Texas Rangers Make History
On April 15, 1972, the Texas Rangers played the first game. It was in California against an expansion team, the Angels. Thirtynine years later, the Rangers are playing another Californian team in a historic series. This time, the Rangers are taking on the San Francisco Giants in their first ever World Series. With their decisive win in the American League Championship series against the New York Yankees, the Rangers ended one of the longest World Series droughts in Major League Baseball.
Prior to the Rangers coming to Texas, the Astros were already a well-known team in Houston and minor league baseball thrived in the state. But Texas was still considered football country. The presence of baseball in Texas expanded in the early 1970s, when Arlington Mayor Tom Vandergriff boldly went after the expansion Washington Senators team to lure them to the area. Poor attendance in Washington, and an even poorer win-loss record, made the move to Texas an attractive option for the sputtering Senators.
The newly-christened Texas Rangers quickly became one of the Metroplex’s signature sports teams, and the Rangers earned the following and allegiance of area residents. Old Turnpike Stadium was expanded for the team and Arlington Stadium remained an iconic fixture on I-30 between Dallas and Fort Worth until the new Ballpark opened in 1994.
Throughout the Rangers’ 39 year history, the team and its fans have witnessed Nolan Ryan pitch his sixth and seventh no-hitters, win 300 games and make his 5,000th strikeout. They have witnessed Kenny Rogers pitch a perfect game and hosted a Major League Baseball All-Star game. And now, fans who have loyally stood by the team during good times and bad, have the opportu- nity to root for the team as the Rangers compete to be the world champions.
Fans fondly remember the great players of past teams who helped make the Texas Rangers a powerhouse franchise in the American League. Players like Ryan (now the team’s President and partowner), Ferguson Jenkins, Mike Hargrove, Jim Sundberg, Rueben Sierra, Ivan Rodriguez, and so many others, who battled the heat of Texas summers to bring a love of America’s pastime to the fans of North Texas.
The current team’s heroes-Cliff Lee, Colby Lewis, Josh Hamilton, Nelson Cruz, Vladimir Guerrero, Bengie Molina, Ian Kinsler, Michael Young, and so many other teammates-are now household names throughout the area. And this group of players also has a team-approach that made its wins even more appreciated. Every Ranger star has credited the support of the whole team. Fans, young and old, are sporting Ranger red and blue tee shirts and caps. The entire area has caught Ranger fever.
Sports contests have a way of uniting people in so many ways. Texans have always enjoyed cheering on their local school, college, or professional teams. Even when folks can’t agree on issues they can find common ground when discussing their favorite team. We saw the entire state cheer for Houston when the Astros reached the World Series in 2005. Now, we have consensus agreement in the Lone Star State that the Texas Rangers playing in the World Series is a remarkable achievement. New York has its Subway Series. In Texas, the Rangers and Astros play for the “Silver Boot” in the Lone Star Series. Our Texas teams make us Texas proud! And this year all of Texas is rooting for the American League Champion Texas Rangers!