Los Angeles Angel Steve Bilko in 1957, their last year before the Dodgers arrived from Brooklyn.
For those unfamiliar with the history of Los Angeles professional baseball before the Dodgers arrived, Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Harvey has this article about the old L.A. Angels and Hollywood Stars.
Here’s an idea for Arte Moreno’s marketing people:
The Angels even had a greeter, the late columnist Matt Weinstock wrote:
“A jovial fellow in a baseball uniform rode a horse slowly through the downtown streets, Main, Spring, Broadway, waving at friends and occasionally blowing a bugle call by way of announcing the baseball game at 2 p.m.”
Sports Hollywood has this excellent article on the old L.A. Angels with plenty of photos.
The above photo is of Angels slugger Steve Bilko in 1957, the last year the Angels operated before the Dodgers arrived from Brooklyn. I’ve always got a kick out of the uniform, with the racing stripes around the shoulders. They remind me of Roller Derby uniforms.
Not covered in Harvey’s article is what happened to the PCL Angels once the Dodgers arrived. The Angels franchise was owned by Philip K. Wrigley, who also owned the Chicago Cubs. To move to L.A., Dodgers owner Walter O’Malley had to acquire the territorial rights. As part of the deal, the Dodgers acquired the PCL Angels franchise, while the Cubs got the Dodgers’ affiliation with the Ft. Worth Cats in the Texas League.
When the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles for the 1958 season, the PCL franchise moved to Spokane, Washington as the Dodgers’ Triple-A affiliate. The franchise is now the Las Vegas 51s, which just ended a long affiliation with the Dodgers.
We’re quite happy with our Salt Lake affiliation, but if that ever changes I’d like to see the Angels affiliate with Las Vegas, just to bring the whole “L.A. Angels” connection full-circle.