Controversy surrounded former Rangers’ player Josh Hamilton this past Monday. But this time he didn’t do anything wrong.
It was announced that Josh Hamilton and former Arlington Mayor Richard Greene would be inducted into the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame on August 17th this year.
Fans and members of the media were quick to react with differing opinions on Hamilton being admitted. They either loved Hamilton for what he did here or hated his remarks about Arlington not being a “baseball town”.
His actual quote was “Texas, especially Dallas, has always been a football town. The good with the bad is they’re supportive, but they also got a little spoiled at the same time, pretty quickly. You can understand a really true, true baseball town. There’s true baseball fans in Texas but it’s not a true baseball town.”
The Rangers acquired Josh Hamilton in the offseason at the end of the 2007 season from the Reds in exchange for pitcher Edinson Volquez. Tampa Bay had previously traded him to the Reds because of his past use with illegal drugs. That past use would eventually catch up with him, but not before he made a big impact on the game.
He made his debut with Texas in 2008 and it was a big one.
The 2008 season saw Hamilton hit .304 with 32 home runs and 130 RBI. He made his first of five straight All-Star games with the big game being the All-Star home run derby where he hit, a still record, 28 home runs in the first round. His performance was so great at the old Yankees Stadium, in its final year, that even New York fans began chanting his name.
His best season came in 2010 when the Rangers finally made their way to their first World Series appearance in franchise history. Josh became the Texas Rangers first AL MVP since Alex Rodriguez in 2003. Rodriguez won it with a losing team though. Hamilton led the league with a .359 batting average, .633 slugging percentage and an OPS of 1.044. He was also named the ALCS MVP that season.
In 2011 he suffered injuries and his numbers went down, though he still hit .298 with 25 home runs.
2012 saw his power come back as hit 43 homers but his average fell down to .285. Then there was the controversy at the end of the season where Hamilton misplayed an easy fly ball. Fans seemed to think that he had simply given up and he was blasted on social media.
The Angels Era
After the 2012 season Texas didn’t offer him a new contract and he signed a big free agent deal with the Los Angeles Angels for five years worth $125 million. That was when he made his infamous “baseball town” remark that was referenced earlier.
He hit .250 with 21 home runs for Los Angeles in 2013.
He was derailed by injuries again in 2014 as he hit .263 with 10 homers in just 89 games.
The Return to Texas
In 2015 the Los Angeles Angels traded Josh Hamilton back to the Texas Rangers. in the deal Texas would eat $4 million of his contract while the Angels would pay the other $72 million plus left on the deal.
The majority of fans who boo’d him when he returned as an Angels player ended up cheering for him back in Texas. They knew what he had meant to this team. However. the previous drug use in his career continued to take a toll on his body. He only played in 50 games in his final season with eight home runs and 25 RBI.
Hall of Fame
Does Josh Hamilton belong in the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame? Yes, most certainly. He was one of, if the not the biggest, contributors to the Rangers back-to-back World Series appearances. He finished his short nine year career with a slash line of .290/.349/.516 with 200 home runs and 701 RBI. Had his past drug use not broke down his body he could have been one of the greatest players in MLB history.
But he still stands as one of the greatest in Texas Rangers history.
Until next time, I’ll see you in the cheap seats!
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