My good friend Dan, proof-reader extraordinaire, and I had this email exchange a couple of weeks ago:
DAN: Hi Jim,
So, what do you think of the Angels Shohei Ohtani? He is 2-0 as a pitcher in two starts and hitting .346 as a DH. He wants to pitch and hit more as he did in Japan and seems to understand why the Angels are starting him slowly. The bases-clearing triple the other day was beautiful.
I have been an Angels fan since they were originally the Los Angeles Angels playing at Dodger Stadium. I think I was five that inaugural year, rooting for the underdog instead of the Dodger’s, who had been there for several years. I remember a Nolan Ryan
no-hitter, Alex Johnson
refusing to sit out his last at-bat that would have guaranteed his batting championship and getting a hit. Rod Carew
and Reggie Jackson
in their waning years and still a threat. Jim
was a hell of a player and a decent manager. Frank Robinson
and Hoyt Wilhelm
spent some time in Angel Red. Other Hall of Famers I only saw on TV, though in 56 years, the Angels still do not have a player wearing their jersey in Cooperstown.
Biggest/fondest memory was my dad bare-handing a foul ball while sitting in the top-tier behind first base against Cleveland in 1968.
One of the great things about baseball is that its history is always looking over your shoulder.
When you get a guy who can pitch and can also hit, who comes to mind? Babe Ruth, of course. He could have been the best pitcher in the game, but Boston wanted him in the lineup every day, so he gave up his pitching career.
I remember well when the Angels got started and glad to know you’re a lifelong fan. The story I heard about the beginnings of the franchise is that the American League was determined to put a team in Los Angeles. Gene Autry went to the owners meeting that year to see if he could secure the broadcast rights, but there were no serious bidders for the franchise (hard to believe nowadays), so he came away with the team itself.
Confession: I don’t particularly enjoy watching baseball on TV. Too much meaningless chatter. What I like more is listening to a radio broadcast, especially if it’s done by a long-time broadcaster. Unfortunately, most of them (Sculley, Buck, Harwell) are gone.
Hope you’re doing well.
I agree about not liking baseball on the small box. I believe with ruth he had one or two 20 win seasons with the Sox. It will be an interesting series starting tomorrow between the top two hottest teams in the AL (the Mets are also 9-1 in the last 10 games) with Ohtani and Price facing off.
We call the Angels “The team Rudolph built.” It was the royalties from Autry’s rendition of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” that allowed him to buy so much land in LA and Orange County that built his fortune. Unlike franchises nowadays, the Angels were actually a Triple-A team already in LA.
But talk about expansion teams, how about them Golden Knights (since Nevada is the “Silver State,” people didn’t understand the name, though the owner was a West Point (Black Knights) graduate that transferred to the Air Force upon graduation) here in Las Vegas? Three straight wins in the playoffs against the Kings beats the expansion team record of two held by the Kings. The biggest problem with an expansion team doing so well (especially if they win the Cup) is where do they go from there.
No team can win every year… Think of the Yankees.
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