Arlington Stadium, once a centerpiece of baseball in Texas, played a crucial role in the development of the Texas Rangers and Major League Baseball (MLB) in the region. Its history is a tapestry of baseball milestones, memorable moments, and the evolution of the sport in the American Southwest.
Stadium Facts about Arlington Stadium
- Location: Arlington, Texas
- Opened On: April 21, 1965
- Closed On: October 3, 1993
- Home Team: Texas Rangers (American League)
- Stadium Nicknames: N/A
- Dimensions: Left Field – 330 feet, Center Field – 400 feet, Right Field – 330 feet
- Capacity: Originally about 10,000; expanded to over 43,000
- Attendance Record: Not available
- Surface: Grass
- Architect: David M. Schwarz/Architectural Services, Inc.
- Owner: City of Arlington
Arlington Stadium began its life as Turnpike Stadium, a minor league ballpark, before being expanded and renamed to host the Texas Rangers, who moved from Washington, D.C., in 1972. As the first permanent home of the Rangers, it witnessed the early years of the franchise and its growth into an MLB staple.
The stadium’s closure and eventual demolition in 1994 paved the way for the construction of The Ballpark in Arlington (now Globe Life Park), as the Rangers sought a more modern facility.
Design and Features
Originally designed for minor league baseball, Arlington Stadium was expanded to accommodate major league standards. Its design was straightforward and functional, typical of the multi-purpose stadiums of its era. The stadium was known for its vast outfield, which was challenging for hitters, and its large, open-air structure that embraced the Texas climate.
Despite its lack of architectural grandeur, Arlington Stadium was beloved for its classic, no-frills baseball atmosphere and the up-close experience it offered to fans.
Over the years, Arlington Stadium underwent several renovations to enhance the fan experience and increase capacity. These included the addition of upper-deck seating, improvements to the lighting and scoreboard, and various upgrades to the facilities.
These renovations aimed to keep the stadium functional and comfortable for fans, though it lacked some of the amenities and luxuries of more modern ballparks.
The facilities at Arlington Stadium were modest but met the needs of the day. Concession stands offered traditional ballpark fare, and the seating, while not as luxurious as modern stadiums, provided great views of the field. The stadium was known for its ample parking and easy access, making it a popular destination for baseball fans in the region.
Despite its basic amenities, Arlington Stadium was appreciated for the intimate and traditional baseball experience it provided.
Memorable Moments at Arlington Stadium
- Texas Rangers’ First Game: Marking the arrival of Major League Baseball in Texas in 1972.
- Nolan Ryan’s Milestones: Hosting some of Nolan Ryan’s historic moments, including his 5,000th strikeout.
- First Postseason Appearance: The stadium saw the Rangers’ first postseason appearance in 1996.
- Notable Players and Performances: Hosting legendary players like Ferguson Jenkins and Gaylord Perry.
Interesting Baseball History at Arlington Stadium
- Expansion and Growth of the Rangers: The stadium witnessed the evolution of the Rangers from a struggling expansion team to a competitive franchise.
- Adaptation to Texas Climate: The open-air design and grass surface were tailored to the hot Texas weather.
- Host to Historic Events: Including notable games, player milestones, and record-setting performances.
- Fan Culture Development: The stadium was integral in fostering a dedicated fan base for the Rangers in Texas.
Arlington Stadium also hosted a variety of non-baseball events, demonstrating its versatility as a multi-use facility. It was a venue for concerts, community events, and other sports activities, reflecting its importance beyond just baseball in the Arlington and greater Dallas-Fort Worth area. The range of events held at Arlington Stadium underscored its significance as a community gathering place and entertainment hub.