Saturday, September 03, 2005

September 3rd, 1965

Los Angeles Angels Change Name

After all the--fairly ridiculous it seems to me--hullabaloo about the Angels' name change this off-season, it does seem worth nothing that a team which has played in three stadiums over the course of less than fifty years has managed to nonetheless have four different names.

The Angels franchise was born in 1961 as the Los Angeles Angels (and yes, if translated that does make them "The Angels Angels" but never mind) and played in Wrigley Field. No, no, the other Wrigley Field. Modeled after its more famous cousin in Chicago, this Wrigley Field actually had the name a year earlier, was built to house the minor league Angels in the 20s who were also owned by Cubs' (and bubble gum) chief William Wrigley. Truth be told, it wasn't really a Major League stadium, holding fewer than twenty one thousand people and with power alleys measuring fewer than three hundred and fifty feet. So, after a year there, the Angels moved for the first time in this history to Chavez Ravine. This move took them seven miles and required no name changed.

The Angels shared Dodger Stadium with its namesake tenants for four seasons before making the second (and to this point last) move in their history. Their new home was Anaheim Stadium (which has itself had several names over the years) just about thirty miles and one name change from Dodger Stadium. So the record then, to this point the Angels had traveled a total of thirty-eight miles and had two different names, or a name per nineteen miles.

The team would remain the California Angels until 1996 when they were purchased by the Disney Company and renamed the Anaheim Angels, to better reflect the city in which they occupied. This brings the total to three names, thirty-eight miles or a name per twelve and two-thirds miles. It was as the Anaheim Angels that the team would be most successful, winning their only World Series (and
AL pennant) and making the playoff twice in an eight year run.

For the 2005 season however, the name once again changed, making them the Los Angeles of Anaheim. We'll see how long it lasts (the team and city are currently involved in some bizarre bit of litigation about it) but for now Anaheim holds what must be an all-time record, four names for a franchise that has traveled just thirty-eight miles in its history. That comes to a new name every nine and a half miles. It's a good thing the Boston-Milwaukee-Atlanta Braves didn't stick to such a standard; they might be on their 200th name by now.

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