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Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history

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Woman Loses Children Over Nude Photos; Angels Earn Most of Cubs' Income, January 29, 1949

1949_0129_pirates

A panel from "Terry and the Pirates," by George Wunder.
1949_0129_comics At left, The Times' comics page from 1949. Moon Mullins ... Li'l Abner ...  Brenda Starr ... Dick Tracy ... Orphan Annie ... but also Ella Cinders ... Napoleon ... Harold Teen ... Abby an' Slats ... And Nancy. Always Nancy.

Below left, Jeanne Shapiro pleads on her knees as a court awards custody of her children to her estranged husband, Arthur, a musician, after he introduces as evidence a picture of her in bed with another musician, Thomas Mace. "Mrs. Shapiro ... protested that she was a good mother and cited her work with children's groups," The Times said.
1949_0129_police

A woman sues General Hospital, accusing a doctor of brutality.
1949_0129_theater

MGM denies rumors that it plans to make "Brigadoon" with Gene Kelly.
 

1949_0129_sports There was nothing minor about the money made by Los Angeles Angels in 1949.

The Angels' profit was big enough to help the other team playing in a ballpark called Wrigley Field--the Chicago Cubs. A story in The Times from the Cubs' board of directors meeting tried to put the money in some perspective. Perhaps the paper was already starting to promote the idea of the major leagues should look toward California--or at least that the Pacific Coast League deserved major league status.

The Cubs earned $141,000, but $109,890 came from the Angels, who played in Los Angeles' Wrigley Field. Much of the Angels' profit had been spent to retire part of the corporation's stock, which left the minor leaguers $39,890 to work with in the coming season.

So permit a little bit of math here. According to the story, if you subtract the Angels' profit from the Cubs' overall profit, the big club had $39,110 for working capital. So the major league team and the minor league team ended up with about the same money? Granted the Cubs were dreadful in 1948. But the Angels obviously were a major help to Chicago's bottom line.

Or as The Times' story concluded, "There's your argument, fellas. Is the Angel team big league or minor?"

Wonder if Walter O'Malley was already taking notes.

--Keith Thursby

 
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Comments (3)

"There was nothing minor about the money made by Los Angeles Angels in 1949."

The question it raises is why it took major league baseball so long to expand to California.

The NFL had been in Los Angeles and San Francisco since 1946. Why did it take until 1958 for Major League Baseball to make the same move? Was the West Coast the territory of a minor league?


The Cubs, in fact, owned the baseball rights to Los Angeles. Famously, the Cubs traded those rights away for a handful of magic beans, more or less, and even more ironically, at the hands of an ex-Dodger, Wid Matthews, who had come to return the Cubs to glory. Branch Rickey, who knew a thing or two about unloading your worst performers with a smile and a glowing recommendation onto your rivals. I wrote a brief bit about this in a review of Glenn Stout's 2008 history, "The Cubs":

http://6-4-2.blogspot.com/2008/06/book-review-glenn-stouts-dodgers-and.html

The Cubs got the baseball rights to Fort Worth, Texas in exchange for ceding the Los Angeles territory to the Dodgers.

I think the problem with expanding baseball west of the Mississippi was technological: transcontinental flights in DC-3's took something like 12-16 hours--and not yet nearly as reliable as trains and could accommodate only about two dozen people per flight. Football could manage it since they didn't play nearly every day--presumably, they could even take train, perhaps. But that was a more serious problem for baseball.

So, without the jet age, no baseball on West Coast. At least that's what I'd been told anyways.


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