Beasley moves Arlington crowd with anthem

Beasley moves Arlington crowd with anthem

ARLINGTON -- Tony Beasley's soulful rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner" stirred a sellout crowd at Globe Life Park and was the highlight of the Rangers' pregame ceremonies on Monday, Opening Day.

Beasley is an accomplished gospel singer, and delivering the national anthem helped mark his return to full-time duty as the Rangers' third-base coach. He had to sit out last year while undergoing treatment for rectal cancer, but he is at full strength again.

Once Beasley started singing, the crowd slowly and steadily started joining in, reaching a crescendo at the end. It may be the most memorable rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner" on Rangers Opening Day since pianist Van Cliburn and the Fort Worth Symphony performed it at the opening of the Ballpark in Arlington in 1994.

Former Rangers president Tom Schieffer arranged Cliburn's appearance 23 years ago, and he was on the field on Monday as a member of the club's Hall of Fame to hear Beasley's rendition.

"With all he has been through, wrapped up with the excitement of Opening Day, it was a very moving moment," Schieffer said. "It made you proud to be an American."

The anthem was punctuated by a flyover of T-38's from the United States Air Force 88th Fighter Training Squadron of Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls. Arlington mayor Jeff Williams then threw the ceremonial first pitch to Ivan Rodriguez, who will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in July.

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.