Halo Trivia: Who Was the First Angel to Hit 30 Homers?

By Mike Greyshock
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Leon “Daddy Wags” Wagner – 1962  37 HR

The 1962 Angels won 86 games in just their second season of existence. A big reason for that success was Leon Wagner and his powerful bat. That season Wagner would hit .268/.326/.500 with 107 RBI’s to go along with those long balls. He was named to the All Star team that season for the first time. After Wagner left the Angels the following year, the Angels went through a stretch where many of their teams for the next decade never saw a player hit even 20 homers.

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Strangely, in the offseason of 1963/64 the Angels traded their two time All Star amidst reports that the he owed the team money on a loan. And, while he was a fan favorite, the same could not be said of GM Fred Haney who Wagner once compared to Nikita Khrushchev. Along with his nickname of “Daddy Wags”, he was also referred to as “The Good Humor Man” for his lighthearted nature and possibly his curious outfield defense. He went on to appear in several movies after his baseball career ended.

Adversity always seemed to follow Wagner, and sadly his end was as a homeless man living in a shack in the Crenshaw district of LA where he died in 2004. His playing days were full of joy and although he was only an Angel for a brief time, he left us with memories of a talented and entertaining player who helped establish the expansion era Angels.

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