Jackson: The little ballpark that could: Wrigley Field in L.A.

From SABR member Frank Jackson at The Hardball Times on September 25, 2019:

Imagine a Los Angeles baseball fan falling into a coma in the summer of 1957. Four years later he wakes up to find out that his hometown, a longtime minor league stronghold, now has two major league baseball teams, yet neither plays at a “major league” ballpark. Oh, but the Los Angeles Angels are still around! How’s that for a disorientation session?

The Dodgers’ flight from Brooklyn to L.A. has been well chronicled, as has their four-year tenure at the football-oriented Los Angeles Coliseum starting in 1958. Not so much has been written about the major league Angels’ first ballpark. In contrast to the Dodgers, they played at a baseball-only park, but they and their ballpark got no respect their initial year, 1961. The Angels (and Senators) were the first-ever expansion teams in major league baseball so they were in uncharted waters. The pundits were not expecting much, but while the Angels weren’t world-beaters, they were not doormats.

The major league Angels’ first home, Wrigley Field, was the previous home of the Pacific Coast League Angels. That Wrigley Field was built in 1925 expressly for the Angels, a charter member (1903) of the PCL. The franchise had been purchased for $150,000 by chewing gum honcho William Wrigley Jr. in 1921 but he could not persuade the city to let him install underground parking (possibly because of earthquakes?) at Washington Park, the team’s previous home located at South Main and West Washington (downtown LA today).

Read the full article here: https://tht.fangraphs.com/the-little-ballpark-that-could/

Originally published: October 2, 2019. Last Updated: October 2, 2019.