The Charlotte Rangers of Port Charlotte, Florida, played sixteen years in the Florida State League. In that time period, they served as a Single-A affiliate of their parent club in Texas. Though the team was occasionally referred to as the Port Charlotte Rangers, just Charlotte was the official place name for this franchise.
Though team origins are often a bit murky in the FSL, it seems that the Charlotte Rangers were added as an expansion team (along with the Dunedin Blue Jays) following the 1986 season, when the league jumped from 12 to 14 clubs. Whether or not the team was created and owned outright by the Texas Rangers is a mystery to me, but this arrangement is likely, considering that they played in their parent club’s spring training complex in the same time period that Texas was part of the Grapefruit League.
Aesthetically, Charlotte followed the lead of many other FSL “complex” teams over the years, with only minor variations of the parent club’s branding elements. The original team cap was blue with a simple red block letter C, similar to that sported by the Cleveland Indians these days. In 1994, as Texas updated their brand, Charlotte followed suit and modesty branched out creatively. Red became the new primary color, and a new cap logo featured an interlocking star and letter C–rendered in the old west style font favored by Texas. This basic look would stay for the rest of their days.
The lasting legacy of the Charlotte Rangers is the impressive list of major league alumni, including, chronologically: Kevin Brown, Kenny Rogers, Juan González, Sammy Sosa, Rey Sánchez, José Hernández, hall-of-famer Iván Rodríguez, Robb Nen, Rusty Greer, Rich Aurilia, R.A. Dickey, Carlos Peña, Scott Podsednik, Joaquin Benoit, Hank Blalock, C.J. Wilson, and Mark Teixiera.
The Charlotte Rangers winked out of existence after the 2002 season, when Texas moved their spring training to the Cactus League in Arizona. The franchise was sold to the St. Louis Cardinals, who moved them to their own spring training facility. The Palm Beach Cardinals play in the Florida State League to this day.