The Daily Mirror

Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history

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Autry Gets Angels!

  Dec. 7, 1960, Angeles


Dec. 7, 1960: The Angels were official.

Gene Autry's team would play in Wrigley Field instead of the Coliseum or Rose Bowl, apparently seeing the old minor league ballpark as a better financial deal even though there was room for only about 21,500 fans.

The Times continued to report that the team was expected to open the season at home against the Yankees. They actually opened at Baltimore.

A minor member of the Angels' ownership group was an interesting element to the story given O'Malley's opposition to another team in L.A.  Kenyon Brown had owned KCOP Channel 13, which campaigned against the Dodgers' bid to build a stadium in Chavez Ravine.  He was listed as part of the ownership group.

"O'Malley has studiously avoided any mention of Brown in discussions with the press about the 'acceptability' "of owners Autry and Bob Reynolds, Frank Finch reported in The Times.

Brown owned several local radio stations, which Finch speculated would make a nice nucleus for an Angel network. Of course, Autry's radio and television stations would carry the Angel games.

--Keith Thursby

  Dec. 7, 1960, Angels
Dec. 7, 1960, Angels

Dec. 7, 1960, Angels

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Comments (3)

The start of a sports era. Too bad Autry never lived to see his boys take a title.

Indeed Rob. But I sure wonder what would have happened if they started playing in the Coliseum, managed by Casey Stengel.

My great "what-if" for the Angels is: what if the suppressed Hank Greenberg/Bill Veeck ownership group *had* been the ones to own the team? The team would probably not have been on as sound a financial footing as it was with Autry; but they would also have been less eager to buy out any partners they brought on board, either. On the other hand, it's questionable whether the Dodgers would have shared their scouting data with the fledgling Angels, either, which would have affected the 1960 expansion draft. The '61 Angels finished 70-91, and the '62 team posted a winning 86-76 record, encouraging Autry's partners to demand their money back. Autry made them whole but at the expense of improving the team with amateur talent.


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