Texas Rangers: Joining the Ranks of the Cubs and Indians as Lovable Losers

Michael PopeAnalyst IJune 24, 2008

Josh Hamilton is a lovable guy. David Murphy is too. Fans seem to love it when guys are traded away from one franchise only to blossom under another.

Hamilton is quickly becoming the sensational feel good story of recent memory, while Murphy is breaking out and keeping himself in the Rookie-of-the-Year race.

The team still has fan favorite Michael Young at short and rising star Ian Kinsler at second. The Rangers are a fun and talented team with solid big league players.

Over the years, the Rangers have had plenty of star players. Nolan Ryan, Ruben Sierra, Ivan Rodriguez, Juan Gonzalez, Rafael Palmeiro, and Fergie Jenkins. The team has had some legitimate Hall of Fame stars.

Most notable was Alex Rodriguez, the man who was supposed to push the team over the edge, who couldn't get the team out of last place the three years he played in Texas.

Actually, in the teams' 35 Texas years, they've had only four first place finishes. Their first was the miserable strike shortened 1994 season when they went 52-62.

The others came from 1996-1999 when they won their first ever playoff game against the Yankees in 1996; however, they went on to drop two one-run games and were swept in the rest of that series.

The next two playoff series were pitiful sweeps, also at the hands of the Yankees, in which the Rangers scored one run combined in each series.

Other than this one run of successful teams, they've mostly been bad. Every team has its ebbs and flows, but the Rangers ebb much more often than flow.

The only other teams that have had this type of futile run are the Indians and Cubs. Not even the Red Sox qualify because despite their constant failures, they still fielded some very good teams.

But one reason they are lovable losers is there doesn't ever seem to be much hope of winning.

Most successful teams are centered on pitching. Pitching is one reason teams put together an unexpected season or are good for a number of years. They build their team around a solid core of starters.

The Rangers never seem to be able to do that. Whether it's the hot summers, a small ballpark, or poor drafting, the Rangers are infamous for their ineptness on the mound.

Even the three years the Rangers won in the 90's, their ERAs were 4.66, 5.00, and 5.07. Their line-up was simply so good they out-slugged teams.

Yet, history tells us that very few teams win without good pitching.

This year's Rangers are no exception. They are 39-38 with an ERA of 4.94. There doesn't seem to be much hope that it will improve.

In the last few years, the Rangers traded away good pitching and replaced it with bad pitching. Chris Young was swapped for Adam Eaton. John Danks went to the White Sox for Brandon McCarthy. Volquez went in the Hamilton deal.

Until the team somehow figures out a way to develop quality pitching, they will continue to struggle. I'm hopeful they can, after all, I like the Rangers.