The history of the Los Angeles Angels actually began over 100 years ago within the Pacific Coast League. The Angels were a productive team until 1957, when the club moved up north to Spokane, Washington in anticipation of the Brooklyn Dodgers’ cross-country move. However, just several years later, in 1961, Gene Autry helped to bring an expansion franchise to LA, making the booming city home to two teams in Major League Baseball, and resurfacing the Angels brand!
The Los Angeles Angels would reside in the actual city until 1966, when they moved to Anaheim, California, sparking one of the greatest sports teams name debates in history. For 30 years, the team would use the name California Angels, until their host city demanded a change to Anaheim Angels to advertise the town. But in 2005, marketing directors chose to pursue a renaming to the Los Angeles Angels, considering the city’s far reach and appeal worldwide. With Anaheim in uproar over the proposed change, the city and club reached an agreement in the middle. Since 2005, the team has been known as the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim…
But as far as competitiveness, the Angels have been a respectable team throughout their recent history. The team began their play in the 60’s as a pretty below average team, which is normal for expansion franchises. However, some prominent players included Albie Pearson, Bo Belinsky, Dean Chance, and Steve Bilko.
In the 1970’s, the Angels were led by superstar pitcher Nolan Ryan, whose 5,714 strikeouts in his career still stands as the all-time record for a pitcher! Ryan helped Los Angeles reach their first postseason in 1979, though the team would fall short in the MLB playoffs.
The 1980’s saw one of the team’s most successful periods, though it would always end in disappointment. In both 1982 and 1986, the Angels took commanding leads in the ALCS (and were on the brink of a World Series appearance) but would go on to blow their leads and lose. 1986 was especially painful as the team was a single out away from victory before closer Donnie Moore gave up a terrible home run that started a frightening decline and comeback for the Boston Red Sox. Moore would actually take his own life several years later. During these years, the big name players included Reggie Jackson, Wally Joyner, and Chuck Finley.
The team would soon enter a period of sustained disappointment, despite being the subject of the 1994 classic film, Angels in the Outfield. But in the new millennium the Angels finally turned the corner. Helped by star players like John Lackey, Troy Glaus, and Francisco Rodriguez, they would earn the 2002 World Series and win the team’s first championship!
Since then the team has been quite competitive and has reached the postseason several more times. Under new owner Arte Moreno, the LA Angels have shown the determination to sign big-name players with World Series winning potential! With a roster that now features Albert Pujols, Mike Trout, C.J. Wilson, and Jered Weaver, the Angels certainly have the talent to win another title! Can this current squad go for glory?
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