This week I will give numbers 41-45 on my All-Time Rangers list.
Also, this week I am continuing the poll for the second annual Texas Rangers Trades Broadcaster of the Year Award (on the left-hand sidebar). The winner will get an award, so if you haven’t already, please vote to make it more meaningful.
45. Tom Henke: 58 saves, 11-12, 3.55 ERA, 169 K, 172.1 IP
Tom is the 45th best player in Rangers history, in my opinion. He is 4th in saves for the Rangers all-time. He played five years for the Rangers in two different stints, three years at the very beginning of his career and two at almost the very end of his career. He had 40 saves in 1993, when the Rangers challenged the White Sox for the division until almost the end of the season. He has a pretty good ERA and a very good number of strikeouts for the number of innings he pitched. He would strike out a lot of batters, get you plenty of saves, but usually not get you too many innings. His saves are what got him #45 on my list.
44. Jeff Zimmerman:32 saves, 17-12, 3.27 ERA, 228.2 IP, 213 K, All-Star (99)
Jeff is 10th on the Rangers all-time saves list, despite only being a closer for one season. Jeff only played three years in the majors before a career-ending injury, but all three years were for the Rangers. He made the All-Star Game in his rookie year and pitched one scoreless inning in the game. He went 9-3 with a 2.36 ERA that year. In 2000, he had a more average year, though, with a 5.30 ERA and a 4-5 record. In his last year in the majors and his only year as a closer, he pitched very well again, with 28 saves and a 2.40 ERA. That got him his only big contract right before his injury. He is a pitcher who would pitch about 65 games a year, would normally be a very, very solid pitcher and had a good K/per 9 stat. All those reasons are why Jeff is #44 on my list. In addition, Jeff is one of the all-time nicest guys to ever wear a Ranger uniform.
43. Jim Kern:37 saves, 17-18, 2.59 ERA, 236.1 IP, 196 K, Rolaids Fireman of Year (79), All-Star (79), MLB Save-Leader (79)
Jim led the league in saves in 1979, was an All-Star in 1979 and won the Rolaids Fireman of the Year Award in 1979. He is 6th in saves on the Rangers all-time list, and has a very good ERA at 2.59. He has a losing record, though. He has a good amount of strikeouts for his number of innings. He definitely deserves to be on this list with his All-Star appearance, Relief Pitcher of the Year Award and saves lead, even without the other things that he has done. He was only here three years, and only two of those were good years. He is a guy that could have an excellent season (1979), but would have some mediocre years (1980, when he went 3-11 with a 4.83 ERA). That is why he is #43 on my list.
42. Gary Ward: .293 AVG, 41 HR, 200 RBI, All-Star (85)
Gary Ward is the 42nd best player in Rangers history because of his solid batting average and All-Star appearance. He is 9th in batting average for 1250 AB’s or more and 38th in homers. He is also 31st in RBI’s and had 45 stolen bases. He hit for a solid batting average and had a decent amount of home runs and RBI’s. He was also an All-Star in 1985, when he hit .287, with 15 HR’s and 70 RBI’s. If he had been a Ranger for more than three seasons he would be plenty higher on this list.
41. Dean Palmer: 154 HR, .247 AVG, 451 RBI
Dean Palmer is the 41st best player in Rangers history, in my opinion. Dean is 6th in home runs, and 14th in RBI’s, but has a below average batting average. He is 13th in at-bats, but only has a .320 OBP. He had plenty of power, but did not hit for average or get a lot of walks to make up for that fact. He was a very streaky hitter. He would go through periods where he seemed to hit everything but then longer periods where it seemed he could hit nothing. His average and OBP are the only reasons he is not higher on this list.
Come back next week for numbers 36-40 on my All-Time List.