By Ryan Crowe,

ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) – It had to be.

Arguably the key moment in the history of the Texas Rangers happened on December 7, 1988.  That was the day that Nolan Ryan signed a free agent deal with the Texas Rangers, setting the beleaguered franchise on a course that’s still taking shape.

Ryan came in and quickly set himself apart at Arlington Stadium.  He pitched his 5,000th career strikeout in front of a packed house on August 22, 1989, besting stolen base king Rickey Henderson.

On June 11 of the next year, he pitched his 6th no-hitter against Henderson’s A’s in Oakland.  Later that year he pitched his 300th career victory in Milwaukee.

All highly worthy games paled in comparison to something the 44-year-old did on May 1,, 1991.

It was Arlington Appreciation Night, and 33,439 fans appreciated Nolan’s treatment of the Toronto Blue Jays as he pitched his 7th no-hitter in front of the Arlington Stadium faithful.

Arlington Stadium quickly became HIS place, the Rangers even put up a giant picture of him above the ticket office.

Rangers fans said goodbye to Nolan Ryan and Arlington Stadium at the end of 1993, but it wasn’t the last the team would see of him.

He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1999, going in as a Ranger, and returned to the team in the front office in 2008.

In August of 2010 Ryan added a new title to his list of Rangers accomplishments – owner.  The man who’s star helped build the team to where it is today, arguably helping to get the Ballpark built and build the current roster, now is officially the face of the franchise.

And because of that, there is no better player in the history of the Texas Rangers to wear the title BEST RANGER EVER.


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