Submitted by BTGrimes on Fri, 04/11/2014 - 10:00am
Wish You Were Here
BALTIMORE, MARYLAND | APRIL 11, 1961 - The Los Angeles Angels looked anything but like an expansion team in their first game on this date in 1961. Slugging first baseman Ted Kluszewski hit two home runs and Eli Grba threw a complete game as the Angels beat the Baltimore Orioles 7 to 2 in Baltimore.
It wasn't a fluke. The Angels were the most successful first year expansion team in baseball history. They won 70 games and did not come in last place -- no small task. In fact, the Angels not only finished ahead of the expansion Washington Senators (today's Texas Rangers), they finished ahead of the established Kansas City A's (today's Oakland A's).
Remarkably, the Angels contended for the American League pennant in their second season - 1962. They were in first place on July 4th and finished in 3rd (this is before the American and National Leagues were divided into divisions), ten games behind the New York Yankees.
The Angels played their home games that inaugural season at Los Angeles' Wrigley Field. Yes, P.K. Wrigley built a replica of the Chicago Cubs ballpark in Los Angeles years earlier for a minor league team. The Angels became a tenant of Dodger Stadium in 1962, which they referred to as Chavez Ravine. They built their own stadium in Anaheim in 1966 and became the California Angels.
Answers to yesterday's stadiums question
This baseball history story about the Los Angeles Angels is brought to you by TODAY in BASEBALL.
Submitted by BTGrimes on Thu, 04/10/2014 - 10:00am
This Bud's not for you
ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI | APRIL 10, 1953 - Baseball Commissioner Ford Frick was not amused that the St. Louis Cardinals wanted to name their ballpark after a beer. On this date in 1953 the Cardinals got the hint and backed off. The ballpark they bought from the St. Louis Browns the day before was not going to be called Budweiser Stadium. Instead it was called Busch Stadium.
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Submitted by BTGrimes on Wed, 04/09/2014 - 10:00am
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS | APRIL 9, 1993 - Bo Jackson had a flair for the dramatic to the point of being unbelievable. On opening day in 1993, on his first swing, after recovering from a football injury many thought would end his sports playing days, he hit a home run.
On January 13, 1991 Jackson injured his hip playing in an NFL playoff game. It caused a deteriorating hip condition. The hip had to be replaced. His football career was over, but Jackson said he would return to major league baseball, a promise doctors thought was highly unlilkely. Bo knew.
His 1993 comeback became complete later that season when he hit another dramatic home to the clinch the Western Division. When first hit eyewitnesses thought the towering popup may be caught by the shortstop in short left, but it kept carrying. The left fielder would certainly catch it, if it ever came down. The ball hung in the air. Seattle left fielder Brian Turang seemed to wander along the left field wall for minutes, until the ball game down in the bleachers.
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Submitted by BTGrimes on Tue, 04/08/2014 - 9:00am
Happy Birthday, Sam.
Move over Babe
Year Player HRs
Lip Pike, Levi Meyerle and Fred Treacey set the first recorded career home run record with 4 in 1871.
The term "home run" was originally a descriptive one. In the early days of baseball, fences were generally farther out than they are today, so hitting a ball over the fence was rare. Inside-the-park home runs were more common because outfielders had more ground to cover. The batter had to literally run home before being tagged out to hit a "home run."
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Submitted by BTGrimes on Mon, 04/07/2014 - 10:00am
The screen monster
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA | APRIL 7, 1958 - Many football games have been played in stadiums built for baseball, but not too many baseball games have been played in stadiums built for football. What the Dodgers had to do to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum to prepare for this day, April 7, 1958, is a big reason why.
Before the transplanted Brooklyn Dodgers could play the first official major league game west of St. Louis they had to erect a 42-foot screen in left field because the foul pole was only 201 feet away - about the distance normally seen in slow pitch softball. Straight away left was only about 250 feet. On the other hand, because the Coliseum is rectangular straight away right was 440 feet from home.
This baseball history story about the Los Angeles Coliseum is brought to you by TODAY in BASEBALL.