Fans enjoying watching the Texas Rangers play a home game during their first ever season in 1972.

Texas Rangers Game. Lester Strother Collection (AR0327), University of North Texas Special Collections

The Texas Rangers will be starting their 2015 Spring Training Season coming up on March 4th, a little over a month before the their 2015 Season opener game against the Houston Astros on April 10th. This will be the Rangers 43rd season playing in Arlington, the first being in the Arlington Stadium on April 21, 1972 against the Angels, wining 7-6.  This game was the first Major League game to be played in the Arlington Stadium and in North Texas.  This was the only other Major League Baseball stadium apart from Colt Stadium, which housed the Houston Colt .45s temporarily from 1962-1964; and the Astrodome, where in 1965, the team moved to and was renamed as the Houston Astros.

Before the Arlington Stadium was home to the Texas Rangers, the stadium was home to the minor league team, Dallas-Fort Worth Spurs, and the stadium itself was called Turnpike Stadium.  Construction on Turnpike Stadium began in September of 1964 and held its first game in 1965. Even though it originally seated only 10,000, it was built so that the seating could be expanded up to 50,000 (it also was originally built to attract a Major League team).  The Dallas-Fort Worth Spurs played in the Turnpike Stadium for 7 years, until in 1972 when a new franchise moved in from Washington, DC. The Washington Senators majority was purchased by Robert E. Short in December of 1968, and finally moved to Arlington in 1971.

With the coming of Major League Baseball to the Turnpike Stadium, it was enlarged from 20,000 seats (first seat enlargement occurred in October 1970) to seat a little over 35,500, and was also renamed as Arlington Stadium. After the Texas Rangers played in the Arlington Stadium for a little over four years, the City of Arlington and the Texas Rangers agreed on a plan in December of 1976 to enlarge the stadium to seat 42, 000, and be renovated over the next two years.  They continued to play in the Arlington Stadium throughout the next 17 years, during which time the Rangers purchased the Stadium from the City of Arlington, and with the City announced plans to build a new ballpark and complex adjacent to the old stadium. The Arlington Stadium saw its final game on October 3, 1993 with over 41,000 attending.  The 1994 season opened in “The Ballpark in Arlington” stadium (Ameriquest Field), which much of us know today, on April 1st (in 2007 it was renamed as Rangers Ballpark).

When the original Stadium was built in 1964, the only other attractions in the vicinity was Six Flags over Texas (1961-present), the Seven Seas (1972-1976), the Globe Life Park (1994), and finally the AT&T Stadium in 2009.  Other than that the area surrounding didn’t see much development in these 43 years and was mostly surrounded by parking lots, open fields, and highways. The building of AT&T Stadium did however provide over thousands of jobs, and expanded the tax revenue.  Today, there are a plethora of hotels, restaurants, shopping and office spaces, and nearby residential communities. Anywhere there are residential communities, there is a need for retail stores and so on.  The development around the Rangers Ballpark may have not been growing as rapidly as the City of Arlington had originally hoped, but in recent years the growth has made up for that slack.

-by Jaime Janda

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