T.R.’s Memoirs: ‘Only the Texas Rangers.’ That one statement defines club in its 50th year in Arlington
One of the most iconic moments in the Rangers’ 50 years in Arlington is Nolan Ryan battering Robin Ventura in a 1992 game at Arlington Stadium (Associated Press file photo).
T.R. Sullivan covered the Texas Rangers over 32 years for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and MLB.com and is sharing his “memoirs” with this newsletter.
In this installment, Sullivan looks back at the first 49 years the Rangers spent in Arlington as an ode to their 50th anniversary in 2022.
The Rangers have had three homes during their 50 years in Arlington: Arlington Stadium, the Ballpark in Arlington and Globe Life Field.
Arlington Stadium was nothing more than a minor-league facility that barely underwent enough renovations and additions to qualify it as being MLB-worthy. But it had that big Texas scoreboard in left field and people still talk about it fondly in an odd sort of way.
The Ballpark in Arlington was magnificent, breath-taking to look at from the outside and a testament to the national pastime on the inside. It was mainly the tedious focus on the lack of climate control that kept it from being recognized as one of the crown jewels of ballparks.
Globe Life Field is not the architectural marvel of its predecessor across the street, but it does have sufficient bells and whistles and amenities to go with the long-awaited luxury of a retractable roof and blessed air conditioning.
The three ballparks have at least one bizarre thing in common. The first year of all three were disrupted by events out of the Rangers’ control.
The beginning of the 1972 season was delayed 13 days by a strike, preventing the Rangers playing their first game in Texas at home. Instead, they opened on the road in a 1-0 loss to the Angels.
The Rangers moved to the Ballpark in 1994, and a first-place team was averaging 40,374 fans per game when the season came to a premature end Aug. 12 because of another strike. Then, in 2020, the long-awaited move into the Rangers’ new $1.2 billion stadium was disrupted when the season was cut to 60 games with no fans because of the COVID pandemic.
Mind-boggling but somehow fitting for a franchise that is getting ready for a season-long celebration of 50 years in Arlington. That momentous gala was supposed to begin Thursday with the home opener against the Yankees, but that was postponed because of the lockout.