Texas Rangers superfan picked to throw out first pitch on opening day

ARLINGTON, Texas - A longtime Texas Rangers fan has the honor of throwing out the ceremonial first pitch at Thursday’s season opener. It’s the team’s way of saying thank you to fans for their loyalty over the years.

Mike Carter has supported the Rangers for more than 50 years and in three different Arlington ballparks.

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He loves baseball – really loves baseball.

"My childhood was in the 50s and the early 60s. So, I grew up a baseball fan," he said.

But the ability to play the game escaped him.

"I tried. But I’m short. I’m not real athletic. So, I finally gave it up. By the end of sixth grade I’d given it up," he said.

Instead, he focused his passion for the game on becoming the best fan possible.

"In 1973, I started going to a few games," Carter said. "In 1974, they got Billy Martin as a manager and Fergison Jenkins as a pitcher. And I’d been a Fergie Jenkins fan forever. I liked how feisty Billy Martin was. So, I started going to the games."

His attitude on the Rangers’ ups and downs over the years is thankful.

"I’ve spent my life, the better part of my life going to the games," he said. "Good times and bad times."

His consistent positive presence did not go unnoticed by the Rangers staff.

After the World Series, the organization began looking for a long-suffering fan to throw out the first pitch of 2024. Carter quickly came to mind.

"Mike specifically, I’ve known him for the 13 years that I’ve worked for the Texas Rangers. And you talk about a fan that is as emotional, as supportive, as loyal as any Rangers fan. He was certainly at the top of that list," said Dan Hessling, the Rangers’ senior vice president of ticket sales.

Carter said he was silent for at least 30 seconds after he was asked.

"Then I said, ‘Yes!’" he said.

Now the longtime season ticket holder is preparing for a magical moment.

"I think I’ll be nervous. I will probably be pretty emotional. I just hope I don’t embarrass myself," he said.

When Carter takes to the mound, he’ll be throwing to Hall of Fame catcher Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez.