Among Rangers all time home run leaders, are you surprised to learn that only two have slugged more than 300 dingers during their time with the organization? The Rangers have only been around since 1972, but I was expecting more than that. What you’ll see below is some details on the top five of Texas’ career home run leaderboard, along with the rest of the current top 20.
Rangers All Time Home Run Leaders: Top 5
Juan González: 372 Home Runs
A common way for players to become a franchise all-time home run leader is produce huge single-season performances. Juan González certainly went this route during his time with the Rangers. He debuted as a 19-year-old for Texas in 1989 and spent parts of two seasons in the big leagues before sticking for his first full season in 1991. That performance included 27 homers and 102 RBI in 595 plate appearances.
From there, that’s when the most powerful portion of his career started. González led the league in homers the following two seasons (1992 and 1993). He secured two straight 40-plus homer campaigns, finishing with 89 dingers overall during that time. The next stretch of dominance came from 1996-98, when he surpassed 40 homers three more times. He averaged 45 homers and 144 RBI during this span.
González won both of his AL MVP Awards within that timeframe. While he failed to get over the 40-homer mark in his final season with Texas in 1999, his performance still wasn’t too shabby. The right-handed slugger slashed .326/.378/.601 with 39 homers, 128 RBI, and 114 runs scored.
Between 1993 and 1999, González posted a cumulative slugging percentage of .599. He finished with that number being greater than .600 four different times.
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Rafael Palmeiro: 321 Home Runs
With the benefit of hindsight, we know that Rafael Palmeiro reached the 500-homer club with a little help from performance-enhancing drugs. He had two different stints with the Rangers, and the second one was much more powerful than the first one.
The first baseman initially played for Texas between 1989 and 1993. His home run production progressively increased, as it went from eight to 14 to 26 over his first three years. After slugging 22 in 1992, he came back and hit a single-season career-high mark of 37 in 1993. Then he left town for Baltimore to play with the Orioles and returned a different hitter in 1999.
Raffy spent the next five years with the Rangers until 2003. While his high-water mark in his first stint was 37, he surpassed that number five straight times in his second go-round (47, 39, 47, 43, and 38). That period spanned 3,383 plate appearances, and Palmeiro slashed .284/.390/.566 while averaging 43 home runs, 29 doubles, 122 RBI, and 97 runs scored.
Frank Howard: 246 Home Runs
Frank Howard spent eight of his 16 MLB seasons with the Rangers, who were the Washington Senators for the majority of his tenure with the organization. It seems like he split his time nearly down the middle between them and the other teams he played for in his career, but Howard played 1,172 of 1,895 of his career games with Washington/Texas. The 246 homers he hit during the time also accounted for just over 64% of his total dingers in the big leagues.
He put together five seasons of 30-plus homers in his career. Four of those occasions came with Texas/Washington, and they all came in consecutive seasons between 1967 and 1970. As someone with a career .352 on-base percentage, Howard reached base at a consistently high clip. When it came to drawing walks, though, he was never among the league leaders — except from 1969-70.
During this span, he drew 100-plus walks in each season (102 in ’69 and a league-leading 132 in ’70). Throughout the rest of his career, he never drew more than 77 walks in a year. In Howard’s first campaign of 40-plus homers in ’68, he walked just 54 times, which is part of the reason his OPS settled in at .890. The following two seasons, his OBP crested over .400, which enabled his OPS to surpass .960 twice.
Is it a coincidence that Howard went from placing eighth in MVP voting in ’68 to registering consecutive top-five finishes in ’69 and ’70? Probably not. Increasing his run production also doesn’t hurt. His RBI went from 106 to 111 to 126, while his runs scored went from 79 to 111 to 90, all in a comparable number of plate appearances.
Iván Rodríguez: 217 Home Runs
It wouldn’t be outrageous to say that Iván Rodríguez‘s Hall of Fame resume is bolstered by the 13 Gold Gloves he won behind the plate. This includes a streak of 10 in a row from 1992 through 2001. But still, for all the attention Pudge gets for his defense, he was also a pretty good hitter.
He was a .296 career hitter, but also registered 10 different seasons with a batting average of at least .300. Rodríguez did it eight consecutive years between 1995 and 2002, as well. His cumulative line during this time was .316/.352/.521. This period also included his power peak, which led to him slugging 20-plus homers in five straight years from 1997-01.
His best performance of all was his AL MVP campaign of 1999. Pudge slashed .332/.356/.558 with career-high marks in homers (35), RBI (113), runs scored (116), and stolen bases (25). All while playing his standard Gold Glove defense at catcher. Pudge was having himself a solid year in the first half, which included a .815 OPS, 15 home runs, and 49 RBI in 320 plate appearances. What likely won him the MVP was his second-half performance, though.
Through 310 plate appearances following the All-Star break, the backstop hit .369/.384/.631 with 20 homers and 64 RBI. Those 20 second-half dingers were either equal to or more than his season-long output in 17 different years of his big-league career. The best month of all was August. Pudge posted a 1.028 OPS with 12 homers and 28 RBI, all of which were easily his best production of any month that season.
Adrián Beltré: 199 Home Runs
Adrián Beltré had himself a solid career prior to landing in Texas with the Rangers in time for the 2011 season. However, it certainly seems like he saved some of his best work for the final eight years of his big-league tenure. A good example involves his power numbers. Between 1998 and 2010, Beltré had just one performance of 30-plus homers and 100-plus RBI. It was his final year with the Dodgers when he slugged 48 dingers with 121 RBI en route to finishing second in NL MVP voting.
He didn’t quite reach those numbers again in his career, but upon getting to the Rangers, Beltré immediately started producing at a higher level and with more consistency. The veteran third baseman enjoyed three different 30-100 campaigns, and he slugged at least 30 homers in each of his first three years with the organization.
Beltré finished within the top-10 of MVP Award voting six times. Outside of 2004 with Los Angeles, the only other time he finished in the top five was 2012 with Texas. He placed third behind Miguel Cabrera and Mike Trout after hitting .321/.359/.561 with 36 home runs, 33 doubles, 102 RBI, and 95 runs scored. The right-handed hitter got there by finishing with a flourish. Beltré slugged 21 of those 36 homers after the All-Star break, and the final two months of the regular season were especially good.
Through the end of July, he’d already accumulated 18 homers and 67 RBI off the strength of a .311/.343/.504 line. From August 1 through the end of the season, Beltré matched that homer output (18), while adding 41 RBI and a .339/.387/.661 triple slash. He accomplished that in 168 fewer plate appearances.
Rangers All Time Home Run Leaders: The Rest
Here’s what the rest of the top-20 career home run hitters in Rangers history currently looks like:
- Ruben Sierra: 180 home runs
- Michael Young: 177
- Nelson Cruz: 157
- Ian Kinsler: 156
- Alex Rodriguez: 156
- Dean Palmer: 154
- Mark Teixeira: 153
- Hank Blalock: 152
- Josh Hamilton: 150
- Larry Parrish: 149
- Rougned Odor: 146
- Joey Gallo: 145
- Toby Harrah: 124
- Pete Incaviglia: 124
- Rusty Greer: 119
Head to FanGraphs to see who’s on the outside looking in at the above group.