Once a “controversial” free agent addition by the Rangers, he is now a Hall of Famer

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Every winter the majority owners of Major League Baseball’s 30 clubs would convene at a posh resort, and inevitably the MLB commissioner made a point to politely scold everyone in the room.

Then MLB commish Bud Selig made it a point to find a new, free agent contract handed to a player that offseason and use it as example to illustrate irresponsible spending among the owners.

Not the biggest contract; the contract that he felt was too much.

It was Bud’s way to slap the owners for their inability to stop increasing player salaries.

In Jan. of 2011, Bud aimed at the Texas Rangers, and specifically then GM Jon Daniels’ decision to hand Adrian Beltre a six-year, $96 million deal.

Daniels wasn’t in the room, but team president Nolan Ryan was; Nolan relayed this story to his GM, who had no choice but to eat it.

JD would never do it, but now would be a good time to call the now retired Mr. Selig a call to ask the question, “Your thoughts on Beltre’s contract, please?”

On Tuesday evening, Beltre received the phone call every player dream’s of receiving, from the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Texas Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre is indeed a Baseball Hall of Famer. It his first time on the ballot.

The other inductees to the class of 2024 are Colorado Rockies infielder Todd Helton, Minnesota Twins catcher Joe Mauer and manager Jim Leyland.

Beltre is the first member of the Rangers to be inducted into the Hall since catcher Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez joined, in 2017.

Beltre is scheduled to be in Arlington on Wednesday to make an appearance with the Rangers, and then will fly to Cooperstown to join his fellow class members.

In reviewing Beltre’s 21-year MLB career, eight of which were spent with the Rangers, the man did everything a third baseman and hitter could do, save for one thing.

He was an extra base hitting machine with a vacuum glove, and was a reliable person and pro.

When the Rangers signed Beltre away from the Boston Red Sox, he was the glove at third base the club felt it needed to win the World Series. That was why Daniels lobbied to give him a contract that irritated the MLB commissioner.

The Rangers reached the World Series the previous year, but lost to Bruce Bochy’s San Francisco Giants in five games.

Beltre nearly was the difference between the Rangers reaching the World Series, and winning it.

In the 2011 World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals in Arlington, his solo home run tied Game 5 in the sixth inning. The Rangers won the game to take a 3-2 series lead.

Beltre’s solo home run put the Rangers ahead in the top of the seventh inning of Game 6 in St. Louis. The Rangers led that game 7-4 in the eighth inning, and 7-5 in the ninth inning ... and there is just no reason to go into the rest.

This would be the closest Beltre would get to winning a World Series in a career that lasted through the 2018 season.

An advisor with the club now, he was on the field when the Rangers won their first World Series on Nov. 1 in Arizona.

Along with former teammates Michael Young and Ian Kinsler, Beltre stood on the field and watched the current group of Rangers celebrate something those three came painfully close to achieving themselves. The photo of Beltre holding the World Series trophy on the field went viral.

That moment completed a career that began in 1998 when he was a rookie with the L.A. Dodgers.

Although Beltre spent seven years with the Dodgers, five with the Mariners and one with the Red Sox, he became a Hall of Famer in Texas.

A native of the Dominican Republic who was an MLB rookie when he was 19, most of Beltre’s major milestone moments came with the Rangers. The lone exception was when he finished second in the MVP voting in 2004, when he was with the Dodgers.

With the Rangers, he became the face of the franchise, and the adult in the room.

When the Rangers traded Young to the Phillies in December of 2012, the Rangers became Beltre’s team.

No matter the age, level of experience or production, everyone on the Rangers revered Beltre; there was a prolonged period where the players played for him more than they did the manager, or anyone else.

Unlike in 2011, when his first contract with the Rangers drew criticism and some skepticism all over baseball, when he signed his extension in 2016 no one uttered a word. That deal effectively took him to the end of his career.

In July of 2017, in front of his wife and family, Beltre hit a double at the Ballpark for career hit No. 3,000.

He finished his career with 3,166 hits, 477 home runs, 1,707 RBI, five Gold Glove awards, four All-Star selections, and one induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame.