Celebrating 50 years of Texas Rangers baseball
1970’s: Major League Baseball Arrives in North Texas
The 1970’s were a time of growth for not only the Rangers, but for the popularity of baseball in North Texas. Here are some notable feats and facts about your 1970s Texas Rangers:
The Inaugural Season:
With Ted Williams as manager, the Washington Senators became the Texas Rangers in 1972 and begun play in the inaugural season at Arlington Stadium. Though their first win came in their second game, beating the Angels(then Known as the California Angels) 5-1, the first season in Texas did not go well, as they finished 54-100. While the first season didn’t bring much in terms of wins, it brought baseball to North Texas and created fans for life in an area that was and is primarily known for football.
The First Winning Season:
During the 1974 season the Rangers finally began to come together as a team. They finished this season 84-76 and are still to this day the only team to have a winning season following two consecutive 100 loss seasons. Although this Rangers team had the AL MVP in Jeff Burroughs, the AL rookie of the year in Mike Hargrove, the comeback player of the year in Ferguson Jenkins, and the manager of the year in Billy Martin, the Rangers finished in second place in this season, just missing the playoffs behind the eventual World Series champion Athletics. While ultimately missing the playoffs was a disappointment, the season was filled with fun moments, and even some crazy ones too, such as the 10 cent beer night in Cleveland. The Rangers had three other years during this decade in which they finished with a winning record, including a 94 win season in 1977, one in which they also missed the postseason due to the format at the time.
Who Best Represents This Decade?
The first ever opening day short stop for the Texas Rangers, Harrah slashed a .262/.356/.401 with 106 home runs during his time in Texas in the 70s. Harrah was also the first All-Star in Rangers history, and was ranked 3rd best Rangers Shortstop by MLB.com, and had a stretch from 72-76 where he led all shortstops in the league in OPS.
Other notable players/people in the era:
Jim Sundberg, Ferguson Jenkins, Mike Hargrove, Jeff Burroughs, Tom Grieve