Retired Numbers: Texas Rangers

(This is part of a series on retired numbers, with somewhat of a focus on Retired Number Bandits — players who wore a number that was later retired at any point after the person for whom it was retired first wore it. See the introduction for more information and explanation on Bandits.)

The Texas Rangers are one of seven teams that have retired at least one number and never had a Retired Number Bandit. Like most of those seven, this is mostly due to not retiring very many numbers.

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Nolan Ryan, 34

Ryan spent the last five years of his Hall of Fame career with the Rangers, recording his 300th win, his 5,000th strikeout, and his sixth and seventh no-hitters with the team. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility with the second-highest vote percentage ever, behind only Tom Seaver. Ryan’s percentage now sits in third place after Ken Griffey Jr. surpassed both men this year.

By the end of Ryan’s career, he was as much legend as pitcher, and he is the only player to have his number retired by three different teams (including the Los Angeles/California/Anaheim Angels and the Houston Astros). Of course, his greatest accomplishment might have been hitting a batter, landing five punches in the ensuing brawl, and not getting ejected:

Johnny Oates, 26

Oates managed the Rangers from 1995 to 2001, leading the team to its first three postseason appearances and winning the American League Manager of the Year Award in 1996.

The Rangers retired his number in 2005, the year after he died at age 58 from glioblastoma multiforme, a rare and aggressive brain cancer. It was the same cancer that had killed Kansas City Royals manager Dick Howser in 1987 and former Royals closer Dan Quisenberry in 1998.

Unofficial: Ian Kinsler, 5, and Michael Young, 10

Kinsler’s number 5 and Young’s number 10 have not been issued since each man’s departure, although both were recent enough that it’s tough to tell for sure whether the numbers are actually unavailable or if they just have not been reissued yet.

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