Does life get any better than this?
What you’ve got here is a fan-fueled exploration of all things name-related about the Texas Rangers. They have their work cut out for them against the Arizona Diamondbacks (Dbacks), but I know this Texas Ranger team will get its first World Series title in franchise history!
A Quick Note About Nicknames
Sports and nicknames go together like BBQ and slaw (paying homage to my Dallas roots). They’re a natural fit, as I explore further in a former post about nicknames and why they exist in the first place. The best nicknames reflect the essence of a player. They can also give fans a fun, familiar way to root for their favorites. Speaking of favorites…
2023 Texas Rangers (active roster) player nicknames**:
Advil* — Josh Sborz
Cuban Flame Thrower, Cuban Missile — Aroldis Chapman
El De Las Matas — Martín Pérez
Evo, Nate, Nitro — Nathan Eovaldi
Great Dane — Dane Dunning
Gumby, Monty — Jordan Montgomery
Heandog — Andrew Heaney
Juice, Brown Eye, Blue Eye, Mad Max — Max Scherzer
Pico — José Leclerc
Smitty, Fresh Prince — Will Smith
Strat — Chris Stratton
The Aledo Torpedo* — Cody Bradford
Wolf, Gray Wolf, Ghost Hunter (once upon a time) — Jon Gray
Garv Sauce — Mitch Garver
Hedgey — Austin Hedges
Heim Time, Ohtani Killer (in Japan) — Jonah Heim
Electric Company* — Josh H. Smith
Jungle Cat, Jung Gun* — Josh Jung
Not Nate* — Nathaniel Lowe
Seags — Corey Seager
Simmy, Sauce, Mahkus, The Machine, Cap — Marcus Semien
El Bombi, Principal Owner of the Houston Astros (temporarily appeared on the Astros Wikipedia page after the Rangers game 7 conference win vs. the Astros) — Adolis García
Fred — Travis Jankowski
Full Count Carter — Evan Carter
RG — Robbie Grossman
Wiley-ody Coyote (unofficial), Big Thief* — Leody Taveras
* Ali-suggested nickname (an existing nickname was not found)
Texas Rangers Team Name Origin & Nicknames
It all began in 1972
The Senators baseball organization moved from Washington to Arlington, Texas at which time they were renamed the Texas Rangers. I can’t find exactly who named them, but the name’s inspiration came from the Texas Rangers state-wide investigative law-enforcement agency originally founded by “the father of Texas,” Stephen F. Austin.
For a little more detail about the team’s origin, here’s a short article by the MLB on “How they came to be called the Rangers.”
Texas Rangers team nicknames over the years
I’m not crazy about these nicknames, as most slant negative (aka insults attributed to fans of in-state rival Houston Astros). But a namer must reveal all of the names…
The Nats — Historical only as the Washington Senators, continued from the previous Washington Senators although the Rangers were never known as the Nationals.
The Strangers — Reference to their traditional losing seasons (the team did not make the playoffs until 1996, 25 years after relocating to the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, and even with recent success has historically been one of MLB’s weakest franchises)
The Power Rangers — Reference to their slugging years from the late 1990s to early 2010s.
The Lone Stars — Reference to Texas’s nickname, the “Lone Star State.” This team nickname has been rarely used in recent years.
The Rags — Used by detractors, mainly Astros fans.
South Oklahoma Rangers — Astros insult for the Rangers having “Texas” in their name when they’re located in a small town that’s close to the Oklahoma border and do not represent the entire state of Texas, as their official name might suggest.
Arlington Strip Malls — Astros insult for the Rangers playing in suburban Arlington, which like many suburbs has a number of strip malls. This also refutes the notion that the team represents the entire state of Texas.
Tamgets — A moniker used for the Rangers when they produce an embarrassing and yet expected result based on their 50 plus year franchise history of disappointing their fan base.
Additional Texas Rangers team tidbits
The Texas Rangers baseball team remains rooted in Arlington, Texas, which is halfway between Dallas and Fort Worth. They play in a very cool (literally, it’s air conditioned) retractable roof stadium called Globe Life Field. And their mascot’s name is Rangers Captain, a palomino-style horse introduced in 2002.
Texas Rangers Name Under Scrutiny
On a more serious naming note, the team name has been under scrutiny due to the life and times of the original Texas Rangers (law enforcement) and their history within the State. Texas Rangers have long been portrayed by Hollywood and in literature as independent, tough, wild-west-type heroes (think The Lone Ranger, Walker Texas Ranger).
Admittedly, one of this namer’s favorite novels is Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry, which won a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. It tells the story of retired Texas Rangers and their relationships in the waning days of the Old West.
However, in recent years, some dimmed the shiny Texas Ranger hero-legacy and shed light on a darker side of their role in Texas history.
Specifically, in 2020, Steve Chapman (a native Texan) wrote a column asserting that “the legends [of Texas Rangers] omit a lot of the reality. A magisterial new book by journalist Doug J. Swanson, Cult of Glory: The Bold and Brutal History of the Texas Rangers, lays bare their long record of savagery, lawlessness and racism.”
Texas Rangers (baseball organization) Response
Shortly after the column appeared in the press, the Rangers issued this statement:
While we may have originally taken our name from the law enforcement agency, since 1971 the Texas Rangers Baseball Club has forged its own, independent identity. The Texas Rangers Baseball Club stands for equality. We condemn racism, bigotry and discrimination in all forms.
To help bring about meaningful change, we are committed to listening to and supporting our communities of color. Over the past 30 years, the Texas Rangers Foundation has invested more than $45 million on programs and grants in the areas of health, education and crisis assistance for youth in our underserved communities. We go forward committed to do even more, with a renewed promise that the Texas Rangers name will represent solutions and hope for a better future for our communities.
– Per Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News via Bleacher Report
This is similar to the topic of Indigenous-appropriated brand names in the world of sports making headlines in recent years. Teams like the Washington Redskins and the Cleveland Indians have changed their names. Only time will tell if a Texas Rangers name change will happen.
Meanwhile, I root for “my Rangers.” (If the organization would like to change its name to “Ali’s Rangers,” I give it my blessing.)
Naming and nicknames have a long tradition in baseball. At their best, nicknames find the core or essence of someone, just as a great brand name comes from finding the essence — or core brand position — of something.
Nicknames can also be a fun, familiar way to cheer for our favorite players. So, let’s go El Bombi!
My Rangers are going all the way. I can feel it in my Texan bones. And I can’t wait to watch it all unfold!
** Despite best efforts to find all the nicknames out there, it’s possible we overlooked some. Feel free to add any missing nicknames to the comments below!