Taco shop mural in Arlington depicts infamous punch by Texas Rangers’ Rougned Odor

Juan Velazquez/Juan Velazquez

A new mural at an Arlington restaurant reminds fans of when a Texas Rangers baseball player swung for something other than the fences.

The mural at Gilberto’s Taco Shop depicts former Ranger Rougned Odor punching Toronto Blue Jay José Bautista in the face. The mural is at 611 W. Park Row Drive, the site of the second Gilberto’s restaurant which is set to open this spring.

Odor’s infamous punch came on May 15, 2016, after Bautista slid into the Rangers player to break up a double play at second base, which he didn’t take kindly to. Odor and Bautista went after each other, resulting in the Blue Jays’ player getting a right hook to the face.

The mural comes from Fort Worth artist Juan Velazquez who said the artwork is to evoke memories for Rangers fans of an iconic moment in team history.

“We have to hold on to moments like that, because we don’t have a World Series championship,” Velazquez said. “That’s literally all we have to hold on to.”

Velazquez is known for his mural work around North Texas, painting slain U.S. Army Soldier Vanessa Guillén, Tejano music star Selena, local boxer Vergil Ortiz Jr. and even “1883” actor Sam Elliot. Velazquez’s art can be seen around Fort Worth, Arlington and across North Texas.

The Odor-Bautista mural came about when Gilberto’s owner, José Ruiz, contacted Velazquez about painting a logo at the taco shop’s second location.

After agreeing on the logo, Velazquez was asked if he would consider painting something else on the building to represent the city of Arlington. Velazquez thought about it and decided to make something sports related, given the Rangers and Dallas Cowboys proximity to Arlington.

However, Velazquez decided on the Rangers after having done previous work highlighting Cowboys players such as Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliot.

The only two images in Velazquez’s mind for the mural were either Odor punching Bautista, or Nolan Ryan grabbing Chicago White Sox player Robin Ventura in a headlock on Aug. 4, 1993. Ventura charged Ryan after being hit by a pitch and was quickly grabbed and given a few wallops from the 46-year-old Rangers pitcher.

Velazquez chose the Odor moment since it was more recent and will resonate with younger Rangers fans.

“Those are the people who are going to share it on social media, those are the people that are going to create buzz about it and hopefully get people hyped up about baseball,” he said. “Because I’m ready for baseball.”

Velazquez has been getting positive feedback online from Rangers fans celebrating the iconic moment.

He hopes the mural, which took him around 20 hours to complete, will give fans a smile as they drive past it. But he understands that it might not be for everyone.

“There might be a Blue Jays fan out there that might not smile about it,” he said. “But for the majority of the part, everyone’s gonna look at it and just smile.”

The mural is at Gilberto’s Taco Shop upcoming location at 611 W. Park Row Drive, Arlington. The original Gilberto’s is open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. all week at 1112 E. Abram St.