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New York connections abound for Texas Rangers

             If only the Washington Senators had not made that fateful trade in late 1967, maybe they wouldn’t have had to wait 50 years to win a playoff series, as the Texas Rangers. Maybe they wouldn’t be the Texas Rangers. Maybe they would have been good enough to have thrived in Washington.

          Anyway, it sure didn’t work out so hot for the franchise, trading the rights to manager Gil Hodges to the Mets for Bill Denehy. It was one of the first connections between the Washington/Texas franchise and New York. Many of those connections have worked out better for the Rangers, who moved in 1971.

          The franchise that will play the Yankees in the American League Championship Series starting tomorrow night has many more contemporary New York roots, beginning with president and part-owner Nolan Ryan. He of course began his Hall of Fame pitching career in New York with the Mets (talk about bad trades—Jim Fregosi?).

            Rangers general manager Jon Daniels is from Queens, having grown up rooting for the Keith Hernandez-Darryl Strawberry-Gary Carter Mets and failing to make the baseball team at Hunter College High School in Manhattan before he attended Cornell.

            Reliever Darren Oliver was the reliable, workhorse lefthander in the bullpen for the 2006 Mets. His father, Bob, was a major league player who finished his 10-year career with the Yankees.

            Jeff Francoeur hit .340 for the Rangers this season after having been traded from the Mets, for him he hit only .237. He was acquired for infielder Joaquin Arias, having been the player to be named later from the Yankees in the Alex Rodriguez-Alfonso Soriano deal.

            Darren O’Day has had two really good seasons as a Rangers reliever, 8-3 record, 1.99 ERA, 2 saves, after the team picked him up on waivers from the Mets last season.

            Mike Maddux, the pitching coach, pitched for the Mets. Batting coach Clint Hurdle was a Mets minor-league player and manager. Gary Pettis is the Rangers first base coach, a role he held with the Mets during the Art Howe era.

          And the bullpen coach is Andy Hawkins. Who can forget the time when manager Dallas Green called Hawkins “the anchor” of the Yankees’ staff? More than one person back then pointed out that an anchor’s job is to sink.





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