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The Ghosts of Wrigley Field, January 24, 1969

January 24, 2009 |  6:00 am
Photograph by Hal Moulin / Los Angeles Times

Wrigley Field, Oct. 3, 1944, as the San Francisco Seals defeat the L.A. Angels.

"Roadside Baseball" looks
at Wrigley Field

John Hall wrote a couple of columns bidding farewell to Los Angeles' Wrigley Field.

"It was another time, another place. It was Wrigley Field, 1925-1969, may it rest in peace. The demolition crews are at work and the creaky old place at 42nd and Avalon will soon be nothing but a vacant lot, " Hall wrote.

Wrigley Field had been home to the minor league Angels and for a year the expansion major league Angels. There were memorable brawls with their crosstown rivals, the Hollywood Stars, who also called Wrigley home for a few seasons early in the stadium's life. The ballpark also had been the site for prize fights, football games and countless other high-profile events.

A 1925 photo in The Times showed William Wrigley Jr. with his new ballpark being finished behind him. "There are several novel features ... Yes brothers, it's going to be some plant," The Times promised.

Movies such as "The Pride of the Yankees" were filmed there as was television's "Home Run Derby".

Then-Angels publicist George Goodale was the voice of Hall's Jan. 24 column, for good reason. Goodale worked for the Pacific Coast League Angels and "researched and recorded every game of note in Angel history dating back to 1903."

Among the memories: Wrigley Field was the first place all three DiMaggio brothers--Joe, Dom and Vince--played together on the same field, according to Goodale.

And there was a game the Angels lost to the Hollywood Stars. "My lowest ebb was the time the Stars had a 15-0 lead," Goodale told Hall. "[Fred] Haney was the Hollywood manager and he squeezed home the 16th run."


Photograph by Cal Montney / Los Angeles Times
Stanley Evans, left, and Kenneth Thompson visit Wrigley Field as it is being demolished, in a photo published March 21, 1969.

The Angels played there in 1961 and fittingly, a former minor league Angel star closed out the ballpark's season in the majors. Steve Bilko, who hit 56 home runs with the Angels in 1957, homered in the last home game of 1961.

"Now that thing called progress is taking it away for good," Hall wrote.

His Jan. 29 column focused on the plans for the area, which included a community health center that would "rise and breathe where the ivy on the ballpark fences once climbed and reached for the same sun."

--Keith Thursby