Left to right: Dan Ardell and Tom Satriano watch as Angels farm director Roland Hemond adds their names to the Angels’ roster in late 1961.
Dan Ardell, a USC alum signed in 1961 by the Angels, loaned me the above photo of him and Tom Satriano when they were called up at the end of that year. Roland Hemond, who was the farm and scouting director, is on the right.
Windows Media Player required to listen to the interviews.
Paul Mosley with the Double-A El Paso Sun Kings in 1965 or 1966. Note the El Paso cap had a halo atop the crown as did the Angels’ cap of that era.
Paul Mosley was a pitcher in the Angels’ minor leagues from 1961 through 1966. He played at nearly every level in the system, starting with Class D Statesville in the Angels’ inaugural 1961 season. He passed through Quad Cities, San Jose, Tri-City, and El Paso, as well as attending the minor league spring training camps.
When my wife and I drove cross-country last May to move from California to Florida, Paul and his wife Betty Jo were gracious enough to let us stay overnight at their home near Houston. Paul loaned me the scrapbook he kept during his career; it’s helped to unearth much of the buried early history of the Angels’ minor leagues.
In 1963, minor league baseball restructured its classifications. Class B, Class C and Class D disappeared. The Angels had affiliates that year in Tri-City (Kennewick, Pasco and Richland in Washington state), San Jose and Quad Cities (Davenport and Bettendorf, Iowa, and Moline and Rock Island, Illinois). All three were reclassified as Class A. Mosley’s career took him through Quad Cities in 1962, San Jose in 1963 and Tri-City in 1964, which tells us how the three were prioritized within the organization. Before 1963, Quad Cities was Class D, San Jose was Class C and Tri-City was Class B. So now it makes sense.
Paul Mosley (right) at San Jose in 1963. Manager Red Marion (center) took the Bees to the California League title in 1962, the first time any Angels team won a pennant.
Paul’s scrapbook also helped me figure out a lot about where minor league spring training was based. It’s commonly known that the parent club’s camp was in Palm Springs. That site, the former Palm Springs Polo Grounds, was too small to host 100+ minor leaguers, so the Angels had to find other sites for the future Angels.
It was still common in the early 1960s for Triple-A affiliates to hold their camps separate from their parent clubs. An affiliation was far looser than today’s meaning. Triple-A teams were free to sign, trade and release their own players. “Affiliation” simply meant they got some players from a major league operation, otherwise they were as independent as today’s indy leagues.
In 1961, the Angels’ Triple-A affiliate was the Dallas-Ft. Worth Rangers. I wrote in November 2008 about the Rangers’ camp in Riverside at Evans Park near what is today Riverside Community College. The Rangers had both Angels and Phillies players. In 1962, the Rangers held camp at Amerige Park in Fullerton. DFW had players from the Angels, Phillies, Twins and a few from other organizations.
The Angels expanded from two minor league teams in 1961 to five in 1962, so they needed more than Amerige Park. They established a second Triple-A affiliation with the Hawaii Islanders, who were in San Bernardino at Fiscalini Field. Everyone else went to La Palma Park in Anaheim. Click here to watch a video of the 1962 minor league camp at La Palma Park.
The Rangers dumped the Angels for the Twins in 1963, so they left California and held camp in Florida. The Islanders, now the only Angels’ Triple-A team, camped at Amerige for 1963 while again everyone else went to La Palma Park.
Mosley’s scrapbook picks up the story in 1964.
|A poor condition pocket schedule for the 1964 Hawaii Islanders spring training schedule at South Jackson Park in Indio. The back shows games scheduled against the various Angels minor league squads as well as the parent club and local colleges.|
The Islanders held their 1964 camp at South Jackson Park in Indio. The above pocket schedule was in Paul’s scrapbook. It was once glued to a page, but I found it torn and loose. The front shows where they played. The back shows a schedule that included the Angels’ other minor league affiliates, the parent club, and games against college teams from Cal Poly Pomona and USC.
I also found a photo of Paul in an Islanders uniform. He was posing with two others.
Paul Mosley (left) with actor Henry Kulky and minor league infielder Charlie Strange.
In the above photo, Paul is on the left, and minor league infielder Charlie Strange is on the right. The man in the middle is actor Henry Kulky, perhaps best known for a role on Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. Kulky brought the oversized props; no idea where he got them. The photo shows you what the Islanders’ uniforms looked like.
Most fans recall the Angels had a presence in Holtville for many years. That began in 1966, but before the complex was complete they spent an interim spring in 1965 split between El Centro and Brawley.
The Angels bought the Triple-A Seattle Rainiers franchise in the Pacific Coast League and renamed it the Seattle Angels. (Hawaii switched their affiliation to the Washington Senators.) This photo from the El Centro newspaper shows the Seattle team at Stark Field in El Centro sometime around early March 1965:
The 1965 Seattle Angels at El Centro’s Stark Field.
An article in the El Centro paper noted that Seattle manager Bob Lemon arrived late in El Centro, “upon his return from a 14-game tour of Mexico with half of the split Angel squad.” Yikes! That would never happen today.
The scrapbook also had a copy of a 1965 Angels minor league spring training program, a rather unique item:
Click on the image to view an Adobe Acrobat version of the program. Acrobat Reader required.
One side of this folded program is still glued to the scrapbook, so I couldn’t remove it, but I scanned the rest and used Adobe PhotoShop to reassemble it into a digital document. Click on the above image to download the file. You need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the document.
Games and workouts were split between Stark Field in El Centro and Lions Field in Brawley. At the bottom of the program’s front page it states in small print, “Other clubs will have extensive workouts daily, and games before or after various instructional drills. Fans are welcome.” The schedule shows that the parent club came down from Palm Springs to play the Triple-A Seattle squad in two games at Brawley and two games at El Centro.
Mosley spent his last two seasons with the Double-A El Paso Sun Kings in the Double-A Texas League. Many of his contemporaries went on to the big leagues. One was Clyde Wright. I found a clipping he saved of a report in the El Paso paper about Wright’s first major league win:
Other names you might recognize include Tom Burgmeier, Jay Johnstone, Winston Llenas, Rudy May, Marty Pattin, and Jim Spencer. Another was John Olerud, the father of the future Toronto Blue Jays and Seattle Mariners first baseman by the same name.
I also found this clip reporting on a 1965 game between the Sun Kings and the Tulsa Oilers:
It appears that the 1965 El Paso caps had an “EP” on them, but when I look at the team photos for 1965 and 1966 it’s just an “E” as in the photo of Paul at the top of this column. It’s neat, though, to see the halo on the crown of the cap. I wish the Angels would bring that back, even if just for an alternate jersey.
The El Paso manager was Chuck Tanner, who later went on to fame as the manager of the world champion 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates. The Angels had some serious managing talent in the system. Triple-A manager Bob Lemon managed the New York Yankees to a World Series, and is now in the Hall of Fame. So is Joe Gordon, who was a minor league hitting instructor, manager and scout for the Angels in the 1960s.
Mosley was sold after the 1966 season to the Kansas City Athletics. He received this letter from the A’s assistant general manager:
Click on the image to view an Adober Acrobat version of the letter.
Paul told me that he decided to retire rather than move on to another organization.
In April 2007, a colleague of Paul’s found articles I’d written about the Statesville Owls and contacted me to let me know his buddy was one of the players. I recorded an interview with Paul; click here to listen to the interview. (Windows Media Player required.). He was the first Owls player I found. Since then, we’ve tracked down about ten more, and held a reunion last September. More reunions of the 1960s Angels minor leaguers are being planned.
Thanks to Paul, and his colleague, we found the first one. But he won’t be the last.
Steve Hill, the collector who sent along the photos of Statesville Stadium, e-mailed the below scan of a March 1961 letter sent by Angels farm director Roland Hemond.
George Trautman was the president of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues from 1947 until his death in 1963.
The Angels had two minor league affiliates in 1961 — a Triple-A team in Dallas-Ft. Worth, and a Class D team in Statesville.
The letter indicates a $3,000 check was being sent to the NAPBL to cover $1,500 owed D-FW for their working agreement, and another $1,500 owed D-FW for spring training costs.
I can understand the spring training costs, because back then Dallas-Ft. Worth held its own independent spring training. Their 1961 spring training camp was in Riverside, as I documented in December 2008. Any Statesville players under contract probably went to Riverside before reporting to Statesville.
Why Statesville would owe D-FW $1,500 for a working agreement is beyond me. I’ve sent the document to Roland. Perhaps he can explain.
Paul Mosley (left) signed with the Angels in 1961. He played six seasons in the Angels minor leagues.
I’ve been off-line blogwise for a couple days while travelling. We’re currently in Metairie, a New Orleans suburb.
We spent Sunday night at the home of Paul and Betty Jo Mosley. Paul signed with the Angels in 1961 out of William S. Hart High School in Saugus. Roland Hemond, who was the Angels’ farm and scouting director, signed him along with head scout Rosey Gilhousen.
Click Here to listen to an April 2007 interview with Paul. Windows Media Player required.
Mosley was assigned to the Statesville Owls in the Western Carolina League. He would go on to play at every level in the system — Triple-A Hawaii, Double-A El Paso, Advanced-A San Jose, Class-A Tri-Cities.
Paul and Betty Jo produced scrapbooks from his career. What a treasure trove! Once I get to Florida and the moving van arrives with my scanner, I’ll start digitizing these articles to post online.
The scrapbook solved one mystery. I’ve been identifying where the Angels held their minor league spring training camps in the early 1960s. If you’ve followed this blog, you know they were in Riverside in 1961. In 1962, the Triple-A team was at Amerige Park in Fullerton while everyone else was at La Palma Park in Anaheim. The Angels remained at La Palma through 1964.
The Angels began play in the legendary Holtville camp in 1966, where they remained through 1981. 1965, though, was a bit of a mystery. The 1965 Angels Media Guide said “El Centro” but didn’t say where.
Paul’s scrapbook had a minor league spring training schedule for 1965. It showed that they split time between two facilities, Stark Field in El Centro and Lions Field in Brawley. Exhibition games were played at both sites.
By coincidence, I got a phone call yesterday while on the road from Bob Andrews, the man who worked with Roland Hemond to bring the Angels to the Imperial Valley. He said that El Centro/Brawley was an interim solution until the Holtville site could be built.
Mr. Andrews also explained why the Angels left Holtville. The Angels didn’t pay one penny for Holtville construction or maintenance. It was all paid for by the locals. As the facility aged, it was beyond the ability of Holtville to pay for renovation. They asked the Angels to help, but they refused. Bob said it got pretty ugly towards the end. Someone made up T-shirts that read, “Angels go home!” Instead, they went to Casa Grande.
Inside the scrapbook were box scores from several of Paul’s games. I noted one in which he pitched against an Athletics team. Future manager Tony LaRussa led off and played second base. (It was an oh-fer night for LaRussa.) There was also a roster sheet for a 1966 game between the El Paso Sun Kings and the Albuquerque Dodgers. Clyde Wright was one of Paul’s teammates, as well as Jim Spencer, Jay Johnstone and Winston Llenas. Tom Sommers, who would go on to succeed Roland Hemond as the farm director, was an infielder. On the Albuquerque roster was future Dodgers outfielder Willie Crawford. Other future big leaguers I recognize were pitcher Mike Kekich, first baseman Tom Hutton, and outfielder Jim Fairey. Also on the roster was catcher Mike Stubbins, who would later manage in the Angels system.
Paul retired after the 1966 season. He was sold to the Kansas City Athletics. He showed me a letter he received in December 1966 welcoming him to the A’s organization. “You will be receiving your contract early in February and soon after that reporting instructions and the date which you are to arrive at our spring training headquarters in Waycross, Georgia.” It was signed by assistant general manager Eddie Robinson. Paul decided he’d had enough, and retired.
Back on the road in a couple hours. The target is Tallahassee, Florida in the Panhandle. We might see another baseball friend if the schedule permits. Tomorrow is the final leg of the journey, arriving in Cape Canaveral. As my wife pointed out, “We’re heading home.”
One nice serendipity of this trip is that we’ve visited my ancestral homelands. My father was born and raised in El Centro. My mother is from New Orleans. So we’ve passed through both towns. And then it’s on to my future, which is to write a book about the history of the future Angels, past and present.
“It ain’t over ’til it’s over.”
— Philosopher Yogi Berra
The Statesville Owls played their home opener on May 3, 1961, against the Lexington Indians. Statesville won handily, 11-6, but the game would turn out to be pivotal months later when post-season matchups were on the line.
Well, another baseball season was opened here last night — amid more confusion and errors than anything else.
With the bases loaded in the top of the fourth frame, Lexington Manager Jack Hale charged plate umpire Jim Centineo on a called strike when Larry Hatchell swung — and missed — on a wide pitch by Gail Thomas. THe pitch hit Hatchell.
It was the first rhubarb here this season — and set the stage for a night of questions on playing tactics.
At the start of the Owls’ half of the fourth, Hale told Centineo he was playing the game under protest. Hale’s point was that any one of five Statesville players — and he named them as Frank Cofone, Gail Thomas, John Couch, George Wilson or Peter Curtis — was ineligible. Hale’s protest was lodged in connection with the WCL player rule for veterans.
The rule allows a club to have two veterans and two limited service, one veteran and three limited or four limited in the “four-player class rule.”
At the start of the fifth inning, Wilson countered with a protest that any one of seven Lexington players — he did not name them — was ineligible under the same rule.
At the start of the ninth, Wilson withdrew his first protest and lodged another — that Lexington’s third pitcher, Bill Barr, was not listed as a pitcher on the lineup cards exchanged in pre-game ceremonies. Wilson charged that anyone eligible to pitch had to be listed.
Wilson said, since the Owls had won the game, that he did not plan to file the written protest to the league office, accompanied by the $25 protest fee.
But Hale was firm in his stand and planned to get his off to League President John H. Moss today.
The Owls got off to a 9-0 start, and as the days passed the protest was quickly forgotten.
Until May 30.
Lexington was due in town to play a doubleheader against the Owls on May 31. The day before, Statesville owner Fleete McCurdy received a telegram from Western Carolina League president John Henry Moss informing him that Lexington’s protest had been upheld, slicing a game off the Owls’ first-place lead.
Sportswriter Jerry Josey, who was also the Owls’ official scorer, wrote about the telegram in his “From the Press Box” column. He quoted the documentation he filed with the Howe News Bureau, which was the official statistician for the league.
Josey wrote in his column:
Hale’s protest was that “any one of five” was ineligible. None of the five, at the present time, was ineligible. To me, it’s the same situation of quoting a wrong rule on a protest play and then having the protest thrown out because the rule was not applicable to the situation.
If the bylaws and constitution of the Western Carolina League, we do not have a copy but the club has one, are to be obeyed in strictness, we venture this question to President Moss:
Why did you not rule on this matter in accordance with the Western Carolina League bylaws and constitution?
In the bylaws, article five, section three and paragraph b are these words: “The President shall render a decision on all protests within five days after the game has been played upon which the protest is made.
That game was played on May 3rd.
The protest was allowed via telegram on May 30th!
There are, the elementary school students will easily know, many more than five days within that span!
The next day, on May 31, Statesville played their twinbill against Lexington. As I wrote on December 20, there was a massive brawl on the field during Game #1. During the brawl, Owls’ ace pitcher Walter Darton fell back on the mound and tore the ligaments in his pitching elbow, effectively ending his career. A drunken fan ran on the field during the melee and took a swing at one of the umpires.
Needless to say, Statesville and Lexington didn’t like each other much at this point.
Statesville won the first half of the split-season schedule. In the playoffs, they were assigned to play Lexington in a best-of-three series — and lost, 2-0.
If the Owls’ May 3 win hadn’t been forfeited, they would have finished the year with an overall record of 64-38, tying them with Salisbury for the overall best record. Statesville might have then played Shelby, which had a slightly worse record than Lexington, in the first round.
Jerry Josey wrote after the season:
Statesville could have lost more than a game on that mixup on eligibility. It occurred for five games, but only one protest was filed. It could have been worse than it was, but we’ll not argue about it.
We said then and we’ll repeat that stand that the protest, as lodged, didn’t have a leg to stand on. But the ineligibility question of the other games did have, and it now appears that Statesville may have escaped rather lightly on the infraction of the WCL’s bylaws and constitution concerning the veteran player limit.
Yet another example of the chaos that typified that first year of Angels minor league baseball.
Matt McCarthy pitched with the Provo Angels in 2002. His book “Odd Man Out” will be released by Penguin Group on February 19.
I came across a listing on the Barnes & Noble web site that former Provo Angels pitcher Matt McCarthy has a book coming out on February 19 titled Odd Man Out: A Year on the Mound with a Minor League Misfit.
According to the summary, the book will reveal “inside-the-locker-room tales of teammates who would go on to stardom, including Bobby Jenks, Joe Saunders, and Ervin Santana.” It promises to expose “dirty truths of the minors: the Americans and Dominicans don’t speak to each other, the allure of steroids is ever present, and everyone puts his own stats ahead of the team’s success.”
I’ll withhold judgment until I read the book, but the claims that “Americans and Dominicans don’t speak to each other” and “everyone puts his own stats ahead of the team’s success” simply aren’t true, from my eleven years of observation.
Original future Angel Glade Cookus passed away on December 15 in Visalia.
Jack Hiatt just called to inform me that original future Angel Glade Cookus passed away in Visalia on December 15. Cookus was 66.
Glade was one of the “first four” Angels prospects sent to Statesville in April 1961. The other three were Hiatt, Dick Simpson and George Conrad. All were signed out of the Los Angeles area.
Cookus was in the lineup for the Owls’ first game of the 1961 season, playing shortstop. He hit only .264 that year and left baseball the next spring.
I spoke with Glade last April about our project to reunite the surviving Statesville Owls. He said he was too ill but did ask that I put him in touch with Jack Hiatt. Jack called him and spent about 90 minutes with him. Jack then called me and said that Glade had cancer and was undergoing chemotherapy. It didn’t look good, but we were able to fulfill Glade’s one humble wish.
Of the “first four,” we believe that only Jack and Dick Simpson survive. George Conrad appears to have passed away in Washington state about ten years ago.
Glade’s passing reminds us of the urgency to find his teammates while there’s still time to reunite. I found Walter Darton last week, and last night found Alan Flitcraft in Arizona. More on Alan later. But the news about Glade saddens the joy in finding two more of the original future Angels.