On this date in 1976, Anaheim Stadium workers find a foreign substance growing in the outfield.
Through name changes and renovations, The Big A has hosted plenty of spectacular moments. It’s where Mike Trout developed into one of the greatest players in baseball history, where Darin Erstad caught the final out of the 2002 World Series, and where Jim Edmonds learned to fly as if angels had emerged from Disney’s classic movie to offer some real-life magic. While each of these moments is special in its own right, perhaps none are as unique as the time when a groundskeeper found marijuana plants growing in the outfield.
As manager of Anaheim Stadium, Tim Leigler, put it at the time, “What we’ve got out here is grass in the grass.”
Less than three weeks before the Angels were set to open the 1976 season, Anaheim Stadium was transformed into a rock palace (of sorts) to host the legendary band, The Who. Only ten years old at the time, The Big A recorded its largest crowd ever when 55,000 stomping and screaming fans jammed the baseball facility to see Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey play their classic hits, leaving ten tons of litter for stadium workers to clean up in its aftermath.
More than just litter, stadium officials estimated to the LA Times that about 100 marijuana plants sprouted in the outfield as a result of the concert. Mayor William J. Thom quipped, “The economic situation at the stadium has not reached such a perilous point that we have to resort to growing marijuana.”
It was anything but High Times for the Angels in 1976, as they sputtered out of the gate, starting the season 5-12, including being swept in their home opening series against Oakland. While the groundskeeping crew did an amazing job to get the stadium ready for the season, unfortunately, the Angels team wasn’t as prepared.
Special thanks to the Los Angeles Times archive where the March 23, 1976 edition of the paper was viewed to provide background for this article.