The Tampa Bay Rays will host the Texas Rangers in a best-of-three AL Wild Card Series set to be played exclusively at Tropicana Field beginning on Tuesday.
A postseason matchup between these two teams will likely get some thinking about possible Immaculate Grid answers that work for both AL franchises. Eventual AL MVP Josh Hamilton doesn’t qualify because even though the *Devil* Rays drafted him No. 1 overall in 1999, he never actually played for the franchise. Meanwhile, Hamilton’s long-time teammate Nelson Cruz is a bit too obvious of an answer.
So, here are seven players who played for both the Rays and Rangers and could help you increase your rarity score if you play the popular daily game.
Canseco won the 1986 AL Rookie of the Year and 1988 AL MVP as a member of the Oakland Athletics. His stints with both the Rangers and Rays were part of one of the stranger, most controversial careers in MLB history.
Canseco spent parts of three seasons with the Rangers from 1992-1994, but his most memorable moment was probably when a ball hit him in the head in right field and left the stadium for a home run. Canseco was an All-Star for the Devil Rays in just their second season of play in 1999, homering 34 times and driving in 95 runs. He would be traded during the 2000 season to the New York Yankees.
Kluber is one of the best pitchers in the history of the franchise now known as the Cleveland Guardians. His stints in Texas and Tampa weren’t quite as memorable.
Kluber pitched just one inning for the Rangers during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season because of a shoulder injury. The two-time AL Cy Young Award winner was actually pretty effective for the Rays in 2022, going 10-10 with a 4.34 ERA and 3.57 FIP over 164 innings pitched.
Now a World Series Champion manager for the Washington Nationals, Martinez was part of the inaugural Devil Rays team in 1998, posting a .710 OPS in parts of three seasons with the club.
In his penultimate MLB season, Martinez played in 38 games for the Rangers, part of a season where he also had stints with the Devil Rays, Chicago Cubs and Toronto Blue Jays.
Wright was the second first-round pick in the history of the Colorado Rockies franchise, going 28th overall in the 1993 MLB Draft.
While Wright would pitch for 19 MLB seasons, he finished his career with a 4.81 ERA and 4.87 FIP. Part of that can be attributed to playing his home games at Coors Field. Wright wasn’t great in 95 games for the Rangers between 2007 and 2008, but actually pitched to a 3.09 ERA in 66 games as a Ray in 2013.
Bobby Witt Sr.
Witt’s son, of course, is the superstar shortstop for the Kansas City Royals. But the elder Witt pitched 16 years in the majors, even winning a World Series with the Arizona Diamondbacks in his final MLB season in 2001.
Witt pitched for the Rangers for parts of 11 seasons, posting a 4.85 ERA and 4.33 FIP in 276 games. His time with the Devil Rays was more forgettable, as he went 7-15 with a 5.84 ERA over 180 1/3 innings for the 1999 Tampa Bay team.
The former manager of the Philadelphia Phillies and San Francisco Giants had an interesting playing career that saw him play with everyone from the 2004 Boston Red Sox to the Yomiuri Giants.
Kapler hit .280 with a .775 OPS in parts of three seasons with the Rangers from 2000-2002. He played the final 158 games of his career for the Rays between 2008 and 2009.
The free-swinging outfielder was a two-time All-Star as a member of the Milwaukee Brewers. Towards the end of his career, Gómez spent time with both the Rays and Rangers. He hit 25 home runs in 138 games for the Rangers between 2016 and 2017. Gómez posted a .634 OPS in 118 games for the Rays in 2018.