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Four-time All-Star and five-time Gold Glove recipient Adrian Beltre played eight seasons with the Rangers, batting .304 with 199 home runs and 699 runs batted in. PHOTO BY OZZIE GARZA

Two Texas Rangers icons were honored at Globe Life Field recently — one for his play on the field, the other for his voice and stadium entertainment.

Adrian Beltre and Chuck Morgan became the 23rd and 24th members inducted into the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame prior to the Rangers-A’s game last Saturday.

More than 30,000 fans witnessed the pregame ceremony, many of them wearing Beltre’s No. 29. Riding on the back of pickup trucks, both inductees made their way from the left field entrance to the front of the visitor’s dugout, where they were met by family members, Rangers executives, and other Texas Rangers Hall of Famers, including Tom Grieve, Toby Harrah, Jeff Russell, Jim Sunberg, Michael Young, Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez, Ferguson Jenkins, Eric Nadel, and Richard Greene.

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Prior to any speeches, there were video tributes shown on the stadium’s two giant video boards. Among those congratulating Morgan, who has announced more than 3,000 consecutive games, were Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott and Mavericks legend Dirk Nowitzki, both repeating Morgan’s signature saying, “It’s baseball time in Texas.”  Other tributes came from former Rangers legends Will Clark and Nolan Ryan. Actor Mathew McConaughey and TV host Pat Sajak also saluted Morgan for his induction.

Beltre also heard tributes on the video board. The first one was from his good friend and former teammate Elvis Andrus, who is now with the Oakland A’s. Andrus really wanted to be there for his friend but had to be with his wife Cori in California for the birth of the couple’s third child, a boy. Andrus did congratulate Beltre, whom he called his “big brother” for his amazing career and well-deserved recognition.

Also paying tribute to Beltre were Ryan, Jenkins, and Rodriguez, all of whom are in the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Beltre will most likely join them in Cooperstown in 2024, when he becomes eligible for election to baseball’s highest honor.

Morgan’s old microphone is already in Cooperstown.  When the season ended last year, the Rangers received a call from Hall of Fame officials requesting the famous microphone Morgan had used since becoming the Rangers’ public address announcer in 1983. It is now showcased next to the mic of Bob Sheppard, the Yankees’ legendary PA announcer.

It was a unique ceremony in that all members of the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame were presented with blue blazers with the Hall of Fame logo on the pocket.

Rangers Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Kellie Fischer placed the blue jacket on Morgan, signifying his induction.

“We grow up with baseball, we grow old with it,” said Morgan, who loves to visit with fans before and after games in his enclosed booth behind home plate.

Chuck Morgan has not missed announcing a Rangers game since April 4, 1983.
PHOTO BY OZZIE GARZA

Visiting Morgan’s booth is part of the Globe Life Field tours. He likes to meet with guests and talk about having “the best job in the world.” While he has announced several no-hitters and Kenny Rogers’ perfect game in 1994, he said his most memorable game was Oct. 23, 2010, when rookie pitcher Neftali Feliz struck out slugger Alex Rodriguez to send the Rangers to their first ever World Series.

The former Nashville DJ has announced games in all three Rangers stadiums beginning on April 4, 1983, when he announced the starting lineups for the Texas Rangers’ season opener with the Chicago White Sox, and he has not missed a game since.

In his nearly four decades with the club, he has been responsible for the team’s annual fan feasts and the creation of the popular dot race with his famous saying, “Remember, this is an exhibition, no wagering please.”

Ironically, he also played a significant role in the creation of the Texas Rangers Baseball of Fame in 2003, to honor those individuals who have excelled for the franchise both on and off the field.

Following the induction ceremony, Morgan quickly returned to his booth to announce his 3,059th consecutive game.

Next to be inducted was Adrian Beltre, who received his blue jacket from former teammate and fellow Texas Rangers Hall of Famer Michael Young, the man he replaced at third base.

The four-time All-Star and five-time Gold Glove recipient played eight seasons with the Rangers, batting .304 with 199 home runs and 699 runs batted in. He won the Rangers Player of the Year award four times and earned a pair of Silver Slugger Awards. His 21-year Major League career included stints with the Dodgers, Mariners, and Red Sox.

The Rangers retired Beltre’s number on June 8, 2019, during a pregame ceremony at Globe Life Park, one of only six numbers retired by the Rangers franchise.

“First of all, what an honor to be inducted into the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame,” Beltre said. “This is unreal. I want to thank you fans for the support over the years, always being there for our team and knowing we always wanted to give you the best show we can. For that, I will always be grateful.”

He also thanked his former managers, coaches, and teammates, including Mitch Moreland and Jake Diekman, who are now with the A’s.

Beltre ranks among the Rangers’ lifetime leaders in homers (4th), RBI (6th), batting average (6th), extra base hits (6th, 448), hits (7th, 1277), total bases (7th, 2133), games (9th), at bats (9th, 4194), and doubles (9th, 239). Beltre hit at least .300 five times and drove in 100-plus runs on three occasions as a Ranger. His .332 average as a Ranger at Globe Life Park was the highest in the 26-year history of the park.

For many Rangers fans, however, his more memorable game was on July 30, 2017, when he ripped a double down the third base line against Orioles pitcher Wade Miley for his 3,000th career hit.

Fans cheered not only at Globe Life Park but also 1,621 miles away in Cooperstown, where minutes earlier, Rodriguez had just completed his remarks after being inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

While many Rangers officials and fans, including myself, were in Cooperstown for the occasion, Chuck Morgan was on the mic announcing Beltre’s historic moment.

Both now are enshrined in Rangers baseball lore.

 

Ozzie Garza has been writing about the Rangers for more than 20 years. He is a frequent contributor to the Fort Worth Weekly.

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