Why did the Washington Senators move to Texas?

Well…? I was just a tad. I vaguely remember lumbering Frank Howard’s crushing shots and Mike Epsteins thunderous drives but I’ve forgotten the rationale for the move.

Money. As always.

*First in War,

First in Peace,

Last in the American League*

The original Washington Senators, with Walter Johnson, became the Minnesota Twins in 1960. Although, I haven’t found a reason why, yet.

A little more on the ‘money’ angle.

Phil Wood (local baseball historian) defines the issue this way.

Bob Short was offered some real incentives to move the team from DC to Texas. One of them was the fact that HE personally would earn the local TV revenue, regardless of whether he still owned the team or not. In effect, they bribed not the team, but the OWNER to move.

The Senators 2.0 were bought out by Bob Short in 1968, who planned all along to move the team to Texas.

Short’s purchase of the Senators and his subsequent moving of them to Texas is eerily similar to Jeffrey Loria’s purchase and dismantling of the Montreal Expos. Short, like Loria, bought his team with promises of supporting it and building a strong franchise, but in fact it was later revealed that he planned to break it up and move it. The Senators under Short’s ownership raised ticket prices to ridiculous levels, lowering attendance and allowing the Sens to get out of their lease.

The ultimate goal, of course, was to get a sweetheart stadium deal in Arlington at taxpayer expense. Just like almost every other modern franchise move in pro sports.

RickJay’s got the basics down. I’ll add some detailed cites.

From http://www.geocities.com/cyberclopedia4/al/wastex/senators61.html :

From http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/archives/cheap/2001/cheap0921.html :

From http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/features/2001/0112.perry.html :

From the same article, a chilling quote from former Senators owner and then-Twins owner Calvin Griffith:

Not necessarily relevant to Bob Short moving from Washington, but perhaps racism was then an underlying current in the motivation to move.

Also, from http://www.coopercrier.com/2001/sports/10/11/cckuhn.html :

**(Former MLB commissioner Bowie Kuhn) grew up an avid Washington Senators fan. Kuhn admitted he held up approval of the Senators’ move from Washington to Texas in 1972 for three months in hopes of buyer would emerge to keep the team in Washington.

Its interesting to compare what were considered outrageous ticket baseball prices back in the early 1970’s with today’s. We tend to forget about inflation and how $2.25 per ticket to the upper deck was a lot of money back then.

One of the things Organized Baseball does well is blame the fans when a team wants to move. OB says “The community doesn’t support us.” It never says, “The team couldn’t beat a bunch of sick nuns, the beer prices are too high and we never clean the restrooms, so it is a wonder anyone pays good money to come our games at all.”

They moved simply because “misery loves company.” :slight_smile:

And I watched those bums in 61-62-63.

Spent the nights of my Junior and Senior proms there.

Watching Ryne Duren strike out four guys in one inning sticks in my memory. And Piersall make an impossible catch.

Four guys in one inning?


He was fast, but OH! was he wild. He was an alcoholic to boot. PItched many a time when he was drunk.

Think wild. Runner gets to first on third strike which was either a wild pitch or a passed ball. But dies on base when other batters strike out.

Same reason the St. Louis Browns, Brooklyn Dodgers, New York Giants and the Boston Braves moved. The weather. :stuck_out_tongue:

“If you build it, they will come…”. A big reason is that a new stadium was built in the cornfields in Bloomington, MN in an attempt to attrack professional sports to Minnesota. Met Stadium succeded in bringing Vikings (American) football and Twins baseball. The Met Stadium site is now the Mall of America (with the site of home plate marked with a plaque in Camp Snoopy).