Goodbye Texas Rangers, Hello Lindsay Lohan's Drug Dealer
Josh Hamilton was the first overall pick in the 1999 major league baseball draft by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. In 2001 he and his parents were in an automobile accident. It is in this year where Hamilton first started experimenting with drugs and alcohol. He played 45 games in 2001 and 56 in 2002 before being sidelined with toe and neck injuries. After the conclusion to his season the Devil Rays sent him to the Betty Ford Center for drug rehabilitation. During spring training of 2003 he failed his first drug test and ended up taking the entire season off. Before he could get to spring training in 2004 he was suspended 30 days and fined for violating the drug policy. The suspension was increased several times due to violations of the terms of the program. Hamilton did not play baseball in 2004 and 2005 and only appeared in 15 games for the Hudson Valley Renegades in 2006. In that same year he was selected third overall by the Chicago Cubs in the Rule 5 draft and then immediately traded to the Cincinnati Reds for $100,000. He had a .554 slugging percentage and drove in 47 runs despite only playing 90 games in 2007. That wasn't enough for the Reds, however, so they traded him in December 2007 to the Texas Rangers for Edison Volquez and Danny Herrera.
This was a fantastic deal for the Rangers. At least for 4.5 years it was. In 2008 his slugging percentage was .530 and he drove in 130 runs to lead the American League but the Rangers still finished with a losing record. But with Hamilton displaying the ability that made him a #1 pick, expectations were high going into 2009. That year turned out to be a minor setback because of an abdominal tear that was surgically repaired. Despite playing in only 89 games, though, Texas improved to 87-75 which indicates they had put good pieces around Hamilton. Then came 2010 and Hamilton rebounded in a huge way as he slugged at an astronomical clip of .633 AND batted .359 for average. For a power hitter this means FEWER strikeouts and that was indeed the case. The Rangers won 90 games and their division and made it to the World Series for the first time ever. They weren't too competitive against the Giants but Texas looked poised to go back to the World Series again the next year and sure enough they did. In fact in Game 6 the Cardinals were twice down to their last strike and rallied to win. It looked as if Hamilton's two run homer in the 10th might have been the game winner. St.Louis somehow beat Texas but the Rangers had made it evident at this point they were THE POWER now in the American League. On July 3 2012, the Rangers lost to the White Sox to lower their record to 50-31. To no one's surprise that was the best in the American League and they were on pace to improve their record for the fifth year in a row, all with Hamilton.
At that moment, Hamilton was slugging .642 with 25 home runs and 73 RBI and Texas had a 10.5 game lead on Oakland. At season's end, Hamilton finished slugging .577 with 43 home runs and 128 RBI. Now those numbers are still very good but the Rangers needed more from Hamilton the second half. Things had started to get easy for Texas and Oakland decided they had had enough. Hamilton missed 5 games due to an eye condition doctors said was possibly caused by too much caffeine. Hamilton told Dan Patrick that he wasn't as productive because he quit chewing tobacco. Nolan Ryan criticized him for not waiting until the season was over to quit and RIGHTFULLY SO. In professional sports an athlete has very few chances to do something truly special with his career. Especially after throwing so many years away on drug addiction. To be traded to a team with so much raw talent and to fit in perfectly as the star of that group and to take the franchise places it has never been and to be on track to do it again and again year after year and then to fade like that because you couldn't wait until the season was over. People can live with chewing tobacco Josh. It's not illegal. The Rangers only needed to win one of their last 3 games against Oakland to win the West but got swept. Hamilton was 2 for 13 with only 1 RBI and had the critical error in the deciding game when the game was tied. Then came the move that truly motivated this article. Hamilton signed in free agency with the Angels last week. Not only did he blow his chance at greatness with Texas he left them and that whole town with the mediocre team they had before he got there. And playing for the Rangers' rival alongside Albert Pujols solidifies him as the Lebron James of baseball. Hamilton said about the move to Los Angeles "just felt like God was leading us to go there". God is the one who told you to quit chewing tobacco too right?