Beltré reflects on 'love' of Rangers, club HOF

Third baseman inducted alongside PA legend Chuck Morgan

August 14th, 2021

ARLINGTON -- never expected to love Texas as much as he did. From the Dallas Metroplex itself to the Rangers' organization to the fans and everything in between, it still surprises him looking back on it that it worked out the way it did.

Beltré signed with the Rangers on Jan. 5, 2011. Now, a little more than 10 years later, he was inducted into the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame on Saturday, after eight amazing seasons and an American League Pennant in 2011 with the club.

“I had no idea how quickly I was going to fall in love with the Rangers,” Beltré said. “Obviously, I came to the Rangers with the idea to win the World Series because they had a good team and they just came from the pursuit of it the year before. But I didn't have any idea how the team or the fans were going to see me. To be honest with you, well, it was some of the best years of my career. I enjoyed every moment of it.”

During his career, he compiled five Gold Glove Awards, two Platinum Glove Awards, four All-Star Game selections and four Silver Slugger Awards. He also totaled 477 home runs and 3,166 hits with four different teams (1,277 of those coming with Texas). His No. 29 already hangs in Globe Life Field alongside Nolan Ryan, Michael Young, Ivan Rodriguez and Johnny Oates.

But when reflecting on his time with the Rangers, Beltré remembers less of the accomplishments -- though those were undoubtedly important -- and more of the carefree fun he was having at that point of his career.

“The thing for me is when you’re on a team that’s winning and a team that has great chemistry in the clubhouse, it allows you to be yourself,” Beltré said. “That made it easier for me. In L.A., [where I live now] when people recognize me, they don’t talk about what I did offensively. They talk about the funny clips. I didn’t know it would have an impact on other players and fans out there, but it says a lot about how I play the game. I try not to lose, but I always tried to enjoy the game.”

Rangers public address announcer Chuck Morgan, who was also inducted into the Rangers Hall of Fame alongside Beltré on Saturday, remembers vividly that Beltré, Ian Kinsler and Young used to play around during batting practice at Globe Life Park, attempting to throw balls into the garbage can in front of Morgan’s booth.

Before every home game, he and his son, Adrián Jr., would take batting practice on the field before the team came out, with the sound of the youth metal bat dinging throughout the empty ballpark.

Little moments like those exemplify exactly who Beltré was, both as a person and a player, when he was in Texas.

“To me, he's everything that baseball is all about,” Morgan said. “A great player, a great hitter, great fielder and he had a good time when he was playing. I always told all the fans when I would go out and speak somewhere I'd say, ‘You’ve got to go get a ticket and watch this guy play because once you do, you'll never forget about him.’”

It wasn’t always like that for Beltré, though. It took a lot of growth and progress for him to be able to enjoy every day on the baseball field.

His first year in Seattle in 2005 was the worst of his career. He hit .255 with only 19 home runs in 156 games. It was to the point where he felt he wasn’t living up to the contract he had signed -- and he was unbelievably hard on himself. After his third or fourth year with the Mariners, he finally decided to enjoy himself and the game of baseball. “I got to the point where [I was] like, ‘My family is healthy, they're financially secure, like, I need to enjoy the game more,’” Beltré explained. “I let that side of me come out and it made a huge difference for me in my career. That allowed me to just go out there and play the game. The more I think about it, that was a huge turning point in my career. No doubt that it helped.”

Beltré was and is clearly respected by both teammates and opponents alike. A’s manager Bob Melvin, long on the other side of some of Beltré's biggest moments with the Rangers, had high praise of the legendary third baseman ahead of the ceremony. 

When asked if he believes Beltré should be in the Baseball Hall of Fame next, Melvin didn’t hesitate.  

“I do,” he said. “He was a great player. Entertaining to watch. Great defender. Power hitter. One of the clutchest hitters that you’ll ever see. I felt like I knew him pretty well. I actually know him better just talking about him with Elvis [Andrus] this year. There’s certain guys on other teams that you feel a little bit closer to. He was one of those guys. But his numbers speak for themselves. He was a really good player and, in my opinion, deserves to be in the Hall.”

Beltré ultimately finished his career with a slash line of .286/.339/.480/.819 throughout time with the Dodgers, Mariners, Red Sox and, finally, the Rangers.

Beltré spent more time in Texas than with any organization, turning the DFW Metroplex into a home for him and his family. Adrián Jr. basically grew up in the Rangers’ clubhouse. For all of those reasons, it’s more than an honor for him to be selected to the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame.

“It means a lot because of how the organization and the fans treated me,” Beltré said. “What we accomplished, I know we didn’t win the World Series, but we were as close as you can be. I enjoyed every moment of it. It was really, really the best eight years of my career. Not only the numbers, but have a team that you’re comfortable with and teammates that support you.

“That whole thing together, I just can’t say enough about how comfortable I was in the ballpark and how everybody allowed me to be myself and help in guiding the clubhouse. The whole thing together was just amazing. It says a lot.”