This weekend’s series at Globe Life Park in Arlington isn’t just the final home series of 2018 for the Texas Rangers, it also might be the final home series of Adrian Beltre’s Hall of Fame career.
Most people close to the Rangers claim to know little about which way the 39 year-old third baseman/designated hitter is leaning at the moment. He did, however, indicate that his decision probably wouldn’t come quickly this winter. Last month, he said to the media that his decision might not come until November or December.
Whichever way he goes, we’re taking no chances here at Dallas Sports Fanatic. Editor Dylan Duell and staff writer Darien Clark got together this week to put together their thoughts on Adrian Beltre’s time with the Texas Rangers.
What’s your favorite memory of Adrian Beltre in a Rangers uniform?
Darien: It’s not easy to decide on a favorite memory of Adrian Beltre while with the Rangers. However, I have narrowed my 29 options down to two. Let’s go down memory lane to the 2011 ALDS where Beltre took over the game and smacked three home runs to lift the Rangers past the Rays three games to one. That performance by Beltre was flat out lethal, and from that point on, all Ranger fans knew this man was on a mission. My other favorite memory from Beltre is one that is more recent and we all should remember.
Dylan: Adrian Beltre has had more than his share of memorable moments during his eight seasons in Texas. The slugger was never one to just have a bunch of empty stats. He consistently came up with clutch hits and plays on defense. One of his greatest moments with Texas is one that will get lost in the fold because of how things ended up playing out. Beltre hit the go-ahead home run in the 7th inning of game six of the 2011 World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals. Unfortunately, things didn’t stay that way and that hit by Beltre is all but forgotten.
On the positive side, I think it’s fair to go with that memorable July afternoon in 2017 when Beltre nailed a double down the line for his 3,000th career hit as his best moment as a Ranger.
How has your perception of Beltre changed since his arrival in 2011?
Darien: My perception of Beltre has changed quite a bit. First of all, I knew he was a great third baseman, but never did I know that he could become one of the greatest ever. Even at age 39 and in his 21st season, he still makes flashy plays at third base like he used to back when he was with the Dodgers. Apart from his Gold Glove talent, he also is an exceptional leader. The current Rangers squad is incredibly young and immature and watching Beltre lead this group of guys is amazing. I couldn’t think of a better player for a crew to look up to than Adrian Beltre.
Dylan: Growing up as a young baseball fan throughout the 2000’s, I didn’t think too highly of Beltre. Playing for a bad Dodgers team, I never heard of him until his 48 home run season for Los Angeles back in 2004. Then when he signed with Seattle and became a part of a division rival, he seemed to be hurt quite often and never anything close to an absolutely devastating lineup threat like Vladimir Guerrero for the Los Angeles Angels at the time. Whenever Beltre signed with the Rangers for the 2011 season, it may or may not have been the cause of another franchise legend in Michael Young requesting a trade! It definitely didn’t take Beltre long to win the fans over. He’s been an essential part of the franchise’s most successful stretch in their history and he has been nothing but a positive impact on everything he touches within the organization.
What will you miss the most about Beltre once he’s gone?
Darien: The thing I’ll miss the most once Beltre is gone is his personality. It’s not often where this is the main thing someone will miss about a player, but in this case, it is for myself. The way he leads the clubhouse both in expertise and joy is truly inspiring. I’ll miss the head taps after every home run, the numerous pop-fly altercations with Elvis Andrus, and the home runs from one knee. Beltre is a legend that Ranger fans will have stories about for years to come as, he marches right into the Hall of Fame.
Dylan: Similar to Darien, I’ll miss his colorful personality. You can always tell Adrian is playing to do one thing, and one thing only: win. However, that doesn’t get in the way of him simply having fun with the game he plays. You can always count on some sort of playful antic from Beltre at least once throughout any given game. The outstanding bare-handed plays at third base and balls launched into the left field seats at Globe Life Park are great, but there just isn’t anything quite like a quick shuffling of his feet inside the batter’s box or the memory of him launching his glove at Elvis out of frustration during a pitching change.
Where does Adrian Beltre rank among your all-time great Texas Rangers?
Darien: Among all-time greatest Rangers, Beltre ranks fourth on my list: behind the three that won’t be moved for a long time. Pudge, Michael Young and Nolan Ryan accomplished incredible things for the organization and spent the majority of their careers here, with the exception of Ryan, but you know the situation with the legend. Beltre is truly an incredible piece of Rangers history moving forward.
Dylan: Growing up and going to games at The Ballpark in Arlington, or whatever it happened to be named that week, there were only three numbers retired out on the concrete facing just below the second deck in left field: #42 Jackie Robinson, #26 Johnny Oates and #34 Nolan Ryan. The #7 of the great Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez has since been added to that trio and I would hope there is a day no more than five or six years down the line where I can be sitting in the cool breeze of air conditioning at Globe Life Field with my son and I’ll be able to point at the #10 of Michael Young and the #29 of Adrian Beltre as numbers that no future Texas Rangers will be able to wear. I’m not sure where he falls in the all-time Rangers rankings, probably somewhere in the top ten since he had already been in the big leagues for well over a decade by the time he got here. However, the fact that he solidified himself as a sure-fire Hall of Famer in Texas definitely shoots him up the rankings.
With the news of manager Jeff Banister’s firing breaking on Friday afternoon, it’s a shame that if Beltre does retire at the end of the season, it won’t be the most beautiful of farewells. No matter when he decides to hang it up, the future Hall of Famer will be able to know that an entire Major League Baseball franchise was made so much better because of his time around it.
From Rangers fans all over the world: Thank you, Adrian Beltre.
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