ARLINGTON -- One man was instrumental in keeping the Rangers to Arlington and getting a new ballpark built. The other helped bring two World Series to that ballpark.
Now they will be inducted together into the Rangers Hall of Fame.
The Rangers announced Monday former Arlington mayor Richard Greene and outfielder Josh Hamilton will be inducted into the club’s Hall of Fame before their Aug. 17 game against the Twins. They will join 20 other previous inductees who have contributed to the Rangers’ 48-year legacy.
“It’s a great honor,” Hamilton said. “Just think about it, 15-20 years ago, to get in any Hall of Fame, I would have said, ‘No way.’ But my years with the Rangers were the best years of my career. Being able to talk to everybody, I just think about all the good memories. The Rangers stuck with me through a lot and gave me a chance. This is a great honor.”
Hamilton was with the Rangers from 2008-12 after being acquired in a trade with the Reds. He was a five-time All-Star and the 2010 American League Most Valuable Player Award winner while leading the Rangers to two World Series.
He was known for his prodigious talent as well as his incredible ordeal through drug and alcohol abuse that almost cost him his career, if not his life.
Hamilton left the Rangers in 2013-14 to play for the Angels, but he was reacquired by Texas in 2015. That was his last season in the Major Leagues as his career was brought to an end by knee injuries.
Hamilton has a ranch near College Station, Texas, and a home in Keller. His time is devoted to the ranch and his four girls.
“I am making up for lost time and being a dad,” Hamilton said. “I’m just enjoying life.”
He doesn’t follow baseball, but he misses the game. He turns 38 on Tuesday, so he wouldn’t be the oldest player to wear the Rangers uniform if he tried it one more time.
“When I see it on television, there is still that feeling inside that comes up that I could still do it or at least be a DH,” Hamilton said. “But then, I remember that the reason I retired is to be with my girls.”
Hamilton said his health is good and his knees feel better now than when he did when he was still playing. He is also determined to stay clean and sober.
“It’s all good,” Hamilton said. “That’s something that stays with me the rest of your life. But it’s the same thing, surround yourself about people who care about you.”
The Hall of Fame induction will be the Rangers’ fans first chance to show their appreciation to Hamilton as his career ended abruptly, and there was no ceremony or official announcement that he was retiring. He simply faded away when the knees wouldn’t let him go anymore.
“A couple of things stick out from when I played here,” Hamilton said. “Seeing the excitement of the fans grow from what we saw when I first got here to where it was in 2012. Just the excitement with the players we had and the team that [Jon Daniels and Nolan Ryan] put together and being a position to win. A close second would be 2010-11 and the World Series.
“I hope people know that I gave everything I had. Some people liked it, some loved it, some didn’t. They wanted to me to stay healthy. But I don’t have fun unless I was playing all out, trying to help the team win a ballgame.”
Greene was inaugurated as mayor in 1987 not knowing that the next two years would involve a dogfight to keep the Rangers in Arlington. At one point, the Rangers were sold to a group determined to move the club to Florida. The city of Dallas made multiple bids to get the Rangers, as did the suburbs of Plano, Irving and Addison.
At one point, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported that Addison was going to get the team. But Greene made a solemn vow as mayor.
“We were not going to lose the Rangers on my watch,” Greene said.
It was a no-holds-barred fight, but Greene emerged victorious, both to keep the Rangers in Arlington and get them out of a Minor League facility.
The Rangers’ future was assured when the club was bought the ownership group headed by George W. Bush and Rusty Rose. Greene then partnered with club president Tom Schieffer to first win approval from Arlington voters for the new ballpark and then get it done on time and under budget. The Ballpark in Arlington was a triumph from the moment Van Cliburn played “The Star-Spangled Banner” on Opening Day.
It is appropriate that Greene will go into the Rangers Hall of Fame in the final year of the ballpark he helped build.
“This is a tremendous honor,” Greene said. “This brings everything back to full circle. This is our 26th year of enjoying the finest ballpark ever built. The people of Arlington showed their can-do spirit in keeping the Rangers, building the ballpark and getting to the World Series. Now we will move into a new ballpark that offers even greater comfort and will allow us to enjoy even more memories. This is forever.”