by Patrick Despain

As we get older in life, things in our memory banks fade away. If you are young, there are things that aren’t on video that you can’t experience. A few weeks ago Eddie Middlebrook wrote his All-Time Greatest Texas Rangers 25-Man Roster series. The starting outfield was Frank Howard, Josh Hamilton and Juan Gonzalez. On the bench was Rusty Greer, one of Eddie’s all-timers when it comes to the Rangers. One of our friends began to debate us about Greer’s placement on the team, claiming that he wasn’t worthy of inclusion, but players like Ruben Sierra (and other outfielders) should be on that team before Rusty. In my mind, I thought Eddie was correct and our buddy was wrong. At the same time, it’s a list and everyone has their own opinion of something like this.

I began to question my memory. Was Rusty as good, better or worse than I remember? His career started over 20 years ago, so was he THAT good? He was never an All-Star.  He didn’t win any Gold Gloves or Silver Sluggers. He only hit 119 home runs in his career. There isn’t a lot of video in the MLB archives or on YouTube to go back to. But there are memories and Baseball-Reference.com to consult. Memories of The Red Baron diving all over the field, getting timely hits and doing many interviews on local radio. Still today, he is the favorite all-time Texas Ranger for many fans.

Rusty Greer played 9 MLB seasons, which was cut short due to injury. He hit .305 for his career and finished with a career 119 OPS+. His career OBP is .387 and in 1999, he walked 97 times while striking out on only 63 occasions.

If you look at his stats, it’s not on par with Pudge or Juando, who won MVP’s with the Rangers, but Rusty Greer’s career was great. While many fans remember and love Clyde Thurman “Rusty” Greer, there are quite a few who do not, for a number of reasons. With the success of the Rangers in the past decade, that brings new fans that don’t remember him and every year young fans flock to the game who are too young to have witnessed his all out efforts every single night, for 9 years.

Year Age Tm Lg G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ TB GDP HBP SH SF IBB Pos Awards
1994 25 TEX AL 80 331 277 36 87 16 1 10 46 0 0 46 46 .314 .410 .487 .898 132 135 3 2 2 4 2 987/3 RoY-3
1995 26 TEX AL 131 478 417 58 113 21 2 13 61 3 1 55 66 .271 .355 .424 .780 100 177 9 1 2 3 1 *97/83
1996 27 TEX AL 139 617 542 96 180 41 6 18 100 9 0 62 86 .332 .397 .530 .927 128 287 9 3 0 10 4 *7/38D
1997 28 TEX AL 157 690 601 112 193 42 3 26 87 9 5 83 87 .321 .405 .531 .936 138 319 11 3 1 2 4 *78/D9 MVP-22
1998 29 TEX AL 155 691 598 107 183 31 5 16 108 2 4 80 93 .306 .386 .455 .841 115 272 18 4 0 9 1 *7/8
1999 30 TEX AL 147 662 556 107 167 41 3 20 101 2 2 96 67 .300 .405 .493 .898 125 274 17 5 0 5 2 *7/D
2000 31 TEX AL 105 453 394 65 117 34 3 8 65 4 1 51 61 .297 .377 .459 .837 111 181 14 3 0 5 1 7/D
2001 32 TEX AL 62 279 245 38 67 23 0 7 29 1 2 27 32 .273 .342 .453 .795 104 111 5 1 1 5 1 7/D
2002 33 TEX AL 51 219 199 24 59 9 2 1 17 1 0 19 17 .296 .356 .377 .733 91 75 5 0 0 1 0 D7/93
9 Yrs 1027 4420 3829 643 1166 258 25 119 614 31 15 519 555 .305 .387 .478 .865 119 1831 91 22 6 44 16
162 Game Avg. 162 697 604 101 184 41 4 19 97 5 2 82 88 .305 .387 .478 .865 119 289 14 3 1 7 3
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 4/14/2016.

With a player like Rusty, he did so many memorable things that have fallen through the cracks in our minds.  However, a few moments have been saved on video for our enjoyment.

 

Spoiler alert in this one, you get to hear the great Mark Holtz and a signature call…….or two.

Although he was never the best player on the division winning teams of 1996, 1998 and 1999, those teams aren’t as successful without him. He was as integral as anyone. Rusty posted seasons of 5.3, 4.6, 3.8 and 3.2 WAR. He was the guy that fans considered “clutch.” Greer was the guy late in a game that delivered more times than not. He was simply terrific and deserving on Eddie’s list. He’s a Texas Rangers Hall-of-Famer, and deservedly so. Not bad for a 10th round draft pick from the University of Montevallo in Alabama.

Rusty Greer, Texas Ranger Legend.

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