A History of the Big “A” Angels Home for almost 50 years


Back in 1966 when Anaheim Stadium opened it was a quaint 43,000 + seat open-air stadium with bleachers in left and right field and a huge “A” scoreboard in left-centerfield.  In its first 15 years of existence the Big “A” as it is affectionately known, was host to the 1967 All-Star Game and two no-hitters (1974 & 1975) by Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan, and one by Clyde Wright in 1970, as well as the 1979 AL Western Division Championship team.  As Anaheim Stadium approaches its 50th year (2016 season) as the home of the Angels it has had multiple facelift, first in 1980 it was totally enclosed on all three levels to add 25,000 more seats to accommodate the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams.  After this first remodel of the Big “A” which saw the huge “A” frame scoreboard moved to the parking lot and become a message board for those passing by on the 57 freeway, the Angels started to become a legitimate contenders for the AL Western Division crown every year. The Angels won division titles in 1982 and 1986 and just missed winning titles in 1984 and 1985 by 3 and 1 games respectively.  The attendance was relatively strong during this period with a period of 12 straight seasons (1982-1993) of 2,000,000 + fans.  During this time the Angels set a franchise regular season record attendance of 63,132 fans on July 4th in 1983 (I was there as a 10-year old with my grandfather).  They also set a playoff record of 64,406 fans for game 1 of the 1982 ALCS vs. the Milwaukee Brewers.  The Big “A” also saw some major milestones: Reggie Jackson’s 500th home run (1984), Rod Carew’s 3000th hit (1985), and Don Sutton’s 300th victory (1986). In 1990 Anaheim Stadium saw a combined no-hitter by Mark Langston and Mike Witt, & in 1992 the Royals’ George Brett’s got his 3000th hit.

In 1994 a huge left field scoreboard fell during the Northridge earthquake destroying close to 1,000 seats, which also coincided with the Los Angeles Rams moving to St. Louis at the end of the 94′ season prompted the team to convert the Big “A” back to a baseball-only open air stadium again.  On April 1, 1998 Edison International Field (named for the corporate sponsor Southern California Edison) opened as the team also was renamed the Anaheim Angels. The stadium has a view of the 57 freeway and the San Bernardino Mountains in centerfield above a rock-pile (shaped like an A at the top) which houses a geyser-like fountain which shoots out fireworks when the Angels The attendance also broke the 2,000,000 mark again for the first time since 1993. Then in 2002 something magical, almost surreal to long-time Angels fans, the team made it to their first ever World Series by winning back-to-back postseason series defeating the hated New York Yankees and the Minnesota Twins. All that stood in the way of the Angels and their first championship was the San Francisco Giants.  Thanks to a miraculous comeback in Game 6 and clutch pitching by rookies John Lackey and Francisco Rodriguez the Angels were able to win Game 7 setting off a celebration for the ages as the Angels were World Series Champions.  Over the next 7 years the team won 5 division titles and the attendance topped the 3 million mark each season.  Even after new owner Arte Moreno changed the team name to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in 2005, much to many Angels fans dismay, the attendance stayed steady at 3,000,000 + fans coming out to watch the Angels each year according to baseball-reference.com (http://www.baseballreference.com/teams/ANA/attend.shtml).  As Angels Stadium approaches its 50th season of existence in 2016 let’s remember all the great memories that have happened at the Big “A” and let’s hope for more of the same in the future.