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Speaking of the Rangers

It wouldn’t be a baseball game in Arlington without Chuck Morgan on the call

If he’s said it once, he’s said it a thousand times: “It’s baseball time in Texas.”

And as that mellifluous greeting echoes softly around Globe Life Field, Chuck Morgan begins the soundtrack of a Texas Rangers baseball game. Even as players (and stadiums) have come and gone through the decades in Arlington, Morgan has been perched behind a microphone high in the press box as the stadium voice for the team.

It’s a job, but he freely admits he’s really just passionate about baseball, as he was as a kid in southern Illinois who dreamed about playing in the big leagues. But like most kids with such dreams, he ended up far off the base paths.

Instead, he found himself in Nashville, hosting an all-night radio show for truckers at country radio giant WSM-AM, home of the Grand Ole Opry, in the late 1970s. He welcomed country artists including Roy Acuff, Bill Monroe and Marty Robbins into the studio. On Saturday nights, he co-hosted the Opry and made a handful of appearances in cornfield sketches with George “Goober” Lindsey on the popular TV show Hee Haw.

“On my late-night radio show, I would have a Hee Haw week in both June and October,” Morgan says. “The producer of the show, Sam Lovullo, would come over with a special guest or two. After a couple years of doing this, Sam said, ‘Chuck, we have never had you on. Come over tomorrow. We will get you some overalls and put you in the cornfield with Goober.’ ”

But Morgan also found a baseball field in Nashville, where he spent three seasons as the public-address announcer for the minor league Sounds, 1978–80.

Chuck Morgan has been the stadium announcer for more than 3,000 Texas Rangers games.

Courtesy Texas Rangers

Morgan at what was originally called the Ballpark in Arlington, the Rangers’ second stadium in Texas.

Courtesy Texas Rangers

“While working for the Sounds, I met Larry Schmittou,” Chuck recalls. “He left to join the Texas Rangers as vice president of marketing. One day, he called and asked if I wanted to work in the big leagues.

“My love for baseball won.”

That was in 1983. Forty-one years later, many Texas Rangers fans have only ever known Morgan’s voice at Arlington’s ballparks (all three). There are no official records for major league baseball’s announcers, but according to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, it’s widely believed Morgan lays claim to the longest streak of games among current announcers, including the 2002 season he spent with the Kansas City Royals.

He has announced the starting lineups for more than 3,250 consecutive games, including one of the Rangers’ historic World Series wins last season en route to the franchise’s first championship. And he’ll add the 2024 MLB All-Star Game to that list when Arlington hosts the Midsummer Classic on July 16 for only the second time in history.

One of Morgan’s microphones—the one he used for his 3,000th straight game September 26, 2020—has a home in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.

In his country music radio days in Nashville, Morgan rubbed shoulders with, from left, stars Bill Monroe, Roy Acuff and Barbara Mandrell.

Courtesy Texas Rangers

These days, his official job title is executive vice president of game entertainment, promotions and production—a title that barely gets its arms around all that Morgan has brought to Rangers games over more than four decades.

“Basically, everything you see and hear when you come to Globe Life Field, I’m responsible for it,” he says.

Many of his ideas have become a cherished part of the ballpark experience, including his welcome at the beginning of each game.

“I’ve said, ‘It’s baseball time in Texas’ since the late 1990s to honor former Rangers broadcaster Mark Holtz, who passed away in 1997,” Morgan says of continuing Holtz’s greeting.

Long-time Rangers employees told Morgan about other team traditions, including the playing of the tune Cotton-Eyed Joe during the seventh-inning stretch. It’s still played today. His most-often imitated innovation might be the dot mascot races, which happen in the middle of the sixth inning.

“We’d done a simple black-and-white animation in Nashville,” Morgan says. “Later, Fort Worth Star-Telegram sportswriter Jim Reeves saw two lights chasing each other on the scoreboard at an Oklahoma City 89ers game. He suggested that I should do something like that. About a month later, in May of 1987, we had our first dot race in Arlington Stadium.”

Morgan during the Rangers’ World Series victory parade.

Courtesy Texas Rangers

Morgan visits with young fans in his booth at the stadium.

Courtesy Texas Rangers

Now Morgan’s voice is as much a part of a home game as any other Rangers tradition. His long-time colleague, Rangers radio play-by-play broadcaster Eric Nadel, thinks he knows why.

“He communicates tremendous passion without screaming at you the way many PA announcers do these days,” Nadel says. “His warmth as a person comes through loud and clear when you hear him, and his voice quality as a former radio star is second to none.”

That warmth likely soothed fans and players alike during the lean years, when the team wasn’t close to making the playoffs. That luck began to change in 1996, when they faced the New York Yankees in the franchise’s playoffs debut.

They lost that series in ’96, but 14 years later, they won their first American League pennant—beating the Yankees. Reaching the 2010 World Series was vindication—and sweet revenge—for the team, the fans and the front office, including Morgan.

“I had to temper my excitement because I had my job to do,” he says. “But like the fans, it was very emotional. And the crowd was so loud. It was a great feeling to know that the Rangers had won the AL championship and were going to their first World Series.”

The Rangers lost to the San Francisco Giants that year. They made it back to the World Series in 2011, only to suffer a gut-wrenching loss to the St. Louis Cardinals. That loss wasn’t laid to rest until last year. The Rangers beat the Arizona Diamondbacks—51 years after the franchise moved to Arlington from Washington in 1972—and won their first World Series, four games to one.

“I was in Arizona for Game 5, and it was one of the great experiences of my life,” Morgan says. “It doesn’t get any better than that.”

While Morgan and Ranger fans celebrated, the players were singing their favorite song from the amazing 2023 season—Creed’s Higher—in the beer- and champagne-soaked visiting clubhouse. Morgan might want to include it in his Globe Life Field playlist from time to time.

And how about one more song for the winners of the 2023 World Series?

We Are the Champions.

Morgan was inducted into the Rangers’ Hall of Fame in 2021.

Courtesy Texas Rangers