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Giuliani takes swings with Rangers

Giuliani takes swings with Rangers

ARLINGTON -- Tom Hicks and Rudolph Giuliani were once on opposite sides of the field. And Giuliani was winning.

That was back in the late 1990's when Hicks was just starting out as the owner of the Rangers and Giuliani was the Mayor of New York City. He was also a huge Yankees fan, and he was at Yankee Stadium when his team kept knocking the Rangers out of the American League playoffs.

"I have a pair of boots that I won from the mayor of Arlington," Giuliani said. "I used to wear them for luck. I wore them to all the playoffs and the World Series in 1996. But lately the luck has worn off, so I had to get a new pair of boots."

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Now they are on the same side, and Giuliani was Hicks' guest on Saturday before the Rangers game with the Oakland Athletics. Giuliani is running for President and was in town for a fundraiser and rally at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

He also took time out to take a little batting practice against Rangers batboy Michael Harlow. He picked up one of Brad Wilkerson's bats.

"Somebody better tell him there are a lot of swings and misses in that bat," Wilkerson said.

Giuliani, 63, did swing and miss a few times but then started hitting the ball solidly, if not for distance.

"I tried to bunt," Giuliani said. "I was telling your manager I'm a big believer in bunting. I believe the American League suffers from the DH because every player should know how to bunt."

This was not Giuliani's first visit to the Ballpark. He was a guest of Hicks back in 2002 and was invited to throw out the first pitch at a game. Since then they have become close friends and Hicks is a major supporter of Giuliani's Presidential bid.

"He's a wonderful guy and a great competitor," Giuliani said. "I should know. I played golf with him today, and he was into every shot. But he's a really good man, one of the most successful businessmen in the country. He's done a great job with this team. He cares about the team, and he cares about his players. He's a player's owner."

Hicks is still good friends with President Bush and twice has brought a group of Rangers players to the White House to meet with him. But now he is putting forth his efforts to head Giuliani's campaign in Texas as a chief fundraiser.

Hicks said Texas has donated more to the Giuliani campaign than any other state except New York.

"I really admire him," Hicks said. "He's such a refreshing politician. He's a leader. You ask him a question and he never gives you a political answer. He tells you what's right. With my concerns on what's going to happen in this world in the next 5-10 years, I want this guy as our leader. I'm going to do everything I can to help him get elected."

This is the third time Giuliani has held a fundraiser in conjunction with a baseball game. He held one earlier in Anaheim and Detroit. Both times the Yankees were the opposing team.

"One time they lost 18-9 and the other I think it was 15-0," Giuliani said. "So I stopped doing them at Yankee games."

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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