Read an article today by T.R. Sullivan. He had listed the 50 decisions that have formed the course of the Rangers in their 50 years of existence. T.R. doesn't really expound on if the decisions were good or bad, he just lists them. The article gave me an idea for a series of posts. From time to time I will be writing on the decisions and if they were good or bad ones. This weekend is a good time to start this series since things will be pretty busy and I can schedule to posts ahead of time. There are quite a few of these decisions from before my time but there are a surprising number that I remember occurring.
Number one on the list is the franchise moving from Washington, D.C. to Arlington, Texas. This signed 1971 Topps card of Casey Cox would be one of the last Senators cards issued. Following the 1971 season Bob Short moved the team to Texas. It was the last time the Nation's capital would have a pro team until the Expos moved there in 2005.
When the original Senators moved to Minnesota after the 1960 season MLB replaced them with the club that would eventually end up in Texas. From 1961 to 1971 the team played in Washington. During that time the club went 740-1032 and never finished higher than fourth place. Most of the time they were in the bottom two or three teams in the league.
With the team mired in mediocrity and himself going broke, Bob Short petitioned MLB to let him move the team. Enter Tom Vandergriff, mayor of Arlington. Vandergriff had tried to get Charlie Finley to move the A's to Texas but failed. He wouldn't fail this time. After tireless lobbying he finally landed the franchise. In 1972 the team would kick off their first season in Texas.
Thanks to Tom Vandergriff, North Texas finally had a MLB team. The move was a huge benefit for the team. Money would stay tight for the first couple of years but the move got them away from the Yankees and Orioles. Once away from those established teams, the fan base began to grow. With the closest teams being the Royals, Astros, and Cardinals, the Rangers were able to draw from a large area. With a new name and new location there was finally reason to think that things might turn around.