Baseball Jesus Speak: An Interview with Mike Rhyner (Part 2)
**ORIGINAL POST DATE 7/3/12**
SDI: Who is your favorite Ranger player of all time?
MR: Man–so many, and a lot of ’em weren’t really that great, but they were Rangers and in one way or another they gave me some reason to remember them. Nolan, Pudge, Juando, Rafael, Rusty, Buddy Bell, Al Oliver, Larry Parrish, Jim Sundberg, Mike Hargrove, Ruben, Jules “Keeper of the Big Gold”, Toby Harrah, Richie Zisk, Charlie Hough, Jim Kern, Bert Blyleven, Gaylord Perry, Will Clark and that barely scratches the surface. As for that singular one, you can talk me into or out of just about anything. One thing I’m very amused by, maybe even gratified by is seeing the way the Ranger fans of today are now embracing the history of this team. I’ve always felt that most of them just flat-out didn’t care because the team didn’t win when the guys mentioned above and so many others were here, and in their eyes, anything those guys did while here had no value because of that, and that’s just flat-out wrong. Good or bad, a lot of great players had great years here and gave us all many, many singular baseball moments, and this doesn’t even take into account all the weirdness that’s surrounded this team. For the day 1–game 4 ranger fan, it’s really good to see that even though everyone’s more caught up in the here and now, they now seem to get that it’s ok to think good about the Rangers’ past.
SDI: Who was the best player, for any team, you ever saw play in person?
MR: Another one that’s hard to narrow down. It seemed as though Roberto Clemente impacted every game I ever saw him play in some way, but I only saw him on tv and he was in the National League anyway, so that wasn’t the question. I saw Hank Aaron hit the 1 home run he hit at the old ballpark but by then he was on the fade. He was still great, though, and I did see him in person. I feel sort of shortchanged because I missed out on seeing all the greats of my baseball youth in person, i.e., Aaron, Mantle, Mays, Spahn, Koufax, etc. On the other hand, I saw virtually every great american leaguer from the ’70’s on. And in the ’80’s and ’90’s I saw them night after night. It was awesome to see such greatness in baseball every night
SDI: What are your initial thoughts on Jurickson Profar? I realize you may
have not seen much of him, but from reports or with your own eyes what do
MR: It’s going to be very interesting to see what becomes of him. There are variables in play in which he’s a player, even though they may not involve him directly, i.e., how things go with Elvis when it comes time to get the contract done with him that will keep him here, how Kins plays as he starts to get a little older, how his body holds up, whether or not he can continue at 2B, and how proficient Profar may become at a position other than SS. He’s risen through the system at the very least on schedule, with no Neil Ramirez-like setback. If they decide they can hang with Kins at 2B for another 1-3 years, which I wouldn’t bet on, and if the Elvis contract gets done, then what? Do you try to make Profar an OF? Or do you include him in a trade. I’d bet he winds up somewhere on the Rangers infield fairly soon.