The story of the Texas Rangers today: the signing of free agent John Wetteland
On this date in franchise history, the Texas Rangers have dived into free will and nabbed one of baseball’s best runners.
On December 16, 1996, the Rangers retired John Wetteland from the New York Yankees. The Rangers were quite familiar with Wetteland’s work by this point, as he was closest to the Yankees in their 1996 World Series title run. Wetteland shut down the Rangers during those playoffs en route to the World Series MVP honors.
Wetteland had previously played for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Montreal Expos and Yankees by this time. In 1996, he made a career-high 43 saves.
Wetteland spent the next four years with the Rangers and proved to be a reliable loved one. He finished with a 20-12 record and 150 saves, more than he had with any previous team. Wetteland was the closest for a Rangers team that won the American League West Division in 1998 and 1999.
His career ended after the 2000 season and he finished with 330 saves, a 48-45 record and three All-Star Game appearances. In 1999, Wetteland finished sixth in the Cy Young Award vote after tying his career record of 43 saves.
The Rangers inducted Wetteland into the Hall of Fame in 2005, and he had a brief coaching career with the Washington Nationals and Seattle Mariners from 2006 to 2010.
Wetteland’s personal life took a dark turn in 2019 when he was arrested in Texas on child sexual abuse charges after allegations of “continued sexual abuse of a child under the age of 14,” according to the The morning news from Dallas. A grand jury indicted Wetteland in 2019 and he was due to stand trial in 2022.
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