Member-supported news for Southern California
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Support for KPCC comes from:

The 50th anniversary to Angel Stadium of Anaheim

Ways to Subscribe

Angel Stadium used to be surrounded by agricultural communities; now, the ballpark reflects the rapid evolution of the OC as a bustling suburb of LA.

50 years ago today, Angel Stadium of Anaheim was officially opened.

Since then it's gone through two name changes, hosted three all-star games and has been known for having a nice big "A" just outside of the park -- As you can imagine, Take Two's A Martinez is quite partial to the landmark.

Nathan Masters is a historian at the USC Libraries and the host of "Lost LA" on KCET which tells the story of forgotten parts of Los Angeles history.

He joined Martinez in studio to discuss Angel Stadium of Anaheim on its 50th anniversary.

The Angels actually used to share Dodgers Stadium -- referred to as Chaves Ravine Stadium for the Angels's home games. This was not an ideal situation for them, says Masters.

"They were essentially second class citizens there. They were paying rent to the Dodgers."

In addition to that, Dodgers Stadium was designed to emphasize the strengths of the Dodgers: Spacious foul territory to make things easy for ace pitcher Sandy Koufax and with speedy infielder Maury Wills. That meant the Angels weren't put into a position to win in their own supposed home games.

As they looked for a new home, the Angels considered many places. 

"Long Beach almost secured the Angels," Masters says. "But they insisted that the Angels rename themselves the 'Long Beach Angels.' [The team] didn't want that. They looked to Orange County and the city of Anaheim was fine with the name 'California Angels,' so they moved there."

When ground was finally broken for what would become Angel Stadium of Anaheim, its surroundings were very barren. Orange County was mainly known for agriculture: cornfields, orange groves and berry farms.

But Masters says that stadium signified a rapid development for the OC, along with a few other developments.

"Soon came the Santa Anna freeway, the opening of Disneyland. All of a sudden, Orange County was this major suburb of Los Angeles. The Stadium's construction kind of reflected the fact that Orange County had arrived."

After securing countless memories for Southern California baseball fans, it's hard to think of the Angels anywhere else. But there are still other nearby cities that are trying to lure the Angels away from their 50-year-old home. So will the Angels remain at the Big A for another half a century?

"As a native son of Anaheim, I kind of hope that it does!" Masters says. "I know that renovations will have to be made, but I hope they keep [Angel Stadium]."

To hear the full conversation, click the blue player above.

Stay Connected