For Texas Rangers fans of a certain vintage, Arlington Stadium will always be home. On Friday, a video surfaced on YouTube that showed the Rangers’ first home being prepared for what appears to be the 1971 minor league season.
The Rangers are celebrating their 50th season in Texas in 2022. Back in 1971, the Rangers were the Washington Senators, and they played their final season in the nation’s capital before making the move to Texas in 1972.
The franchise needed a new home, and the City of Arlington had one—but it wasn’t called Arlington Stadium.
Ted Williams at Arlington Stadium
Nolan Ryan at The Ballpark in Arlington
Globe Life Park
Back then, it was called Turnpike Stadium. And, it wasn’t home to Major League Baseball at the time, either. In 1971, Turnpike Stadium was the home of the Dallas-Fort Worth Spurs of the Texas League.
The Spurs spent their final season at Turnpike Stadium in 1971. In 1970, the seating was expanded to nearly 21,000. By the end of the video, one could conclude that crews were either preparing the stadium for the 1971 season, the year before the Rangers arrived, or to expand the stadium for the 1972 season.
The video lasts about 90 seconds and features a watermark: ‘KERA collection, Property of the G. William Jones Video and Film Collection at SMU.’ KERA is the public broadcasting affiliate for the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
The video isn’t dated, but it’s clear that crews are working on the field and the surrounding seating.
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One shot pans from the first-base side of the field, showing off what was then the stadium’s tiny press box, the extended stands and the field. At the time of the video, only the outfield seating in right field was standing.
After a short break, the video goes on to show the main entrance and concession areas. Then, the camera provides another pan shot of the entire stadium, this time from directly behind home plate.
The final cut of the video shows the old Turnpike Stadium sign with a message that reads “21,000 seats in 71. Want one.”
Turnpike Stadium was originally built for the Spurs for the 1965 season and seated just 10,000.
Members of the Rangers Hall of Fame
Rangers hat, circa 1972
When the Senators announced their move to Arlington before the end of the 1971 season, the City of Arlington prepared to expand Turnpike Stadium to seat more than 35,000 and was then renamed Arlington Stadium. Eventually, the stadium had an upper deck and could seat more than 43,000.
The Rangers moved into The Ballpark in Arlington for the 1994 season, and Arlington Stadium was torn down for parking and other developments. In 2020, the Rangers moved into Globe Life Field, across the street from The Ballpark—now dubbed Choctaw Stadium.
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard