T.R.’s Memoirs: A ballpark never given a fair chance (Part II)
(AP photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Editor’s note: T.R. Sullivan retired after covering the Rangers for 32 years, longer than any other beat writer. He is sharing his memoirs at this site, and this week: a two-part story on the Ballpark in Arlington.
I grew up on minor-league baseball. My father was a career Army officer and I was a military brat. The places we lived were almost always closer to a minor-league town than a major-league city: the Hawaii Islanders, Salinas (Calif.) Packers and Montgomery (Ala.) Rebels.
My father was stationed at Fort Shafter in Honolulu from 1968-71, so my first experience with professional baseball was attending Islanders games at the old Honolulu Stadium. That ballpark was opened in 1926 and was known as the Termite Palace.
I was 12 when my dad was transferred to Ford Ord on the Monterey Peninsula. The first major-league game I ever attended was on Oct. 2, 1971, when he took me to see the San Francisco Giants host the Pittsburgh Pirates at Game 1 of the National League Championship Series.
It was an absolutely beautiful autumn afternoon in San Francisco. I will never forget walking through the tunnel and into Candlestick Park for the first time. A golden haze hung in the air, the grass was green – artificial of course – and the stadium just seemed overwhelming compared to Honolulu Stadium. The image is still vivid in my mind.
Almost 25 years later, I had the exact same feeling when I walked into the Ballpark in Arlington for the first time on April 1, 1994.