Angels hire new GM, September 24, 1968
Walsh named Angel general manager
'I think that the sun will be shining very soon in Anaheim.' -- Bill Rigney, Angel field manager
Peggy Fleming at the Fabulous Forum!
The first time the Angels looked to the Dodgers for new leadership, it didn't work out too well.
Dick Walsh had a long career with the Dodgers and was a key executive during the team's early years in Los Angeles. He was commissioner of the North American Soccer League when the Angels hired him to replace the team's original general manager, Fred Haney.
"In Dick Walsh we have acquired one of the bright young minds in baseball," team president Robert Reynolds told The Times' Ross Newhan. "We are happy that he is returning to his first love."
Walsh looked like a perfect choice. He was only 43, had run a professional sports league and had baseball experience with a winning franchise.
"I will not trade just for the sake of making a trade," Walsh told Newhan. "As for the future, I think the Angels' basic need is in the area of hitting. Jim Fregosi and Rick Reichardt give us a nucleus and we must build on that."
The Times' story on Walsh's hiring included the news that Manager Bill Rigney signed a new two-year contract. "I think that the sun will be shining very soon in Anaheim," Rigney said.
A few days later, The Times had a small story on the Angels signing another former Dodger employee, Harold (Lefty) Phillips as director of player personnel. He would replace Rigney and become the Angels' second manager early in the 1969 season.
The Walsh/Phillips era in Anaheim was short and not so sweet.
Walsh made several trades, the biggest involving Alex Johnson, Tony Conigliaro, Sandy Alomar and Ken McMullen. Johnson won a batting title with the Angels but seemed to be in constant trouble. Conigliaro, a star with the Red Sox who was severely injured when he was beaned by the Angels' Jack Hamilton, didn't even last a season in Anaheim. Alomar cost the Angels popular second baseman Bobby Knoop, but Alomar was a solid player and younger and faster than Knoop. McMullen had one solid season for the Angels, but was traded to the Dodgers after the 1972 season in a huge deal that involved Frank Robinson, Andy Messersmith and Bobby Valentine among others.
Walsh was fired by the Angels in the fall of 1971. Phillips had already been let go. "There were so many different things," Gene Autry told The Times in a story that ran Oct. 21. "It wasn't the trades he made. Anybody could come up bad on trades. But for the good of the team and the morale of the team and the employees, we had to make a change."