Oct 20, 2023 - Sports

A brief history of the Rangers-Astros rivalry

Rookie third baseman Josh Jung hits a home run Wednesday during Game 3. Photo: Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images

The Houston Astros founder and Astrodome mastermind hated Dallas so much, he fought for a decade to keep baseball from moving into our region, which he called "hyphenville."

The latest: The Rangers lost 10-3 to the Astros in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series Thursday night.

  • The best-of-seven series is now tied 2-2. The winner advances to the World Series.
  • Game 5 is in Arlington at 4:07pm Friday.

Why it matters: The Rangers aren't named for Dallas or Arlington or Fort Worth. Our baseball team's name is a flag in the ground claiming the whole state.

State of play: The two teams didn't regularly play each other until the early 2000s after Major League Baseball launched regular-season interleague play in 1997, which started in Arlington.

  • The Astros moved to the American League in 2013.
  • The Rangers' regular-season record against Houston is 134-132.

Flashback: The MLB moved into Texas in 1960 when Houston was named one of two cities to get an expansion team.

  • Astros founder Judge Roy Hofheinz — who wanted sports played in an air-conditioned, domed stadium — worked to block the MLB from adding a National League team in D-FW, keeping baseball only in the Bayou City and ensuring Astros games were broadcast statewide.
  • Meanwhile: Former Arlington Mayor Tom Vandergriff lobbied for over a decade to get a team in the city, even calling President Lyndon B. Johnson.

What happened: The Washington Senators moved to Arlington in 1972 and became the Texas Rangers. Vandergriff threw out the first pitch in Arlington Stadium.

  • "Let's make our cheers heard all the way to Houston tonight," he said, per the DMN.

Zoom out: Vandergriff said he fought to get another baseball team to Texas because of Hofheinz, who he said "feels the entire state is Astro-land. This is not the case," per CBS Sports.

  • Vandergriff's grandson says he made sure the team was named for the whole state.

The intrigue: It may be easy to boil down the rivalry to Dallas vs. Houston, but Vandergriff believed that building a ballpark and getting the Rangers here united North Texas.

  • "Baseball was the first time that the people of Dallas and Tarrant counties voted for the same thing at the same time," Vandergriff told a reporter before the last season at the original ballpark.

The bottom line: "It's baseball time in Texas." And that means right here at home.


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