ARLINGTON – Four good stories from the Rangers' opening weekend:
Rangers artifacts headed to Hall
Rangers pitcher Lance Lynn’s jersey and the first-pitch baseball he threw on Friday night against the Rockies are going to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
So is one of the bases used at Globe Life Field during the inaugural game of the Rangers' new ballpark. It is part of the Hall of Fame’s ongoing mission to obtain artifacts that tell the story of the history of baseball. The Hall of Fame has collected approximately 40,000 artifacts and 3 million documents down through the years.
“With the opening of Globe Life Field, it’s important ... there is a message and meaning behind every artifact that we preserve,” Hall of Fame president Tim Mead said. “With these items, it’s going to add to the history of the Rangers here in Cooperstown and a story that continues to be told.”
The items collected from Friday’s game will be included in the Hall of Fame’s ballpark exhibit known as Sacred Grounds.
“It is one of our larger spaces,” Hall of Fame vice president John Shestakofsky said. “You will see recognition of many ballparks from the early days all the way up to today’s game. This request for artifacts from Globe Life’s opening game falls in line with the stories of how fans interact with the game. Every ballpark is unique and different, and also the different ways fans interact with the game.”
The Hall of Fame possesses many Rangers artifacts going back to the opening of Arlington Stadium and the Ballpark in Arlington. The Hall has the bat Bengie Molina use to hit for the cycle in 2010, Michael Young’s jersey from his 2,000th hit in 2011, caps worn by Nolan Ryan in his sixth and seventh no-hitters and multiple pieces of equipment donated by Adrian Beltre and Ivan Rodriguez from various milestones.
Andrus goes to bat for friend
Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus is donating $100 for each hit he records this season to Team Luke Hope for Minds in order to help raise awareness about brain injuries to children.
The Team Luke Hope for Minds mission is to assist children and families impacted by a brain injury and educate about common causes of brain injuries.
The organization was founded by former Texas Tech tennis coach Tim Siegel, whose son Luke was seriously injured in a golf cart accident five years ago in Lubbock, suffering severe brain and chest trauma.
Andrus, who is Luke's favorite player, is one of several professional athletes who have befriended Luke, along with Saints quarterback Drew Brees and tennis star Martina Sharapova.
“I have always tried to be there for them and we came up with this idea,” Andrus said. “It is super important to me. Now that I am a dad, I can only imagine what he is going through. It will have a whole lot more meaning every time I step on the field to raise awareness. It’s something that happened to him and I wish nobody else had to go through it.
More information can be found at teamlukehopeforminds.org.
Gibaut is Rangers' biggest surprise
Right-hander Ian Gibaut continues to be the biggest surprise of the Rangers summer. He threw 2 1/3 scoreless innings over his first two outings against the Rockies this weekend.
He was one of the first players sent down in Spring Training (9.00 ERA, 2.33 WHIP), but he surprisingly made the team out of Summer Camp. He did so mainly by pounding the strike zone with his 95-mph fastball.
“I gotta be honest with you, I wasn't expecting what I saw,” pitching coach Julio Rangel said. “He's always had stuff, we saw it last year, [but] the consistency wasn't there. But he came in and was just attacking hitters.”
Gibaut was a surprising addition just to the Rangers' 60-man player pool, based on what happened in Spring Training. He was a long-shot candidate to make the Opening Day roster.
“For sure, nothing wrong with that,” Gibaut said. “In my mind, I was going to make the team. That’s how I felt about my stuff and how I could pitch. What I have done throughout my career is throw the ball pretty well, so I came in here to make the team.”
King provides remarkable story
The Rangers made a late-camp addition to their 60-man player pool on Friday, adding left-hander John King as a potential relief option. It’s a great story for a guy who had a 2.40 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP at Class A last season.
King pitched at the University of Houston, where he was identified by Rangers scout Randy Taylor as a potential target. He was a senior in 2017 when he suffered a torn elbow ligament in late April that would Tommy John surgery.
King took three weeks off, then pitched three big games for the Cougars that allowed them to win their conference title and advance to the postseason tournament. The Rangers took him in the 10th round, and he has progressed steadily through their system.
“His senior year in Houston, he basically pitched with a torn ligament,” Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. “ He found a way… he was pitching with probably a 78- or 82-mph fastball. Literally blew out and wanted to pitch through it. He did, found a way to success regardless.
“Great job by our scouts identifying him, and he has that makeup that will figure out a way to get it done.”