The Texas Rangers Major League Baseball (MLB) team took to social media on Tuesday, December 13, and asked their friends: “What’s the best Rangers autograph you’ve received?”
If you ask it, they will answer.
The comments were downloaded and analyzed by the Dallas Express.
With over 2,000 likes on the Facebook post, the answer to the question likely won’t surprise Rangers fans.
Nolan Ryan and Ivan “Pudge” Rodriquez. The two players are both in the MLB Hall of Fame. Both players were also recently listed as the top.
The Ryan Express
Ryan is a Texas Native who holds nearly a dozen MLB pitching records. Those records include most career strikeouts by a pitcher with 5,714 and most no-hitters with seven. Ryan’s final no-no in 1991, at age 44 against the Toronto Blue Jays, was the same day the Oakland Athletics’ Rickey Henderson became the all-time stolen base leader.
Sammy Estrade, Fort Worth, was one of the hundreds that chose his Ryan autograph as his top pick.
He told the Dallas Express that he was an intern at WBAP radio the year Ryan threw that last no-hitter. Estrade’s co-worker at the time was Reid Ryan, Nolan’s son.
Estrade was in attendance in Arlington during the HOF pitcher’s final no-hitter.
“He did an interview on the radio, and because no one knew he was going to throw his 7th no-hitter, there were lots of tickets left from the game,” Estrade told Dallas Express. “He signed a bunch, and I got one.”
MLB selected Rodriguez as the catcher of the Rangers’ all-time single-season team and played his first 11 seasons in Arlington. He was a seven-time Silver Slugger Award winner, 13 time Golden Glove winner, and won league MVP honors in 1999.
“(I) had an usher at a game tell us to wait in the Captain Morgan Club in (centerfield) at the old Ballpark,” Brian Loe posted. “Pudge saw us and gave my son a high-five and autographed a ball for him!
Both Ryan and Rodriguez have been Rangers’ fans’ favorites, evident in the comment section of the autograph post on Facebook.
However, the two HOF players were a few of this expansive list of favorite autograph-givers.
Some of the common names include Rafael Palmiero, Juan Gonzalez, Josh Hamilton, and Ian Kinsler.
Some of the possibly more obscure names, at least to non-Ranger supporters, include Rusty Greer, Steve Buechele, Pete Incaviglia, and Oddibe McDowell.
“Chuck Norris,” on fan posted (quick looks through MLB stats by the Dallas Express shows no stats for any such name …more than likely, the reference is to Carlos Ray “Chuck” Norris, star of the Walker, Texas Ranger television series.)
While baseball fans reminisced with the Rangers on social media, MLB is amid a lockout between team owners and players. The business dealings have put the 2021 season on hold, and winter meetings have shut down.
The Rangers ball club made headlines right before the lockout with the singing of free agents Corey Seager and Marcus Semien.
According to Sports Illustrated (SI), the signing of the two players is the most money a team has spent in one offseason, according to Sports Illustrated (SI).
“Never before has a team shelled out $561.2 million in an entire offseason,” SI reported.
Robert Manfred, MLB Commissioner of Baseball, in an open letter to fans about the lockout, expressed his disappointment in the situation.
“We have had challenges before concerning making labor agreements and have overcome those challenges every single time during my tenure,” Manfred writes. “Regrettably, it appears the Players Association came to the bargaining table with a strategy of confrontation over compromise.”
Manfred said he remains optimistic that “both sides will seize the opportunity to work together to grow, protect, and strengthen the game we love. MLB is ready to work around the clock to meet that goal. I urge the Players Association to join us at the table.”