ARLINGTON -- Jonah Heim, originally from Amherst, N.Y., near Buffalo, has harbored a deep affection for the state of Texas, though he can't quite pinpoint when or why it began.\r\n\r\n"It's crazy, right?" Heim quipped. "I can't explain it, but Texas has always had this larger-than-life significance to me. Given my dad's military background, the presence of numerous military bases around here and the state's strong military ties, it really left an impression. Spending a month or two here with my dad, I just fell for it."\r\n\r\nREAD: \u201cNFL Week 5 Shockers: Must-See Highlights, Surprises, and Major Takeaways!\u201d\r\nJonah Heim\r\nLittle did Heim realize at that time how profoundly the state would shape both his life and career. Following the trade that brought him to Texas along with the departure of Elvis Andrus to the A\u2019s for Khris Davis in February 2021, Heim was initially considered a backup option. He entered Spring Training in both 2021 and 2022 as the secondary catcher.\r\n\r\nHowever, a midseason injury to Mitch Garver during 2022 unexpectedly propelled Heim into a starting position, a role that ultimately catalyzed his transformation into the acclaimed All-Star catcher he is today.\r\n\r\n"Oakland provided me with my initial opportunity, so that was special," Heim acknowledged. "I wasn't quite sure what to anticipate upon joining Texas, but it turned out to be the best thing that has happened in my career. Working with catching coordinator Bobby Wilson and this coaching staff has truly revolutionized my trajectory."\r\n\r\nRecognized primarily for his defensive prowess, Heim continued to build on that reputation in 2023, leading all American League catchers in defensive runs saved and securing the third position across MLB for catcher framing.\r\n\r\nHis offensive growth has significantly propelled his career forward. Heim achieved personal bests in various categories during the season, including home runs (18), RBIs (95), doubles (28), runs (61), hits (118), fWAR (4.1), and bWAR (2.9), notably appearing in a career-high 124 complete games as catcher.\r\n\r\n"Developing catchers is no easy feat," remarked Wilson. "It's a challenging process. Look at [Rangers manager Bruce] Bochy with Buster [Posey]. Buster is an exception. He figured it out quickly. For most, it takes a few years to grasp. Jonah's learning curve has been accelerated to ensure he's in the right place. I'm incredibly proud of him. It's been a remarkable year. In my opinion, he deserves the Gold Glove [Award]. While we highlight his offensive contributions, his defensive prowess has also been exceptional."\r\n\r\nHeim's pivotal achievement lies in his adept handling of a pitching staff comprising multiple Cy Young Award winners (when healthy), several All-Stars, and a group of fireballers capable of reaching triple-digit speeds. Jordan Montgomery, set to start ALCS Game 1 on Sunday, and a Trade Deadline addition to the Rangers, praised Heim for swiftly understanding pitchers and ensuring their comfort day in and day out.\r\n\r\n"He's phenomenal," Montgomery praised. "Having a catcher like him, who plays every day, helps you build confidence in pitching. He understands what you want to throw, your pitching style, and your pace. He's just an incredibly talented player."\r\n\r\nHeim's pregame meetings with Wilson, the catchers, pitchers, and pitching coach Mike Maddux form the backbone of the team's dynamics. Maddux highlighted Heim's growth throughout the year, particularly in managing the demanding role of catching every game, demonstrating enhanced comfort and a heightened sense of responsibility.\r\n\r\n"Watching Jonah Heim progress this year has been remarkable," Maddux acknowledged. "As he's caught every game now, he's continually improving. He's becoming more at ease. Jonah has truly stepped up, taking full ownership behind the plate. He might not be the most vocal person, but he's got a big heart and a strong sense of commitment. We can't overlook that just because he's quiet. He's fully engaged in every pitch we throw and particularly invested in the advanced strategies during our daily discussions. Jonah has been the unsung hero of this postseason run."