As we prepare to close the 2010’s, our Rangers staff at Dallas Sports Fanatic took the time to brainstorm and vote to determine the biggest moments of what turned out to be the most successful and memorable decade in franchise history. From the highest of highs to the lowest of lows, we had to acknowledge it all. It was truly a decade to remember.
Today, our staff is looking at what is more or less THE memorable on-field moment/accomplishment of the last three seasons. A franchise hero accomplishing one of baseball’s most impressive feats in a Rangers uniform in front of the fans that adored him for eight seasons. On a hot July day back in 2017, future Hall of Famer Adrian Beltre notched career hit number 3,000 before a roaring crowd at Globe Life Park.
What makes this one of the defining Rangers moments of the decade?
Alex: Adrian Beltre quickly became a fan favorite. He and Elvis Andrus were the duo of the Texas Rangers for 80% of this decade. On that Sunday afternoon against the Orioles, Beltre’s moment shined through the eyes of the fans, his teammates, and his family. Seeing his family run toward him to celebrate brought out the emotions for me. It felt like that little league moment where you score the game-winning run or hit and your family is in the stands cheering. Adrian Beltre was not only one of the best Texas Rangers to play third base, but his sense of humor and style felt like a big kid at heart. To see that big kid accomplish a rare feat, it felt like my heart doubled in size.
Garrett: I think this moment stands out because of the season in which it happened. The Rangers were really mediocre in 2017 on the way to a 78-84 record. By late July, the team was in a funk. Baltimore was way worse. The Orioles expected to contend that year and made a flurry of moves in the off-season- but they were significantly worse on the way to a 43-119 win-loss record. And yet, 44,000-plus people packed Globe Life Park on Saturday, July 28th with hope to take part in a historic Major League baseball event. Beltre went hitless that night, but 32,000 the next day braved the heat and took part of Beltre’s triumph. Not many players could bring that kind of draw, but those numbers alone are a testament to his popularity. For better or worse, the Texas fans love Adrian Beltre.
Dylan: Going off the picture Garrett drew, the conditions during this game were Exhibit A when it comes to reasons why the Rangers are going to be playing summer day games indoors next season, but there was still a huge crowd there during a relentlessly forgettable season to see this baseball player, and lovable human/personality, accomplish one of the most storied feats in the sport. I can’t imagine what it’s like to have Adrian Beltre as a dad, but seeing him share this emotional moment with his three children on the field at beautiful Globe Life Park was just perfect. The respect and admiration that was so clear from every other player/coach on both the Rangers and Orioles was so clear. For a player that never got his World Series ring, this is the ending of the Adrian Beltre Hall of Fame video montage.
How is Beltre’s career legacy affected if he does not reach this milestone?
Alex: I feel like this milestone solidified Beltre’s ticket into the baseball Hall of Fame. The milestone helped improve an outsider’s look on Beltre’s career. We, as Rangers spectators and fans, got to witness Beltre for eight years on an everyday basis (and five in a Mariners uniform). Therefore, we knew the greatness he brought and the fun he showed on a daily basis. However, the outside world didn’t quite know too much about it. Before he was a Ranger, Beltre’s personality didn’t show as much because of the pressure in Seattle and as a youngster in Los Angeles, but that milestone now gives baseball fans a chance to glance at the overall career of Beltre. I do think he should still be in the baseball Hall of Fame even if he came up a bit short of 3,000, but thankfully that argument is just speculation.
Garrett: 3,000 hits was a significant milestone for Adrian Beltre. For a player that will likely make the MLB Hall of Fame, but doesn’t have a World Series or national prominence, this accomplishment solidified his resume. He flew under the radar so much in his career, especially with the Rangers- which is what he wanted, if we’re being frank. But this moment was a foray into the national spotlight that tied up any loose ends on his illustrious career in America’s spotlight- whether he liked it or not.
Dylan: I’ve always said that Adrian came to Texas in 2011 as a very respected, All-Star-caliber player and then he retired in 2018 as a legendary Hall of Fame third baseman following his eight seasons in a Ranger uniform. Getting to 3,000 hits is definitely one of the milestones that will make never winning a World Series much more palatable whenever writers look up and down his resume in four years when they get their first crack at voting him into Cooperstown. Beltre is even a Hall of Famer with just 2,800-2,900 hits, but it sure does look nice to look on his baseball-reference page and see the big 3,166 career hits. Due to him being kind of the “new guy” on the Rangers 2011 shoulda-been title team, plus being on so many forgettable Dodger and Mariner teams over the course of his first 10+ seasons in the majors, I think the average fan could not really appreciate Adrian Beltre properly if they didn’t get to watch his run in Texas as closely as we did. Now he’ll never be forgotten for generations to come thanks to reaching this milestone.
Follow us all throughout the month of December as we continue to break down other memorable moments from the past decade of Rangers baseball.
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