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Mayor Reelected, Angels Fire Manager

May 28, 2009 | 10:00 am

May 28, 1969, Yorty Wins
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Sam Yorty wins the mayor's race, but ...

May 30, 1973, Bradley Wins
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... loses to Tom Bradley in 1973 after a particularly dirty campaign.

May 28, 1969, Sports Looking back, it's easy to see why the Angels hired a former Dodger executive to run the team and he hired a former Dodger scout and coach as manager. The Angels were going nowhere fast in 1969, an expansion year when new weak teams should have allowed established clubs a little breathing room.

Instead, the Angels were dead last in their division and owners of a 10-game losing streak when General Manager Dick Walsh decided to end the Angel career of Bill Rigney, the only manager the franchise had known. Harold "Lefty" Phillips, who had been with the Dodgers for 17 seasons, replaced Rigney.

The Angels weren't the only team filled with Dodgers. The San Diego Padres were in their first season and were being built by longtime Dodger executive Buzzie Bavasi. He hired former Dodger coach Preston Gomez as manager and the coaching staff was sprinkled with ex-Dodgers.

Would the Dodgers make much of a difference in Anaheim? Here's how The Times' Ross Newhan put it: "On a bright, warm day in Anaheim, they changed managers for the sake of changing managers."

Rigney, whose roots were in the Giants' organization, had a long run for a manager of an expansion team. He was manager of the year in 1962, when the Angels flirted with a pennant and finished a remarkable third. After leaving the Angels, he managed in Minnesota and San Francisco.

Phillips said of Rigney: "He was a very sound manager. I'd say that 95 percent of the time I agreed with the way he did things. The other 5 percent you could go either way."

The Angels lost their last game with Rigney, 10-0, to Detroit. They won their debut with Phillips, beating Cleveland, 2-1.

--Keith Thursby