Tonight, beloved Rangers pitcher Colby Lewis will return to the mound for the first time since July 18, 2012. Lewis' return is not only one of anticipation as much as it is a chance for the Ranger faithful to give him a rousing welcome back and to say thank you. We should thank Lewis for his solid performance in a Texas uniform over the last handful of years. Colby's career didn't start in 2010 and it wasn't a magical ride, but a terrific story of perserverance and hardwork.
Colby Lewis was drafted by the Rangers in the 1st round of the amateur draft in 1999, 38th overall. After working his way through the minor leagues, Lewis appeared in 15 games for Texas in 2002 compiling a 1-3 record with an ERA of 6.29. In 2003, the Rangers promoted Colby to the starting staff where he started 26 games with a 10-9 record and a bloated ERA of 7.30. In 2004, Lewis suffered a rotator cuff injury and missed most of the year, before being released following the season.
In 2006 Lewis had a short stint with the Detroit Tigers and in 2007 he signed a minor league deal with Oakland, eventually working his way back to the Majors. Lewis was claimed off of waivers by Kansas CIty following the 2007 season and then released, never appearing in a game for the Royals. In 2008, Colby signed with the Hiroshima Carp in Japan in hopes of reviving his struggling career. He did just that, leading the league in strikeouts and finishing second in wins and ERA. The following year Lewis was just as successful leading the league in strikeouts, but decided that a return to the US and hopefully Major League Baseball was in his future.
On January 14, 2010, the Texas Rangers signed Colby Lewis to a two-year contract.
All Colby Lewis did from that point forward was to win 32 games, strikeout 458 hitters and become the first Texas Ranger pitcher to win a World Series game.
Colby Lewis is not the best pitcher to ever come through Arlington. Colby Lewis is simply the best pitcher the Rangers have ever had, when they needed him to be. In 6 post-season series, Colby Lewis pitched 50 innings for the Rangers. He posted a record of 4-1, an ERA of 2.34 and retired 44 hitters via the strikeout. Coming into 2014 Colby Lewis has made an estimated $10.1 million over his career in Major League baseball and that doesn't seem like nearly enough.
Ranger fans can thank Colby tonight by giving him the biggest, loudest and greatest ovation in the history of Globe Life Park. Regardless of tonight's outcome, Colby Lewis should go down as one of the greats in Texas Rangers baseball history.
Thank you, Colby.
Patrick Despain is the former CEO of ShutdownInning.com and co-host of a new Rangers podcast launching later this month. You can follow him on Twitter @PatrickDespain or reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.