Texas Rangers: Buddy ball
Despite going through four managers in 1977 (Eddie Stanky would quit after one game, saying he was homesick), the Rangers won a franchise-record 94 games. They followed up with two more winning seasons, but by the mid-'80s were back at the bottom of the American League, finishing last in the West in '84 and '85. One of the few bright spots during this time was slick-fielding third baseman Buddy Bell, who won six straight Gold Gloves and made four All-Star teams with the Rangers.
Bell, however, remained essentially unknown outside Texas. As author Daniel Okrent wrote in "Nine Innings," Bell once told a reporter, "Frankly, I'm pretty dull."
And that pretty much summed up Rangers baseball in the early '80s.
(Oh, that and some bad trades: Dave Righetti to the Yankees for a washed-up Sparky Lyle; Ron Darling and Walt Terrell to the Mets for a washed-up Lee Mazzilli; Dave Stewart to the Phillies for Rich Surhoff; leaving Tom Henke unprotected in the free agent compensation pool.)
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