Is Joey Gallo Already The Greatest Texas Ranger To Wear No. 13?
When Texas Rangers 3B Adrian Beltre injured his thumb in Sunday's walk-off win over the Boston Red Sox, the immediate thought was who would replace the slugger. The biggest point of debate being whether it made since to bring up top prospect Joey Gallo for Belt's expected two-week stint on the DL, or whether that might disrupt the prized prospect's trajectory in the minors.
Now, though, after last night's stunning debut from the 21-year-old power hitter — in which he got a two-RBI hit in his first at-bat, launched a 418-foot homer his next time up and later added a double and a walk — a few more questions have arisen. Like? Can he possibly keep up this kind of production in the bigs? And how does the team juggle playing time for both him and Beltre if he does?
Either way, Gallo's was a welcome inauguration, and one that brought to mind a few other notable debuts. The last person to wear Gallo's No. 13 jersey, you likely recall, was the Rangers' most recent No. 1 prospect, Jurickson Profar (Gallo asked him for the number during spring training). In his own 2012 debut, the 19-year-old Profar homered in his first at-bat, and doubled in his second.
Since that start, the number had proven quite unlucky for Profar, who's been hampered by injuries and is likely out for the entire 2015 season following off-season shoulder surgery. Really, though, the team's never really had a world-stopping No. 13. To wit, previous players to don the number over the years include a 42 yr-old Omar Vizquel and the mostly forgettable stints of Kason Gabbard, Chad Allen, Mike Lamb, Jeff Fassero, Butch Davis and Harold Baines, just to name a few.
So, yeah, only one game in, Gallo does seem poised to become the Rangers all-time greatest No. 13. Either way, he's already cemented his place in team history with a record-setting four-RBI first outing and, perhaps, the best debut in team history.
Also? Considering the other Rangers who put up similar numbers, hitting home runs in their own debuts — Ruben Mateo did it in 1999, Rusty Greer did it in 1994 and Ruben Sierra did it in 1986 — we'd say Gallo's future looks bright.
Welcome to the show, indeed.