Texas Rangers: All-time Top-10 free agent signings

Nolan Ryan #34 of the Texas Rangers (Photo by Robert Riger/Getty Images)
Nolan Ryan #34 of the Texas Rangers (Photo by Robert Riger/Getty Images) /
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Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

All-Time Texas Ranger Signing No. 8

Rafael Palmeiro

Rafael Palmeiro played two stints with the Rangers. Originally, the slugging Cuban was acquired by Texas via trade when the club partnered with the “Northsiders” in a 9-player deal. Palmeiro manned first base for the Rangers from 1989-93 before signing with Baltimore in ’94.

The ’98 free agent class included future Hall of Famers Randy Johnson, Rickey Henderson, Roberto Alomar, and Tim Raines. Palmeiro signed a 5 year, $45 million deal to return to Arlington that offseason.

Palmeiro, then 34, was one of the most feared hitters in the game, having mashed over 36 home runs per season in his 5 years with the Orioles. He was even better when he returned to the Lone Star State.

In his first year back with the club, the lefty hit a career-high 47 home runs – a team record for a left-handed batter. His personal trophy room got much more crowded as he was selected to the AL All Star team while winning the Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards.

Palmeiro would go on to hit 214 home runs over the next 5 years for the Rangers. He lead the ’99, division-winning club in most offensive categories.

Palmeiro’s legacy is tainted with alleged steroid use. Nonetheless, Palmeiro’s name is all over the team’s record book making him one the best free agent additions in team history.