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First Angels game at the Big A 56 years ago today


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I think they had played some exhibition games, but the first official game was a 3-1 loss to the Chicago White Sox on April 19, 1966 in front of a non-sellout crowd of only 31,660.

Some of my memories of the Big A. It would be cool to hear some others.

First Angels game attended: July 31, 1976. Angels beat the White Sox 3-2 on a sac fly by Mario Guerrero in the bottom of the 11th inning. I don't remember much about the game because I was only 8 (I was born on Gene Autry's 60th birthday). I do remember thinking how much I liked the fact that we didn't have to leave early like my dad always did at Dodger games. It was a Saturday night game, and there was a large crowd of over 31,000 there. Looking back at the schedule, I noticed that the night before Nolan Ryan struck out 10 White Sox in a complete game shutout in front of only 8,878. I did get to see Ryan out duel Guidry 1-0 in 1979. Amazingly, that was not my most memorable game though.

Most memorable regular season game attended: August 31, 1981. Angels lost to the Indians 6-3. There were 3 bench clearing brawls in the bottom of the 4th inning. We're talking both benches emptying, and all the bullpen guys running in from the outfield. Actual punches being thrown, not just pushing and shoving. John Denny hit Disco Dan Ford with a pitch. Ford charged the mound, and both benches emptied. I remember Grich, Carew & Baylor leading the charge during the melees. After the first brawl, nobody got thrown out. Ford was standing on first, and he and Denny were jawing at each other. Next thing you know, before another pitch had been thrown, Ford is again charging the mound from 1st base. Benches cleared, punches are being thrown, bullpens have to run all the way back in. Again, neither Denny, nor Ford, got thrown out. There was a third benches clearing incident, but it was more like the modern day version with guys just kinda pitching and shoving and most guys playing peacemakers. However, again the bullpen guys had to make their 3rd sprint (though more like a jog this time) from the bullpens. I don't even think they made it all the way in that time. The only person who got tossed from the game was Don Baylor who was at the plate when Ford charged from 1st base. Neither Ford, or Denny got tossed.

Most memorable game attended: Game 5 1986 ALCS. Best game I ever saw in person. To this day, I still have no idea why Rob Wilfong did not run to 2nd base on his hit that drove in Rupert Jones to tie the game in the bottom of the 9th inning. When someone is scoring the tying run on a close play in the bottom of the 9th, the hitter should automatically run to 2nd to try to draw the throw. If Jones had been thrown out, Wilfong would have looked like an idiot standing at first base. Schofield;s single should have driven in Wilfong with the winning run instead of just moving him from 1st to 3rd. It took me until 2002 to get over that game. There's two times I walked out of Anaheim Stadium knowing the Angels only had to win only 1 out of the next 3 games to go to the World Series. I was at both Game 2 of the 1982 ALCS & Game 4 of the 1986 ALCS.

Most memorable event I attended not involving the Angels. For most, it will probably be a Rams game. I went to several of those, but the most memorable was September 9, 1983. David Bowie Serious Moonlight Tour with The Go-Go's & Madness opening. I was 15, and got to see Bowie. That was amazing!


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