"We probably didn't have the most talent around, but we had a bunch of guys that went out there and played," he said. "We played as a group and most of us are still friends today.""That season was a huge lift because it got us started on a run of three division titles. Being the first post-season team, it was a monkey off everybody's back in the organization." The dreaded 'no postseason' monkey almost stayed with the Rangers, though, as a nine-game lead nearly slipped away. In mid-September, the Rangers lost nine of 10 games, but recovered to win six of their final eight games to take the division over the California Angels. "The thing that stands out the most is the way they didn't fold," Nadel said. "It was their first-time leading a pennant race and they held on." The '96 season was the beginning of Rangers post-season baseball, as they made return trips in 1998 and 1999. Other memorable home runs -- August 25, 1986 -- Geno Petralli hit a game-tying two-run home run off Boston starter Roger Clemens in the eighth inning of a nationally televised game. It was Petralli's second home run of his career. Ruben Sierra homered in the ninth to defeat the Red Sox. October 1, 1996 -- After Gonzalez went deep, Dean Palmer hit a two-run home run later in the fourth inning to give the Rangers insurance runs against the Yankees. The Rangers won their first post-season game ever over the Yankees, 6-2. June 30, 1997 -- Texas pitcher Bobby Witt unleashed a solo home run in the sixth inning off Ismael Valed of the LA Dodgers to give the Rangers a 3-2 victory. It was the first home run by a Rangers pitcher since they moved to Texas in 1972, and the first by an AL pitcher since Baltimore's Roric Harrison went deep on October 3, 1972 against Cleveland. July 15, 2003 -- Hank Blalock belted a game-winning, two-run home run in the 2003 All-Star Game against current Rangers' closer Eric Gagne. The AL defeated the NL, 7-6, for home-field advantage in the 2003 World Series.
Drew Davison is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.