2007)
Jason Romano (2002), Mike Napoli (2011-2012, 2015, 2017)
Remember when the Rangers were so desperate to get Mike Napoli’s bat into the lineup in 2015 that they tried him out in left field?
Andruw Jones (2009), Endy Chavez (2011)
Chad Allen (2004-2005)
Jason Jones (2003), Mark Teixeira (2003-2007), Jared Hoying (2016-2017)
I guess Rafael Palmeiro taking up first base/DH at-bats put Mark Teixeira in the outfield from time to time his first season in the bigs.
Jason Jones (2003), Danny Santana (2019), Hunter Pence (2019)
Julio Borbon (2009-2013)
Bo Porter (2001), Ryan Strausborger (2015)
Jim Adduci (2013-2014)
Ruben Sierra (2001), Donnie Sadler (2002-2003), Carlos Peguero (2015)
Todd Hollandsworth (2002)
Drew Robinson (2017-2018)
Jurickson Profar (2012-2018)
One of many, many positions Mr. Profar was thrown at during his time with the Rangers. Actually started in LF on Opening Day in 2017.
Will Venable (2015), Carlos Gomez (2016-2017)
Ian Desmond (2016)
The spring training signing showed up and was the team’s everyday center fielder and All-Star in 2016.
Daniel Robertson (2014)
Gabe Kapler (2001-2002)
Jake Smolinski (2014-2015)
Jason Botts (2005-2008)
Another Josh Lewin classic name.
Michael Choice (2014-2015)
Eric Young Sr. (2004, 2006)
Shane Spencer (2003)
Carlos Lee (2006)
On the surface, the trade for Carlos Lee back in the summer of 2006 was a failure. Getting Nelson Cruz as a throw-in? Major win.
Jerry Hairston (2006-2007)
Nelson Cruz (2006-2013)
If only he could have been in left field instead of right for a certain fly ball in October of 2011…
Carl Everett (2002-2003)
Willie Calhoun (2017-2019)
Brandon Boggs (2008-2010)
Rusty Greer (2001-2002)
Fan favorite started six consecutive Opening Day’s in left field for the Rangers from 1996-2001. People around my age (26) probably think he spent most of his time in center field because of his catch during Kenny Rogers’ perfect game in 1994.
Marlon Byrd (2007-2009)
2009 Opening Day starter in left field.
Nomar Mazara (2016-2019)
Brad Wilkerson (2006-2007)
I once saw a Brad Wilkerson three-homer game in person. Put that on my bragging montage.
Delino DeShields (2015-2019)
While he has started three of the last four Opening Day’s in center field, DeShields has spent plenty of time in left field as well.
Shin-Soo Choo (2014-2019)
The bat (and contract) of Choo has forced the Rangers to find a way to keep him in lineup for six seasons now. Whether it’s at DH or either of the corner outfield spots, a healthy Choo is guaranteed to be in the lineup every single day he can.
David Dellucci (2004-2005)
2004 Opening Day left fielder had quite the memorable pair or eyebrows and was the batter for maybe the best moment of that lovable 2004 Rangers season.
Joey Gallo (2015-2019)
While the team has given him plenty of looks in center field in 2019 and all over the diamond in previous years, left field was where Gallo found himself on Opening Day this year.
Ryan Rua (2014-2018)
The Rangers tried really hard to make Ryan Rua a thing. He started in left field on Opening Day 2015 and 2018, he got plenty of opportunities to make his right-handed bat worthy of being in the lineup. Unfortunately, it never totally clicked for the guy and Texas let him walk this offseason.
Frank Catalanotto (2001-2002, 2007-2008)
Another Josh Lewin classic. Cat never started in left field on Opening Day for Texas but he did get the nod at DH in both 2002 and 2007. According to Wikipedia, he is currently the head coach of the New York Institute of Technology baseball team.
Kevin Mench (2002-2006)
Josh Hamilton (2008-2012, 2015)
Josh started two Opening Day’s in left field and three in center field. According to his Baseball Reference page, Hamilton played in center field for 421 games in his career compared to 392 in left.
David Murphy (2007-2013)
Oh, Murph. Acquired at the 2007 trade deadline in the deal that sent Eric Gagne to the Red Sox, David Murphy is one of the most lovable Rangers players in team history with his dependable level of play and friendly personality. With him being added to the FSSW TV booth this season, we’ve all been fortunate to get Murph back into our baseball lives. He started in left field on Opening Day in 2008. 2012 and 2013.
So there you have it! Lots of names. Some great. Some forgettable. All members of Rangers history.
*All Stats and Games Played totals from baseballreference.com
**2019 players game totals as of August 10th.
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