All of those unbelievable streaks of World Series futility are no more. Since 2004, the Red Sox, White Sox, and……unbelievably……the Chicago Cubs have all won titles. The Cleveland Indians have the longest streak today, having last won in 1948.
But at least the Indians have a title. What organization owns the longest streak without ever having won at all? Well, it’s our very own Texas Rangers. Since its founding in 1961, the Rangers have competed in 56 seasons without a championship. Pitchers and catchers report next week for season #57.
Texas has been oh so close, and recently too. The Rangers have made the post season 4 times in the last 7 years, and have advanced to the World Series twice. And 2011. Oh dear lord, 2011.
Taking a page straight out of the Red Sox and 1986, the Rangers were up 3 games to 2 against the St. Louis Cardinals with a one run 10th inning lead. 2 outs. 2 strikes. One pitch away from bringing the state of Texas its first World Series Championship. Just one more whiff…….from one more batter……………
The Rangers founding year of 1961 was also the last year of Dell Morgan’s tenure at Rice University. This Austin College Kangaroo had managed Rice baseball since 1953, and amazingly was the fourth (!!!) Kangaroo coach to be associated with Rice Owls baseball. Morgan died tragically in a car accident in 1962; after his passing, Rice University established the Dell Morgan award in his honor. This award is given to the outstanding Rice baseball player every year.
Interestingly enough, the outstanding Austin College baseball player award is given in the name Cecil Grigg, who, like Morgan, was both a former Austin College sports star and Rice baseball skipper. Past winners of the Cecil Grigg award include Tony Bitros and Kelly Carver, among others.
Wayne Graham’s Rice Owls have enjoyed two decades of remarkable success, and this run began in the late 90s with the help of another Texas son. New Braunfels native Lance Berkman came to Rice, and helped lead the Owls to their first ever College World Series appearance. For his success, Berkman was twice awarded the Dell Morgan award. Berkman later contributed to Houston’s first WS appearance, and also played for the Rangers.
But that’s not how Ranger fans remember this Roo Coach award winner.
One strike against Berkman, and the Rangers were champs. That strike never came. Berkman ripped a single to right, tying the game. St. Louis won it in the 11th, and took Game #7 the next day. The Rangers are still looking for that missing piece of the puzzle to finally, finally bring home the title to Arlington.
And maybe we’ve got it Roo fans.
Lockhart Smokehouse will open up a third restaurant in 2018, within the venue of the new Rangers stadium. This BBQ joint is owned and operated by Roos Jeff Bergus and Jill Grobowsky Bergus, and the new ballpark location will be the third in the DFW area. That’s right………………Roo BBQ, the official BBQ of the Texas Rangers.
This, my friends, is the missing piece of the puzzle. Go ahead and hire Theo Epstein too if you want Rangers, that would just be gravy. The drought is gonna end and end soon, and I plan to wash that drought down with an Arlington beer at Lockhart Smokehouse.