When it comes to the Texas Rangers and their successful squads, all one needs to do is look at Globe Life Park. All the wild card berths, division titles and American League championships occurred there. This was accomplished through excellent scouting, shrewd trades and great draft choices.
But why didn’t that happen during the 20+ years at Arlington Stadium?
Well I did a little digging and decided to take a look at the Texas Rangers draft busts and the players they passed over. Now this tongue-in-cheek. Take it with a grain of salt. I do realize that the Rangers aren’the only team that passed on these players. It’s just fun to look at what could have been.
1973: David Clyde
Could have been: Dave Winfield, Robin Yount
Yes I realize this was more of a publicity stunt by then-owner Bob Short and he needed someone to put butts in the seats ASAP. Who better than a stud high school pitcher from Texas? It worked as he won his debut start in front of a sell-out crowd. However, he never spent a single day in the minor leagues. He was never given a chance to develop. Clyde spent just five years in the Majors between Texas and Cleveland. He ended up retiring due to lingering arm issues.
1978: Amos Moses
Could have been: Cal Ripken Jr.
This one hurts. Texas needed a shortstop and they chose Moses over Ripken. Amos never made it to the big leagues. Do I need to tell you what Ripken did?
1983: Jeff Kunkel
Could have been: Roger Clemens
Would our pitching instructors have developed him as he was in Boston? We’ll never know. Kunkel played for eight seasons and finished his career with a 0.9 bWAR. He played in 100 games just one year.
1985: Bobby Witt
Could have been: Barry Larkin, Barry Bonds
Okay so Witt wasn’t exactly a “bust” but he’s also no hall of famer. That’s two HOF shortstops so far that the Rangers missed on. Even though some fans hate Bonds because of the steroid era, I would have loved to see him launching balls out of the stadium.
1987: Brian Bohanon
Could have been: Craig Biggio
Yep, Craig Biggio was looked over because the Rangers wanted pitching. Bohanon did pitch for twelve seasons with six different teams but he is not in the Hall of Fame.
1988: Monty Farris
Could have been: Robin Ventura
Monty appeared in just 104 games over three seasons with the Rangers and Marlins. I can’t be too upset about this one because we never would have had the legendary Nolan Ryan vs Robin Ventura fight.
1989: Donald Harris
Could have been: Frank Thomas, Mo Vaughan, Chuck Knoblauch
Are you kidding me? Did we even pay scouts back then? Donald Harris played only three seasons, all with Texas, and finished his career with a -1.4 WAR.
1990: Daniel Smith
Could have been: Mike Mussina
Dan Smith career stats: 2 starts. 17 games. 1-5 win-loss record. 4.66 ERA.
Mike Mussina career stats: He’s in the Hall of Fame. Do I really need to publish his stats? I’ll just sit in a corner and weep.
So there you have it. Imagine having a team in the 80’s with that core of players. Plus you figure in the fact that we had a great international scouting program that brought us Pudge Rodriguez, Juan Gonzalez and Ruben Sierra among others. A late 80’s early 90’s pitching staff with Nolan Ryan, Roger Clemens, Mike Mussina, Kevin Brown and Bobby Witt would have been amazing with the offense behind it.
If only it had happened.
Until next time, I’ll see you in the cheap seats!
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