Happy birthday to Mike Stanton, who turns 42 today.
Stanton spent a couple of months as a Ranger in 1996, after Texas picked him up for the stretch run from the BoSox in exchange for Mark Brandenburg and Kerry Lacy.
Stanton is most remembered, by me, for being the losing pitcher in what looked like was going to be one of the worst losses in Rangers history. On September 20, 1996, the Rangers blew a 3-0 lead to the Angels in Anaheim, and ended up going to extra innings tied at 4. The Rangers scored a run in the top of the 10th, and Stanton came in to record the first two outs in the bottom of the 10th, but then allowed singles to George Arias and Rex Hudler, followed by a double to Garret Anderson, to give the Angels a walk-off 6-5 victory.
That was the Rangers' 5th loss in a row, their 9th loss in 10 games (including a 4 game sweep in Seattle), and dropped their lead over the Mariners to 1 game (it had been 9 games on September 11). It appeared that the Rangers were in the midst of an epic, historical late-season collapse.
But they pulled out of it...the Rangers won the next two in Anaheim, split a series in Oakland, and took three of four against the Angels at home, while the M's were following up their 10 game winning streak by losing 5 of 6 to drop out of the race.
So the Rangers ended up making the playoffs for the first time. But if they hadn't, Stanton's blown save would have gone down as one of the worst moments in Rangers history.