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Tom Vandergriff helped bring the Senators to Texas

Dec 31, 2010, 9:23 AM EDT

Vandergriff

I promise that it won’t all be obituaries today, but this one is pretty notable.  Tom Vandergriff, the man who, as mayor, helped bring the Washington Senators to Arlington, Texas where they became the Rangers has died:

In 1965, Vandergriff brought Dallas and Fort Worth officials together to help build a minor league baseball stadium that was later expanded to accommodate the Washington Senators when they relocated. It was renamed Arlington Stadium after Vandergriff declined an effort to name it after him … Vandergriff worked for 13 years to bring Major League Baseball to Arlington, and threw out the first pitch on April 21, 1972, after he finally succeeded.

I’m pretty hard on local governments providing goodies to professional sports teams. It’s just a principle thing with me. But even I have to admit that, for every bad government decision along these lines, there are happy fans.  I’ve come to know a number of Rangers fans over the past couple of years, and while the Cowboys get all the press, there are a lot of people in north Texas who are passionate about their Rangers.  Without Vandergriff, they probably wouldn’t have them.

  1. Matt - Dec 31, 2010 at 10:14 AM

    Does Edgar Renteria’s career count as a 3rd obit for the morning?

  2. senatorsguy - Dec 31, 2010 at 10:57 AM

    I won’t curse the dead – but Short, Vandergriff and others who conspired to take away my Senators are not forgiven.

    • Utley's Hair - Dec 31, 2010 at 12:35 PM

      Well, now at least you have the Gnats…oh…I see your point.

    • simon94022 - Dec 31, 2010 at 12:37 PM

      I totally understand this. Dallas deserves a team, but the American League’s abandonment of Washington in 1971 was unwarranted and insanely short-sighted. There were lots of teams in worse financial shape than the Senators, but none of them had fans who’d endured anything close to DC’s decades of futility on the field. And none of them had ownership as bad as Robert Short.

      Baseball put an attrocious product on the field in Washington, year after year for generations. Then typically blamed the customers, and in the process gave up a market that was quickly becoming one of the 10 largest in the US. Not much to celebrate about a move that foolish.

  3. roycethebaseballhack - Dec 31, 2010 at 2:52 PM

    No idea on Mr. Short’s ownership ineptitude, but to the point of Criag’s post; Judge Vandergriff did more to promote and develop North Texas than anyone. Without his effort, there is no Six Flags Over Texas, no massive GM plant, and no Texas Rangers. I agree that The League and The Owners are ultimately accountable for allowing teams to move, and I don’t dig it one bit.

  4. roycethebaseballhack - Dec 31, 2010 at 2:54 PM

    Another thing I don’t dig is my ipads overly sensitive keyboard.

    Still, Vandergriff did amazing things here, and his bringing a major league baseball team to Arlington was one of the more significant.

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