On October 17, as the Texas Rangers were smack-dab in the middle of the American League Championship Series, The News ran a very nice story about Charles Wangner, who, more than most, knew what it was like to be a long-suffering fan of the ballclub. Wangner, you see, had worked for the Rangers since before they were the Rangers: He was hired in 1961 to be the assistant treasurer of the expansion Washington Senators, who would move to Arlington following the '71 season.
Wangner would go on to work for the Rangers until 1996, when he retired as the club's chief financial officer. But he was at the Ballpark in Arlington on October 16, when the Rangers won their first-ever home playoff game -- that glorious 7-2 trouncing of the New York Yankees. Though in failing health, the 77-year-old -- and much of his family, many of whom had worked for the Rangers over the years -- returned to the ballpark for Game 4 of the World Series. "For someone who had been with this franchise from the beginning," say the Rangers today, "that was a dream come true."
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John Blake, the club's spokesman, just sent word: Wangner died last night. He was, says the brief statement, "instrumental in the franchise's transition from the Nation's Capitol to the Great Southwest." And: "He will be missed."