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June 2009

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Los Angeles Baseball

Written by , Posted in General

Reading the comments from some random Dodger fans on VFTB lately, I was reminded of a professional baseball game I attended in Los Angeles a while back.

It was 1956 and my dad (The World’s Greatest Living Cubs Fan) and two uncles took me to Wrigley Field in LA to watch the Los Angeles Angels play. I don’t remember but I’m told the Angels won that game.

Realizing (now) that Mr. Philip Knight Wrigley owned the Chicago Cubs and the Los Angeles Angels and both Wrigley Fields (Chicago and LA) and Santa Catalina Island (where the Cubs held their spring training at that time), it occurs to me that he could have moved the Cubs to LA. And if Mr. Wrigley had moved the Cubs to LA before Walter Alston moved his Brooklyn Dodgers there, my dad might have felt obligated to follow.

I might have grown up in Southern California and become a Valley Dude.

I asked my dad about that today. His first reaction was that he would not have followed the Cubs to LA. But I think that after an empty summer with no Cubs at Wrigley field (in Chicago), he might have reconsidered.

I am informed that in 1956 the LA Angels were a farm team of the Chicago Cubs, playing in the Pacific Coast League (a Triple A equivalent). I am further informed that, back then, with fewer major league teams (only 16), there were more minor league teams, especially Out West and Down South. I guess that means that the major league teams were mostly Up North and Back East.

My dad remembers that the catcher for the LA Angels that year (and that day) was brought up and caught for the Cubs in 1957. He can’t remember the player’s name. But my dad has the scorecard from that game in his basement. We’ll be looking at it together tomorrow.

The World’s Greatest Living Cubs Fan also reminds me that, since Mr. Wrigley had the minor league franchise in LA, he (and the Cubs) had 1st dibbs on moving to that market had they chosen to. My father thinks that Walter Alston and the Dodgers must have given Mr. Wrigley some considerable compensation for allowing the Brooklyn team to “invade” the Cubs’ territory. Hmmmmm.

By the way, I have attended games at Chavez Ravine and it doesn’t do anything for me.Waist Deep buy

The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond movie download

  • Mastrick

    Chavez Ravine is like bad sex. Better than none at all but not as good as the good stuff. People come to games late and leave early, outside of the lamer is there such a thing as a ‘rabid Dodgers fan?’ I know there used to be at Ebbets.

  • cap’n obvious

    For my feelings about Dodger baseball and Dodger fan, see last Thursday’s thread. For the record, my car looked great in the way to Vegas. Nice work Dodger Blue.

  • My guess for your former Angel catcher is Elvin Tappe, who spent some time with the Cubs in ’58 and possible later before becoming one of the coaches in the infamous College of Coaches. Good trivia: Elvin’s brother, I think his twin brother, was also in the Cub organization — as a pitcher.

    About the Dodger fans who trolled this site last weekend. I love to write in to compliment, to analyze, often to rant and vent my frustration. There is no way I would waste my time by going to a Cardinal or Met or Brewer web site and bother their fans. These people are not great fans and they are more interested in instigating hassles no matter the cost. A few Dodger fans wrote with some intelligence but most of the posters were an embarrassment to the Dodgers and to baseball. This game is above all that and so are its true fans.

  • Doc Raker

    What a great post, I love hearing about the history of the game. In reading the Joe Dimaggio Biography I learned a lot about the PCL in DiMaggio’s day, which was prior to the 58 you mentioned. The PCL was it’s own league back then, not affiliated with MLB at all. DiMaggio played for the SF Seals and I believe the PCL LA team back then was the LA Stars.

    Since I practice in Long Beach and have a small musuem of Cubs memoribilia in my office I often have patients tell me about when they would go to Wrigley Field in LA when they were young. Cool stories.

    Thanks for sharing.

  • Mastrick

    If I remember correctly there was an old Munsters episode filmed in LA’s Wrigley Field. Also it seems to me that old Wrigley was in a tough neighborhood too.

  • Mastrick

    Ironically I will be attending Pacific Coast League games tomorrow and Wednesday, both of them here in Nashville (Sounds vs. I-Cubs.) I’ll let you all know on how the Cubs look, they are a half game behind Nashville (Brewers AAA) but most of their better players are now in Chicago.

  • Doc Raker

    I believe LA Wrigley was in South Central Los Angeles. It wasn’t the Wrigleyville that we know for sure.

    I think the Angels played there for a year or two prior to moving to Anaheim when they entered the American league.

  • MJ

    I was at the Milton “blow up” game at Chavez vs. the Rockies. Just happened to be in LA for business and decided to knock that park off my list.

    Dodger dogs and the park were both overrated in my opinion. It was cool to at least visit the place of my first World Series memory, Kirk Gibson’s fist pumping homer.

  • cap’n obvious

    that horrible old black and white Home Run Derby TV show was shot at LA Wrigley. The host of that show kinda scared me.

  • Boy, I had a different take on the only good Home Run Derby show. They played innings, not just one guy hacking away. And the roster was really great players Aaron, Banks, Mantle — lots of great players. And while one player was at the plate, the other player was the color commentator. I taped some of those years ago and really love them. (Especially the Banks shows.) That old Wrigley Field was a strange empty ball park.

  • cap’n obvious

    The concept was much better, but the commentator was a weird dude. He actually died very shortly after the show went off the air. I think you can get the whole thing on DVD somewhere. That ballpark was odd, it was in what is a pretty rough area these days…about 10 blocks from the coliseum and southwest of USC. There are worse areas, but not many. I wouldn’t have wanted to have a house across 41st street back then, with Killabrew, etc. launching balls onto my roof during that show.

  • cubbiedude

    Rick Beato, you are so right; Tappe is the catcher’s name. My dad agrees that there might have been a brother in the picture, but neither of us came up with a first name. As an aside, Dick Drott is listed on the LA Angels’ roster that day (he didn’t pitch). Sammy Calderone was catching for Portland that day and I see his autograph on the scorecard.

    I’m looking at the scorecard right now. Budweiser Beer and Pabst Blue Ribbon were going for 35 cents. Lucky Lager and Eastside were a bargain at 25 cents.

    Doc Raker, I’m glad you enjoyed the post. The LA Angels and the Hollywood Stars (formerly the San Francisco Missions) both played in the Pacific Coast League in LA in 1956. The Stars played at Gilmore Field (near the Farmer’s Market). More to follow on that in a few days.