A Brief Angels and Dodgers FAQ Before the 2011 Freeway Series Continues at the Big A

 

Today marks the beginning of the final stretch of Interleague play this season. Love it or hate it, you learn a lot about the baseball cultures and traditions of teams from the other league during Interleague and knowledge is never a wasted thing. To that end, before the Angels and Dodgers take the field at the Big A this evening for the second half of the Freeway Series, I thought I would use my bi-baseball-cultural heritage (Dodgers fan childhood, Angels fan adulthood) to answer a few questions and clear up a few misconceptions about our two team’s shared histories in Southern California for the benefit of both fan bases.

First things’ first:

This is not a Dodgers cap.

And I don’t just mean this statement in the Magritte sense. This really is not a Dodgers cap, nor is it an “Angels Dodgers-look-alike” cap as some have called it. This is a replica of the original Angels cap, featuring our original interlocked L and A logo and a halo stitched into the top, a reminder of an era when, for better or worse, baseball uniforms were often a little more literal than they are today. Remember the nautical motif on the 1970s era Pittsburg Pirates cap and on short-lived Seattle Pilots caps and stirrup socks?

So, is it an ugly cap? Well, everyone is entitled to their opinion of course. I tend to think it’s so ugly, it’s completely awesome! But then again, you may have glanced around my blog and noted my subtle little bias.

 

Wait a minute! The Angels’ original logo was an interlocked L and A? What have the Angels ever had to do with Los Angeles and why were they copying the Dodgers? I have heard variations on this one from both sides of the fan divide as well. The Angels have played at the Big A in Anaheim since the 1966 season…but, from 1961 until 1966 they played in Los Angeles. Yes, Los Angeles. The first year at Los Angeles’ Wrigley Field and for the next four years at – if you’re one of the folks who didn’t know this already, this is going to trip you out even more than the concept of a Wrigley Field in Los Angeles – at Dodger Stadium.

No, Angels fans, it wasn’t our field first. It was always the Dodgers’ field. We just sort of couched surfed there for four seasons until we became established in our career and were able find our own digs. And, really, can you get any more Los Angeles than that? There were occasional issues between the Dodgers and Angels in those years, but they were merely baseball variations on the sort of small slights and annoyances known to housemates of convenience the world over. Hey, I’ll bet the Angels were much better housemates than a former housemate of mine, who shall forever be remembered in my circle of friends as the girl who actually said, with real annoyance in her voice and not the slightest trace of humor, I might add, “But I paid you rent last month.”

 

Okay, so the Angels do have a tie to Los Angeles, but what about that logo? The interlocked L and A isn’t a copy of the Dodgers logo. It was intended as a nod to the minor league Los Angeles Angels who were the first team to use an interlocked L and A logo and played at Los Angeles Wrigley Field in several incarnations for decades before the Dodgers moved to California. I suppose that one could argue that the Dodgers copied the logo from the minor league Angels, but it’s a little more complicated than that. O’Malley had bought the minor league Angels and moved the team to Spokane when the Dodgers moved out west. If I am reading the meandering history of this particular minor league franchise correctly, the original Los Angeles Angels turned Spokane Indians went through several more incarnations and are now the Tucson Padres. Regardless, it was too cool a logo to remain unused, so I commend the Dodgers for keeping it alive.

Bet the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim doesn’t sound so silly now does it? …Okay, actually, it still does. Terribly so. Really. Which brings me to our final question:

 

Okay, so what about that crazy name, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim? Well, if you were to tell me, biased though I am, that this mouthful of a name is kind of stupid, I would be inclined to agree with you. After all, we don’t refer to the A’s as the Philadelphia Athletics of Oakland by way of Kansas City, now do we? Once the Angels moved out of Los Angeles, the California Angels was my favorite name, though I liked the Anaheim Angels well enough too. Throwing in the Los Angeles was silly in my opinion, and the reason given for doing it – associating the team with a larger market – was even sillier. As we just discussed, the Angels have a legitimate historic tie to Los Angeles, and I for one am going to wear my awesomely ugly haloed LA hat with pride, but legitimacy doesn’t make the current name any less silly.

This concludes our brief, and hopefully entertaining, Angels and Dodgers history lesson. The game is about to begin. So go forth to the ballpark or get thee to the pub and enjoy one another’s company in spirited rivalry, safe in the knowledge that your heckling can now be every bit as accurate and knowledgeable as it is biting and sarcastic. And may the best Angels team win!!! Hey, my baseball heritage may be “bi-partisan’ but my adult loyalties are anything but.

14 Comments

I knew most of that, but had no idea that the former minor league Angels were now the Tucson Padres. The “first year” Tucson team takes the place of the Sidewinders, who now play in Reno.
It’s amusing that you and I have gone opposite directions as we’ve grown. It was about the time Christopher Lloyd and Tony Danza were associated with the franchise that I thought that greener grass was grown elsewhere. Salmon, Finley, and company lost a little intimidation when people started flapping their arms in the upper ring.
Without a doubt, this is the darkest time in Chavez Ravine history. It’s tempting to start looking elsewhere. I’m thinking maybe it’s time to pledge allegiance to the minor leagues. If you haven’t been, the O.C. Flyers return next year. You also have the R.C. Quakes.
Meanwhile, best of luck this weekend.

Hi Andy – Thanks for dropping by my blog and commenting! I figured you knew most of this as would many of my regular commenters, but a lot of Dodgers and Angels fans don’t know and I think the shared history is a lot of fun. Yeah, the L.A. Angels became a Dodgers affiliate as the Spokane Indians and then later after a few more moves the Portland Beavers which are now the Tucson Padres. I’ll have to read more about it. I love the convoluted nature of minor league histories. I would have lost respect for Disney imitating arm flapping fans too but I was rooting blue in those days. I wouldn’t give up on your Dodgers for good. Enjoy a long minor league vacation and hopefully things will clear up in a few years.

– Kristen

As a MiLB junkie, I was aware of the most successfull team in Minor League history…the Los Angeles Angels. I agree that the ‘California’ Angels moniker is the best, and my favorite. Probably because that’s what they were called when I was a kid.
–Mike
‘Minoring In Baseball’

Mike – I’m sure you could probably tell me lots of the history of the old PCL league I don’t even know – Los Angeles Angels, Hollywood Stars – I learned just enough from my grandpa to be intrigued enough to read a little more.

– Kristen

Thanks for the lesson! Having once lived in L.A., I found the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim moniker completely moronic. I don’t know how many times I had to tell people the Halos weren’t even in L.A. County. Second, I like those hats because they’re so ugly… and stupid. The other night on MLBN, Harold Reynolds (not the sharpest tool) said, “Hey, what’s on their hats. They got some weird thing on their hats.” The explanation was given to him but he was still having a hard time understanding that it was a halo. Perhaps the man doesn’t know what a halo is. (I wouldn’t be surprised.) And finally, the interlocking “L.A.” has become just as badass as the interlocking “N.Y.” and of course, the interlocking “S.T.L.” (the interlocking “S.F.” ain’t too shabby either).
–Jeff

Jeff – Exactly, they’re so ugly they’re awesome! Wow, not the sharpest tool indeed. I wonder how confused he gets when folks refer to the Angels as the Halos.

– Kristen

Great post. I was watching the game Friday night and the wife says, “What’s with the hats?” I tell her about them like it was something I always knew ;).

Russel – Thanks! And the story about your wife’s question made me laugh. Always pleased to be of service. :)

–Kristen

I kind of like the hat too. But then again I’m always one from throw backs, no matter how weird they look. I had no idea the history behind the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim name, I just thought it was the Angels trying to get Anaheim fans and L.A. fans. Personally I like the Anaheim Angels best. California Angels is odd because they are by no means the only team in Cali.

http://bluejaysnest.mlblogs.com/

Bluejaysnest – That’s part of why I like the hat too. Throwbacks are awesome! My understanding is that the market reason is why the front office chose to add L.A. to the name this time around, but the team does have legitimate historical to L.A. which keeps it from being as ridiculous as it could be…though it’s still pretty silly. I always figured they chose the California Angels because at the time, the Angels were the only baseball team born in California. The Dodgers, A’s and Giants all moved to California and the Padres didn’t come into existance until 1969.

– Kristen

The one thing I always had an Issue with was the name. I understand they’re trying to take advantage of the Los Angeles Market but I do think the Media is the blame thinking Los Angeles has two Baseball teams in my honest opinion

Thank you for dropping by my blog and commenting, Matthew. You know, honestly, I don’t like having L.A. back in the name either. The Angels were originally from Los Angeles, so the team does have a right to use the name, but that doesn’t mean they should use it. They aren’t in L.A. anymore and it just sounds really silly. I’d prefer to see the Angels go back to being the California Angels or even the Anaheim Angels and just whip the old L.A. unis out for special games, much like the Dodgers wear the Brooklyn unis for flashback games.

– Kristen

check the logo used buy los angeles high school baseball (circa 1938, maybe earlier too) and note the logo is identical to the hat shown above (the double bar style). so its roots are deeper than the minor league teams…just adding to the mix. (go blue!)

I did not know that, Mark! Too cool! I love trivia like this. Now I know that, as far as its relationship to the Angels, the interlocked L and A goes way back with the minor league Angels in the old PCL League but I don’t know to what year and it went through a couple of different mutations. I wonder which came frist, the high school logo or the minor league logo? Either way, cool story.

– Kristen

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