C.J. Wilson was superb in last night's much-needed win over Seattle. Pedro Strop is gone. Mark Lowe is back (uh-oh). Tommy Hunter and Nefali Feliz are getting close. And dazzling Cuban defector Leonys Martin is fast-tracking our way.
In the middle of a very transitory Rangers season I was asked by a certain TV station to list my all-time best players from 21 -- get it? -- to 1.
And away we go ...
21. Alex Rodriguez -- If he wasn't a 'roided-up asshole he'd be much higher
20. Cliff Lee -- Pitched Rangers to Game 5 win in Tampa for first playoff series
19. Jeff Burroughs -- '74 AL MVP
18. Julio Franco -- '91 batting champ with .341 average
17. Frank Howard -- Hit first homer at Arlington Stadium, then 245 as Ranger
16. Will Clark -- Grinding first baseman on Texas' first two division champs
15. Buddy Bell -- Best defensive infielder in history of franchise
14. Rusty Greer -- Did he ever catch a fly ball without diving?
13. Nolan Ryan -- Seventh no-hitter and 5,000th strikeout be damned, 51 wins rank only 11th
12. Fergie Jenkins -- 90 complete games, 17 shutouts and 25 wins in '74
11. John Wetteland -- All-time saves leader
10. Toby Harrah -- Original shorstop is sixth all-time in games played; second in stolen bases
9. Kenny Rogers -- Best lefty pitcher, by a mile
8. Jim Sundberg -- Third in games played, six consecutive Gold Gloves at catcher
7. Ruben Sierra -- Second in triples and one of the best OF arms in team history
6. Charlie Hough -- Chain-smoking knuckleballer holds every important pitching record
5. Rafael Palmeiro -- Steroids or not, he's third in hits and second in franchise homers
4. Josh Hamilton -- AL batting champ and MVP on franchise's first World Series team
3. Michael Young -- By year's end he'll hold mark for games, at-bats, runs and hits
2. Juan Gonzalez -- Texas' only two-time MVP
1. Pudge Rodriguez -- Team's all-time best defensive player also among Top 10 in every offensive stat and won MVP in '99
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