The days of Josh Hamilton as a member of the Texas Rangers seem likely, though not guaranteed, to be coming to an end with his assumed free agent departure. His 2012 season was a mix of spectacular, frustrating and disappointing, much like his career path.
Because of the way the season ended and Josh's part in that ending, much of the focus has been on the negative. However, it seemed fitting on Thanksgiving to remember some of the great games Josh gave to the Texas Rangers and us as fans. We were very fortunate to be able to see and root for someone with his amazing talent.
Here are the top ten games by Win Probability Added (WPA) for Josh Hamilton as a Texas Ranger.
10. Four Home Runs at Camden Yards - 0.37 WPA - May 8th, 2012 - Video
Normally you need to have a close game or late inning heroics to really boost your WPA. Getting hits in a blow out doesn't do much to change the outcome. But when every time you come up you crush the ball, it stands out.
9. Five for Five for Silver Boot Murder - 0.38 WPA - May 16th, 2008 - Video
Josh goes 5 for 5 with two singles, a triple and two home runs to destroy the Astros and help make sure the most critical of all trophies, the Silver Boot, can be worn by Nolan Ryan at parties and functions.
8. 7 Up in Fenway - 0.42 WPA - April 21st, 2010 - Video
The Rangers ultimately lost this game in extra innings, but a massive 3 run shot to CF tied the game late to give the Rangers a chance. On the day, 3 for 4 and a walk to tear it up.
7. Royal Slugfest - 0.44 WPA - May 6th, 2010 - Video
Josh and Vlad go back to back in the 8th inning off Joakim Soria to give the Rangers the late edge. Just another great night in an MVP season with 3 for 5 including a home run and a double.
6. Getting Back in the Groove - 0.48 WPA - August 8th, 2012 - Video
After struggling badly for two months, this was a big game in early August where Josh had a triple, a home run and a key single in the 9th inning to set up Adrian Beltre for the go ahead sac fly.
5. Wild Pitch MVP - 0.53 WPA - April 16th, 2008 - Video
In a 14 inning marathon, Josh goes 4 for 7 with two doubles and scared A.J. Burnett into a wild pitch for the go ahead run and then doubled for insurance.
4. Heading up, heading out... BALLGAME - 0.60 WPA - July 9th, 2008 - Video
Hamilton walks it off with a bottom the 9th home run against the Angels. It was his only hit of the night, but it was the last hit the Rangers needed.
3. First Look at Greatness - 0.63 WPA - April 1st, 2008 - Recap
In his second game as a Texas Ranger, Josh made some great catches (and unfortunately MLB doesn't have the video up any more) and then a 9th inning two run blast to put the Rangers up one run late. This was the first big "Wow" moment for many Rangers fans.
2. Silver Boot Lives Forever - 0.69 WPA - June 20th, 2010 - Video
You've had a good day and done quite a bit to help your team win after you go 5 for 6 with the game tying RBI in the 9th and then the game winning RBI in the 10th. One of his biggest days in his ridiculous June of his 2010 MVP season.
1. Making Andrew Bailey Cry - 1.06 WPA - July 9th, 2011 - Video
The situation is one on, two out and down a run at home in the bottom of the 9th. When Josh Hamilton is in hero mode, that means an upper deck home run to win it.
There is of course another game where Josh Hamilton did something amazing to massively increase the probability of winning. Not just the game, but literally everything. Part of me wants to leave it out because of the pain, but in being thankful for Josh Hamilton, this should always be remembered. I understand if you can't watch it again.
Roy Hobbs - 0.55 WPA - October 27th, 2011 - Video
Happy Thanksgiving everyone. I hope you have a wonderful holiday and plenty to be thankful for. And to end on a happier note, here's a moment that had no impact on any game, but showed the world just how amazing Josh can be.
2008 Home Run Derby - Josh Hamilton hits 28 like a mad man.
P.S. Hat tip to scoop for his undying faith.