On this date in Texas Rangers history, the team played its first game at The Ballpark in Arlington, which later became Globe Life Park in Arlington. It would be the home of the Rangers for the next 26 seasons.
The game was on April 11, 1994, as the Rangers had closed out the Arlington Stadium era (1972-1993) the previous season. The change to the brand-new park came with new uniforms, as the Rangers moved away from their blue-and-white uniforms to a red-and-white set up. The Rangers also had a new logo.
The park, modeled after ballparks from the past, included a short home run porch, luxury boxes and enough room for more than 45,000 fans. And the game came with all the pomp and circumstance of a first opening day at a new stadium, complete with legendary Texas classical pianist Van Cliburn playing the national anthem with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra. Cliburn won the 1958 International Tchaikovsky Competition and passed away in Fort Worth in 2013.
On this afternoon, the Rangers crammed 46,056 into the new ballpark for an afternoon game with the Milwaukee Brewers, which the Rangers lost, 4-3.
Rangers left-hander Kenny Rogers drew the first start in the new ballpark, as he threw more than seven innings, giving up four runs (three earned), eight hits and walk, while striking out three. Brewers starter Jaime Navarro took the win, throwing seven innings and giving up three runs (two earned) and five hits, while striking out four. A quartet of relievers, including veteran Jesse Orosco, made the lead hold up.
The Rangers’ batting order for that ballpark opener was center fielder David Hulse, second baseman Doug Strange, designated hitter Jose Canseco, left fielder Juan González, first baseman Will Clark, third baseman Dean Palmer, right fielder Rob Ducey, catcher Iván ‘Pudge’ Rodríguez, and shortstop Manuel Lee. Six different Rangers had hits, with Strange, Canseco, and Clark each finishing with an RBI.
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April 11, 1977: The Rangers opened the home portion of their schedule at Arlington Stadium with a 3-2, 10-inning win over Cleveland. Adrian Devine took the win in relief for the Rangers. Second baseman Toby Harrah won the game with a solo home run in the 10th inning, while outfielder Tom Grieve hit his second home run of the season, a two-out shot in the fourth inning. The Rangers were 4-0 at that point in the season.
April 11, 2005: The Rangers opened the home portion of their schedule, losing to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, 7-6, in 10 innings. It was the first season-opener at the newly-named Ameriquest Field. Kenny Rogers drew the home-opening start, giving up three runs and eight hits. R.A. Dickey ended up taking the loss in relief in the 10th inning. Third baseman Hank Blalock and catcher Rod Barajas had three hits each for Texas. Barajas, Blalock and shortstop Alfonso Soriano all homered for the Rangers.
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