T.R.’s Memoirs: Josh Hamilton’s ride with Texas Rangers was as weird, wild as he was talented (Part III)
Josh Hamilton was inducted into the Rangers Hall of Fame in August 2019. He was charged with felony child abuse two months later (The Associated Press/Tony Gutierrez).
Editor’s note: T.R. Sullivan covered the Texas Rangers over 32 years for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and MLB.com and is sharing his “memoirs” with this newsletter. Today’s offering is the third and final installment in a recap of Josh Hamilton’s time with the Rangers.
Josh Hamilton was due to be a free agent after the 2012 season and, of course, everybody wanted to know if the Rangers would re-sign their troubled superstar.
His talent, the substance abuse, the many injuries, they were all part of the bigger story and that involved Hamilton’s future. Local media, national media, everybody wanted in on the story.
The Rangers approached Hamilton during the winter of 2011-12 about a contract extension. But negotiations were tabled — at least temporarily — after the second relapse Jan. 30, 2012. That was the night Hamilton went on a drinking binge in a North Dallas bar that led to more wild speculation as to what really transpired that night.
The Rangers backed off for the moment, but the contract situation was never far from people’s minds. The questions for Hamilton, general manager Jon Daniels and club president Nolan Ryan did not stop coming.
Hamilton created a stir Feb. 24, when he held a press conference upon his arrival in spring training. His contract situation was quickly brought up, and Hamilton was asked if the Rangers deserved extra consideration for all the support they provided for him during his time in Texas.
“The Rangers have done a lot for me, but I’ve got a question for ya’ll,” Hamilton said. “Have I done a lot for the Rangers? I think I’ve given them everything I’ve had, and I don’t think anybody can say I haven’t.”
Hamilton professed his love for Texas, the Rangers, the fans, teammates, everybody, but added, “I’m not going to sit here and say I owe the Rangers, because I don’t feel I owe the Rangers.”
As far as his latest relapse, Hamilton didn’t see that as having an impact on his value as a free agent.
“I hate this happened,” Hamilton said. “They know the risks since they took me. I’ve done a lot of good here, and they’ve been good to me, too. I’m not going to jump at the first thing offered. I feel very confident in my sobriety. I feel very confident in my relationship in Christ and my family supporting me.”
That was probably not the response Rangers fans wanted to hear.
Jon Daniels’ response?
“The only thing that is ‘owed’ is fairness and to be open-minded,” Daniels said. “That’s with any player.”
Hamilton was never just any player. But that’s how Hamilton and the Rangers went into the season.