Happy birthday to Ron Darling, who turns 50 today.
Darling was the Rangers' first round pick in 1981, a right handed pitcher out of Yale University who is most famous in Ranger history for being part of one of the worst trades the Rangers ever made.
On April 1, 1982, less than a year after Darling was drafted, he was dealt, along with Walt Terrell, for New York Mets outfielder Lee Mazzilli. That deal, by then g.m. Eddie Robinson, reportedly prompted a mutiny in the scouting department and some resignations from folks angry that the team's two best pitching prospects had just been given away.
Mazzilli, a native New Yorker, was unhappy about leaving the Mets, unhappy about coming to Texas, and really unhappy upon learning that he was going to play left field instead of center field, pronouncing left field to be an "idiot's position." Before 1982 was over, the Rangers sent him to the Yankees for Bucky Dent, and spent the next few years bemoaning their lack of young pitching.
Darling, meanwhile, was a key cog in the Mets' great late-80s teams, although early overuse seems to have hampered his career overall. Darling ended his career with an ERA+ of 95, and only had a full season ERA+ over 100 three times.
Still, he was a very talented pitcher who gave the Mets a lot of quality innings, and he forever will be one of the poster children for the ineptitude of the early Ranger regimes.