If things had worked out for the Detroit Tigers the way they envisioned seven years ago, Juan Gonzalez would right now be at the tail end of that $140 million contract the club put on the table after picking him up from Texas.

Instead, he lasted just one year in Detroit, and spent one in Cleveland, before returning to the Rangers in February 2002 on a two-year deal.

To make room on the 40-man roster for Gonzalez, the Rangers designated a young outfielder for assignment, one who was sort of on the fringes, at best, of any plans the club had going forward.

And today it’s Texarkana’s own Craig Keystone Monroe, whom Detroit prevented from getting through waivers that February, contributing the big October hits for the Tigers that they had visions of Gonzalez providing.

A few of you might remember Monroe keeping his commitment to us, stunningly, by showing up at the Rangers’ Winter Carnival on February 2, 2002, to sign autographs at the Newberg Report booth even though he’d been put on waivers by Texas and claimed by Detroit a day earlier. Classy gesture from the former eighth-round pick.

And then there’s that former Rangers 39th-round pick. While there are certainly plenty of things that Kenny Rogers has done in his baseball life that he regrets, at this particular moment he can’t be anything but grateful for the circumstances that put him in this place, at this time, doing what he’s doing.

He’s going to be the ace of a World Series rotation in a few days. I’ll be pulling for him, as, I suspect, will Long Island Duck Juan Gonzalez.

You can read more from Jamey Newberg at

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