The Los Angeles Angels have had many great moments in their 57 year history. From individual accomplishments, to playoff series victories, and of course the 2002 World Series Championship season.
Yes, the Los Angeles Angels franchise has had an interesting and diverse history. The team has played under four different names and in three different stadiums. In the Angels inaugural season of 1961 the team played downtown at an old minor league stadium called Wrigley Field as the Los Angeles Angels. The following season the Angels moved into the newly built Dodger Stadium, sharing the stadium with the Los Angeles Dodgers who had moved there from the LA Coliseum.
In 1966 the Los Angeles Angels moved to Orange County into the newly built Anaheim Stadium a mile from Disneyland. Upon moving the Angels changed their name to the California Angels which would be the team’s name until 1998 when the Disney Corporation would buy the team. When Disney bought the Angels they changed the uniforms and also the team name to Anaheim Angels.
Although the Anaheim Angels name only lasted only seven seasons, it was an important transition for the team. During this time current manager Mike Scioscia and his staff were hired. In 2002 the Anaheim Angels put together a season for the ages which ended with the franchise’s only World Series title.
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In 2005 new owner Arte Moreno decided to change the team’s name back to Los Angeles Angels. It was met by a lot of opposition, and eventually the compromise was Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. This take us to the present day with most people calling the team the Los Angeles Angels. We will see if that changes.
Over the next 10 days we will remember 10 of the top moments in Angels history. Today you will see the best of the rest plus #10 in our countdown to #1.
With all that said let’s take a look back at the top 10 moments in Angel history, whatever name you call them they are our Angels.
#10 – Alex Johnson clinches the Angels first and only batting title on the last day of the 1970 season.
The Angels have had many great individual accomplishments over the years, but one thing that has happened only one time is for a player to win a batting title while wearing an Angel uniform. On the final day of the 1970 season the California Angels were playing the Chicago White Sox at the Big “A”. Alex Johnson went into the game trailing Boston’s Carl Yastrzemski by .002 in the race for the AL batting title.
Johnson needed to go 2 for 3 or better in order to pass Yastrzemski and claim the first batting title in Angel history. Johnson grounded out in his first at-bat, came back to get a solid single to left in his second at-bat. When Johnson came to bat in the bottom of the fifth inning the stage was set for him to make history.
Johnson hit a high chopper that White Sox third baseman Bill Melton backhanded, but his throw was too late to get Johnson as he sped down the line. With that hit Johnson went ahead of Yastrzemski by .003 and he was immediately removed from the game. Johnson won the batting title .3289 to .3286 for Yaz. No Angel player has ever won a batting title since, so Johnson is all alone on this list at least for now.
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Johnson died at age 72 on February 28th, 2015 due to complications from prostate cancer. He will always be remembered for the magical September night when he won the Angels only batting title.