After more than a decade of professional baseball, Lifestyle Frisco felt it was high time to reminisce over some fun facts and key dates in ‘Riders history, as well as see how some of their famous alumni have fared since their minor league days.
The Captain(s) and the Soda King
The RoughRiders’ roots were once planted in Louisiana, where they were known as the Shreveport Captains. Purchased in 2001 by Mandalay Sports Entertainment, the Captains set sail for Frisco soon thereafter. Once anchored in Frisco, a Captains coup resulted in a non-hostile RoughRiders takeover—either that, or the RoughRider name was the winner in a fan’s ballot on July 4, 2002.
The ‘Riders’ home was originally the Dr. Pepper/Seven Up Ballpark (2003-2006). “Seven Up” was dropped to help better hone the brand awareness of every Texan’s favorite soft drink—no offense to clear sodas intended.
Famous Frisco Alumni
The Texas Rangers have a knack for producing top-notch big league first baseman. Here are two current MLB All-Stars that also played ball in Frisco’s friendly confines.
Adrian Gonzalez, Los Angeles Dodgers. Frisco: 2003, .283/.326/.393, 3 HRs, 17 RBI
The former number one overall pick in MLB’s Draft (2000), has put together an impressive big league resume. Still in his prime at thirty-one years of age, Gonzalez has four All-Star appearances, three Gold Gloves and one Silver Slugger Award.
While at Frisco, he displayed his keen eye and excellent defense that would become the hallmarks of his big league career.
Chris “Crush” Davis, Baltimore Orioles. Frisco: 2007-08, .322/.380/.645, 25 HRs, 67 RBI
Davis played for the Rangers in parts of the 2008-2011 seasons. During his tenure at Double-A Frisco, Davis took it upon himself to blister and bruise all pitches thrown his way—thus proving that his nickname was a perfect fit.
Numbers such as his at Double-A make it no surprise that he has blossomed into Major League Baseball’s premier power hitter.
Current Texas Rangers with RoughRider roots
Since 2009, the Texas Rangers are the only team in the major leagues to win 87 or more games. This impressive feat would not have been possible without the efforts of each of these Frisco alums, all of whom are currently on the Rangers’ roster.
Jurickson Profar—2012, .281/.368/.452, 14 HRs, 62 RBI
Just twenty years old, Profar has wasted little time in flashing his potential. Profar was ranked as Baseball America’s top prospect coming into this season. Profar honed his skills as the youngest player in the Texas League during the 2012 season.
Since then, he homered in his first major league at bat, and cracked the Texas Rangers roster for good in 2013 as a utility infielder.
Elvis Andrus—2008, .295/.350/.367, 65 RBI, 54 SBs
Jurickson Profar wasn’t the first 20-year-old to become a regular with the Texas Rangers. Elvis Andrus does not possess the power potential of Profar, but his glove is unmatched, and he flashes plus-speed on the base paths.
Elvis is a two-time big league All-Star and it’s just a matter of time before he snags multiple Gold Glove Awards.
Ian Kinsler—2004*, .300/.400/.480, 46 RBI, 9 HRs
Kinsler has been a polarizing player for the Rangers since called-up in 2006. But love him or hate him, Kinsler’s one of the most productive bats the Rangers have ever seen. He’s finished in the top 20 for AL MVP two times, been an All-Star on three occasions, and joined the 30/30 club twice (’09 & ’11).
*Kinsler played in Frisco during rehabilitation assignments in 2009-10, and 2013.
Mitch Moreland—2009, .326/.373/.488, 8 HRs, 59 RBI
Moreland was so highly regarded that he made the aforementioned Chris Davis expendable. Perhaps his biggest contribution to the Rangers was his World Series home run in Game 3 against the San Francisco Giants that provided the difference in the eventual 4-2 win, their lone win in that year’s Fall Classic.
Derek Holland—2008, 3-0, 0.69 ERA, 0.769 WHIP, 10 K/9
Talent such as the “Dutch Oven’s” quickly ascends the minor league ranks. The free-spirited left-hander has blossomed into the Rangers’ number two starting pitcher.
And who can forget the signature Holland moment during Game 4 of the 2011 World Series when he shutdown—and nearly shutout—the St. Louis Cardinals?
Alexi Ogando—2010*, 0-0, 1.15 ERA, 0.574 WHIP, 12.1 K/9
Like Holland before him, the “Stickman from the Dominican” was so dominant that it was quite apparent he needed no more than a few games of Double-A seasoning.
Perhaps the most impressive thing about Ogando is his ability to seamlessly slide from the role of bullpen setup man to starting pitcher with both ease and effectiveness.
* Ogando played one game in Frisco in 2013 on a rehabilitation assignment.
Tanner Scheppers—2010-11, 2-1, 2.38 ERA, 0.882 WHIP, 11.4 K/9
Scheppers picked up where he left off at the close of 2012. During the 2013 campaign, Scheppers blossomed into the reliable setup man that his power-stuff had always hinted at him becoming. He may be the heir apparent at closer as Joe Nathan becomes a free agent at the end of this season.
Key Dates in the RoughRider’s History
• February 6, 2002—Ground was broken on what would become the home of the Frisco RoughRiders.
• September 26, 2002—The RoughRiders become an official affiliate of the Texas Rangers. Just think, barring traffic, top Double-A prospects, are just an hour’s drive away from the big leagues.
• April 3, 2003—Over 10,000 fans flock to Frisco for the RoughRider’s inaugural season opener.
• September 2, 2003—This was a big day for the RoughRider’s as their ballpark was named “Best New Ballpark for 2003,” and the team won their first playoff game in its history.
2014 and Beyond
As all baseball fans know, the off-season is a long and grueling one. But the spring of 2014 will be here soon enough, and will bring with it arguably the best lineup in RoughRiders history as Frisco’s Double-A denizens look to make the next eleven years of Texas League baseball even better than the first.