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Who is on Rangers' all-time True Texan team?

November 22, 2020

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers will rely on homegrown players during their latest rebuilding project, meaning those drafted and developed in their farm system as opposed to being true products of the state of Texas. But there have been 91 players born in Texas who have played with the Rangers over

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers will rely on homegrown players during their latest rebuilding project, meaning those drafted and developed in their farm system as opposed to being true products of the state of Texas.

But there have been 91 players born in Texas who have played with the Rangers over the past 49 years. That raises this question: Who would make up the all-time Rangers True Texan team?

Before we answer that, let's define a "true Texas product." You can’t just have been born in the state. Reliever Joe Nathan was born in Houston, but he went to high school and college in New York state. (Nothing wrong with that!) But for purposes of this list, you have to have been born in Texas and gone to high school here.

Catcher: Jose Trevino, Bob Johnson
Being from the Corpus Christi area is just one of several reasons why Trevino has a chance to be a true fan favorite in Arlington.

Johnson was selected by the Rangers out of Kimball High School in the 9th round of the 1977 Draft, and he is the nephew of Hall of Famer Ernie Banks. Johnson had some impressive power numbers in the Minor Leagues and a strong throwing arm, but he was a backup behind Jim Sundberg during parts of three seasons ('81-83) with the Rangers.

First base: Mike Hargrove
Hargrove is from Perryton, a small town in the Texas Panhandle. He is about as Texan as you can get.

Second base: Randy Velarde
This West Texas native went to Midland Lee High and Lubbock Christian University, and he played for the Yankees, Angels and A's before being acquired from Oakland in the 2000-01 offseason for pitchers Aaron Harang and Ryan Cullen.

Velarde was supposed to be the Rangers' second baseman, but he suffered a strained left hamstring on May 24, 2001, and went on the injured list. Michael Young was called up from Triple-A the next day and never relinquished his job.

Shortstop: Larvell Blanks
Blanks played one season with the Rangers in 1979 after a few decent years in Cleveland. “Sugar Bear” might be one of the more obscure players on this list, but you have to love a guy who was born and raised in Del Rio, played in the Little League World Series and was a multi-sport athlete in high school who could have played quarterback in college. The Braves drafted him out of high school, but he eventually earned his degree from Sul Ross State University, taught and coached tennis at Del Rio High School and competed on the Golf Channel Amateur Tour.

Third base: Will Middlebrooks
An East Texas guy, Middlebrooks was born in Greenville and went to high school at Liberty-Eylau, where he was the quarterback, kicker and punter. He had a chance to go to Texas A&M out of high school, but he signed with the Red Sox instead. He ended up filling in for Adrián Beltré in September 2017.

Utility infield: Dave Chalk
Chalk played in nine games for the Rangers in 1979, and he is worth remembering for a couple of reasons. He was a two-time All-Star with the Angels, but he had knee surgery in the offseason and began the year on the IL.

On May 4, he was traded to the Rangers for shortstop Bert Campaneris, who had signed a five-year, $400,000 contract two years earlier but had been unhappy sitting on the bench. Chalk spent about six weeks in Texas before he and catcher Mike Heath were traded to the A's for pitcher John Henry Johnson.

Outfield: David Murphy, Laynce Nix, David Hulse
Murphy was meant to play for the Rangers. Houston-born, he went to Klein High School and Baylor University, and he was a big part of two American League pennant-winning teams in a great supporting role. John Wayne always had a Murphy-type sidekick in all those Westerns: James Caan in "El Dorado," Glenn Corbett in "Chisum," John Agar in "Fort Apache" or Earl Holliman in "The Sons of Katie Elder."

Nix, from Midland, had an 11-year career. He had trouble staying healthy and hitting left-handed pitching, but, wow, was he chiseled. He was the closest thing, physically, the Rangers have had to a Mike Trout-lookalike. With power, speed and athleticism, Nix looked like he was going to be something special.

Hulse, a left-handed hitter who could run, gets the third spot over Chris James. Both were fearless in the outfield in the true Texas tradition, but they were not always smart about it.

Designated hitter: Hunter Pence
Pence is the pride and joy of Arlington, even if he was born in Fort Worth.

Starting rotation: Nolan Ryan, Danny Darwin, Roger Pavlik, Chris Young, Yovani Gallardo
Ryan is obvious. Darwin may be one of the most versatile pitchers of his era, being able to both start and relieve as needed. Pavlik was an All-Star and a 15-game winner for the Rangers in 1996 who could never solve the issue of throwing across his body. Trading Young and first baseman Adrián González in the 2005-06 offseason was an early painful lesson for general manager Jon Daniels about trading away young pitching in an attempt to win immediately.

We are waving the rule for Gallardo, He was born in Mexico, but he moved to Fort Worth when he was 4 and grew up rooting for the Rangers. Let’s not quibble too much over criteria.

Bullpen: Shawn Tolleson, Mark Lowe, Adrian Devine, Dennis Cook, Mike Adams, Xavier Hernandez, Chris Martin, Mike Bacsik
Relieving can be a difficult and nomadic existence, but these eight at their best would be a stout bullpen. Bacsik is a must. His son pitched for the Rangers, too.

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.