Soriano, Lee headline Rangers on HOF ballot

November 18th, 2019

ARLINGTON -- Infielder and pitcher may have a difficult time getting into the Baseball Hall of Fame, but they do hold a special place in Rangers history.

Their contributions to the Rangers are worth remembering with the Hall of Fame releasing the 2020 ballot on Monday. Soriano and Lee are on the ballot for the first time. They are two of six players on the 32-player ballot who spent at least a short portion of their careers with the Rangers.

Soriano, after four excellent seasons with the Yankees, was acquired by the Rangers on Feb. 16, 2004, along with infielder Joaquin Arias for shortstop Alex Rodriguez. The traded ended Rodriguez’s three turbulent seasons with the Rangers.

It also gave the Rangers two front-line second basemen in Soriano and Michael Young. There was some uncertainty as to how that would be resolved until Young volunteered at the beginning of the Spring Training to move to shortstop.

They both ended up making the American League All-Star team that year. Soriano was also named the Most Valuable Player in the American League’s 9-4 victory at Minute Park after going 2-for-3 with a three-run home run.

Soriano spent two seasons with the Rangers, hitting a combined .274 with 64 home runs, 195 RBIs and a .498 slugging percentage. He was one year away from free agency when the Rangers traded him to the Nationals for outfielders Brad Wilkerson and Termel Sledge, and pitcher Armando Galarraga after the 2005 season.

Lee spent less than four months with the Rangers, but his time in Texas will not soon be forgotten. He was a huge reason why the Rangers ended up in their first World Series after he was acquired from the Mariners in a six-player trade on July 9, 2010.

Lee’s regular season performance was rather pedestrian. He was 4-6 with a 3.98 ERA, and the Rangers went 6-9 in his 15 starts. Postseason was a different story. Lee began by pitching the Rangers to a pair of 5-1 victories over the Rays in the American League Division Series, allowing Texas to advance in five games.

He then pitched eight scoreless innings in an 8-0 victory over the Yankees in Game 3 of the AL Championship Series, allowing just two hits while striking out 13. The victory at Yankee Stadium gave the Rangers a 2-1 lead in the series, and they ended up winning in six games.

Lee lost both his starts in the World Series against the Giants, but his postseason work in the first two rounds earned him a memorable niche in Rangers history.

The ballot also includes holdovers , and . Sosa, one of the six former Rangers, is on the ballot for the eighth time. His on-field statistics are Hall of Fame worthy, but his enshrinement is being held up by suspicions of performance enhancing drug use. His final season in the Majors was with the Rangers in 2007, and he hit his 600th home run that year.

Vizquel and Jones were teammates with the Rangers in 2009 as their careers were coming to a close. Vizquel was the Rangers utility infielder that season while serving as a mentor to rookie shortstop Elvis Andrus. Jones was the Rangers designated hitter, and he played in just 17 games in the outfield after winning 10 Gold Gloves during his career.

The ballot also includes former first baseman , who was the Rangers first-round pick in the 1998 MLB Draft. He played in 22 games for the Rangers in 2001 before being traded to the Athletics. His best years were with the Rays, but he finished his career by playing in 18 games for the Rangers in ‘14.

Results of the election will be broadcast at 5 p.m. CT on Jan. 21 live on the MLB Network.