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Saturday, August 21, 2010
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Uniform and Team History
Please click on the evolution of the Angels uniform poster above for a close-up version of the poster. The descriptions below give you some insight and background about the uniforms and/or eras depicted in the poster.
The Anaheim Angels began as the Los Angeles Angels in 1961 and were owned by legendary film star Gene Autry. The name “Angels” was taken from the name of a team in the Pacific Coast League.
The Los Angeles Angels played their first season, 1961, at Wrigley Field. But this was not the Wrigley Field in Chicago, but rather the Angels’ minor league stadium in LA. Wrigley Field in Los Angeles was a home run hitters haven, and the first year Angels had five players who hit 20 or more homers: Leon Wagner with 28; Ken Hunt with 25; Lee Thomas with 24; Earl Averill with 21 and Steve Bilko with 20. The 1961 Angels finished in 8th place in the 10 team American League with a respectable first year record of 70 and 91.
In their second season, 1962, the Angels moved into Dodger Stadium which they shared with their National League counterparts the Los Angeles Dodgers. They would share Dodger Stadium with the Dodgers until 1966 when they moved into the brand new Anaheim Stadium.
The Angels’ uniforms started out very simply, as we see on this road uniform. The fancy capital letters on the front were blue, with red borders. Red and blue trim went around the collar and sleeves, while they had a stripe down each pant leg.
This is a home uniform, and the style and design are much the same as the original 1961 uniform. One significant change is the fact that the team is now called the California Angels (the name was changed for the 1965 season) and they have moved into a new home (all by themselves), Anaheim Stadium in 1966. An unusual uniform fact is that the Angels wore the team nickname “Angels” on both their home and away jerseys instead of the more traditional nickname on the home uniform and city name on the road uniform.
In 1967 the Angels had their third winning season in seven years with a 84-77 record. Their previous two winning seasons were 1962 and 1964, with the 1964 team featuring Cy Young winner Dean Chance. This 1967 season would also mark the team’s first occasion to host an All-Star game. The 1967 All-Star game was the longest All Star game ever played, going 15 innings, with the National League winning a 2-1 pitchers’ dual. The Angels wouldn’t get to host the All-Star game again until 1989.
The Angels made a change this season in the lettering on their jerseys – note that the team name is entirely lower case and a halo has been added above the “a”. The color of the letters has also changed from blue to red. On the left sleeve there is a patch with the shape of California on it. At the top of the state of California is a halo, and there is a star on the lower left signifying the city of Anaheim. This is also the first time the Angels had player’s numbers on the front of the jerseys.
Uniform numbers first made their appearance on the front of a uniform in 1952 - the Brooklyn Dodgers were the first team to wear uniform numbers on the front of their jersey. The Braves followed suit in 1953, and the Reds joined in beginning in 1956. The 1916 Cleveland Indians actually wore a uniform number on their sleeve, but it wasn’t until the ’52 Dodgers that the number made it to the front.
The 1971 Angels finished 76-86 and in 4th place in the 6 team AL West. Prior to the start of the 1972 season traded one of their best and most popular players, Jim Fregosi, to the New York Mets for four players. One of those players was Nolan Ryan, who would go on to play for the Angels for 8 seasons and would lead the league in strikeouts seven times in those eight seasons. He would also throw four of his 7 no-hitters for the Angels, the first on May 15, 1973 against the Kansas City Royals, the second two months later on July 15, 1973 against Tigers, the third being September 28, 1974 vs. the Minnesota Twins and the fourth on June 1st 1975 against the Baltimore Orioles.
This home jersey is of a double-knit style that most major league teams succumbed to during the 70’s and early 80’s. It was a pullover style, made of stretchy, synthetic material. The pants were called “Sans-a-Belt”’s because the elasticized waistline eliminated the need for a belt. The 1970 Pirates were the first double-knit - sans-a-belt team, and the Cards and Astros joined them in 1971. By 1975 two thirds of major league teams had joined in.
The Angels’ logo was changed in 1973 - the lower case “a” was replaced by a capital ”A” with a halo on top. The patch of the state of California, however, is still on the left sleeve of the 1979 jersey.
1979 would mark the Angels’ first appearance in post season play. They finished atop the A.L. West standings with an 88 and 74 record, 3 games ahead of the Royals. Left fielder Don Baylor led the way with a league leading 139 RBI, and a team leading 36 home runs. Baylor would also be named the AL MVP after the season. Nolan Ryan led the pitching staff with a 16 and 14 record and led the league in strikeouts with 223 and shutouts with 5 (he tied for the lead with two other pitchers).
The Angels took on the Baltimore Orioles for the AL pennant in a best-of-five series. The Orioles took a two games to none lead, but the Angels closed the gap by winning game three. But the glorious 1979 season came to an end as the Orioles triumphed in four to win the League Championship series 3 games to 1.
As we see on this road uniform, there hasn’t been much change since the 1979 uniform. The Angels are still wearing the double knit pullover style jersey with “Sans-a-Belt” pants.
Before the 1982 season the Angels owner Gene Autry (he was the first and only owner) signed free agent outfielder Reggie Jackson from the Yankees. Jackson makes an immediate impact by leading the league in home runs this season with 39, and the team finishes first in the AL West with a 93 and 69 record and head to the post season for the second time in franchise history (the first time being in 1979).
The Angels faced the Milwaukee Brewers for the AL pennant in a best-of-five series and took a 2-0 lead, leaving them just one win away from their first visit to the World Series.
But the Brewers came back to win games 3 and 4, tying the series at 2 apiece, setting up a fifth and final game in Milwaukee. In a dramatic game, the Angels led 3-2 going into the bottom of the 7th when the Brewers struck for two runs to take a 4-3 lead. The Angels would not be able to come back, allowing the Brewers to win the pennant, becoming the first team to win a championship series after being down two games to none.
Once again the Angels uniform shows little change from 1982 it is still a double knit pullover style jersey with “Sans-a-Belt” pants. One exception is the patch on the left sleeve of this home jersey – this is a new patch. The patch shows a baseball with the “A” logo on top of the state of California and a halo around the top of the “A”.
1986 was a great season for the Angels as they finished 92-70, atop the AL West for the third time (1979 and 1982 were their first two post-season appearances). They faced off against the Red Sox for the pennant in a best-of-seven series. Much like in 1982, the Angels took a commanding lead (three games to one) and needed just one more win to take their first pennant and make their first trip to the World Series.
Game 5 was in Anaheim, and it went to extra innings before the Red Sox won in dramatic fashion in 11 innings. The game 5 loss seemed to demoralize the Angels, and Boston went on to win the next two games in Boston in convincing fashion and thus advance to post-season play vs. the Mets.
Finally the Angels have dropped the double-knit pullover jersey and “Sans-a-Belt” pants, and have gone back to the more traditional button front jersey with a real belt. The patch on the right sleeve of this home uniform (although not too visible in this painting) is in honor of the team hosting the 1989 All Star game for the second time (the first was in 1967). The practice of the All-Star host team wearing an All-Star game patch began a couple years before and continues to the present time. As for the ’89 midseason classic, the American League won 5-3.
The Angels finished the 1989 season in third place with a 91-71 record, 8 games back of the first place A’s, but had a better record than the East division winning Blue Jays who had an 89-73 record. Three of the AL’s top five pitchers in terms of ERA were Angels: Chuck Finley with a 2.57 ERA; Bert Blyleven with a 2.73; and Kirk McCaskill with a 2.93 average. And the entire pitching staff led the league in shutouts with 12.
In the 1990’s, teams began the practice of regularly wearing third uniforms. In this case the “third” uniform was a “throwback” uniform, a tribute to the Angels’ uniforms of the 60’s. The 3rd jersey is a concept that became commonplace by the mid 90’s. Most 3rd jerseys are worn occasionally at home as well as on the road, giving a team a third option as to what uniform to wear. And of course, the addition of a third jersey adds to the options fans can buy, thereby increasing apparel revenues and ultimately benefiting the team. More recently, teams have begun adding 4th and even 5th jerseys to their roster of uniform possibilities.
The 1992 season would mark a couple of momentous occasions: Nolan Ryan’s number 30 was retired from the Angels’ line up (Ryan played for the Angels for 8 seasons and led the league in strikeouts seven times in those eight seasons. He would also throw four of his 7 career no-hitters for the Angels, the first on May 15, 1973 against the Kansas City Royals, the second two months later on July 15, 1973 against Tigers, the third being September 28, 1974 vs. the Minnesota Twins and the fourth on June 1st 1975 against the Baltimore Orioles). The second momentous occasion this season was the fact that George Brett of the Royals hit his 3000th career hit at Anaheim Stadium, duplicating a feat accomplished in Anaheim by the Angels’ own Rod Carew who stroked his 3000th hit in 1985).
In 1993 the Angels adopted a new look, featuring an old fashioned style script with blue letters on the front of their jerseys. The numbers on the front of the jersey have been removed, while a new logo has been added to the left sleeve. This new logo patch shows a fancier “A” with the halo on top and a “C” for California interwoven with the “A”. Note also the blue trim that runs around the collar, down the buttons and around the sleeves.
A young player stormed into baseball this season for the Angels was outfielder Tim Salmon, who batted .283 while hitting 31 homers, 35 doubles and collecting 95 RBI. He was named the 1993 American League Rookie of the Year, the first-ever Angel to win this award.
But the team itself could only put together 71 wins (vs 91 losses) and finished tied for 4th in the AL West.
This 1995 Angels home uniform is similar to the 1993 uniform except for the addition of a patch on the right sleeve. This new patch celebrates the Angels 35th anniversary as a franchise, 1961 to 1995.
In a shortened season that started late due to the prolonged lockout, the Angels finished with a 78-67 record, just one game back of the Seattle Mariners for the American League West title and just one game back of the Yankees for the Wild Card spot. The Angels were led by a trio of players at the plate: Tim Salmon lead the way with a .330 average, 34 homers and 105 RBI; he was followed by Jim Edmonds who hit .290 with 33 homers and 107 RBI; and close behind was J.T. Snow with a .289 average, 24 homers and 102 RBI.
1997 was a watershed year for the Angels’ franchise as the Walt Disney Corporation bought the team and changed the team name to the Anaheim Angels. As we see on this home uniform, the entire uniform has been revamped. Note the brand new logo on the front of the jersey which features angel wings attached to an “A”. Note also that pinstripes have been added for the first time in team history. Note also the vest-style jersey, another first. The patch on the left sleeve is a new “A” logo with “ANAHEIM” across the front and, of course, a halo at the top.
The patch on the right sleeve commemorates the 50th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier of professional baseball. All teams wore a patch in honor of Jackie Robinson and all he achieved, and all MLB teams retired his number 42 - the first time in the history of the big four North American sports (MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL) that a number has been universally retired. (This has since been done one other time, by the NHL to honor the retirement of Wayne Gretzky and his #99.)
The Angels finished a respectable 84-78, but 6 games back of the AL West leading Mariners. A couple highlights of the 1997 season: 1997 saw the beginning of interleague play, Eddie Murray graced the field for game number three-thousand and Randy “The Big Unit” Johnson fanned nineteen batters in the same game twice in the same season.
The Angels have just their second sub-500 season since 1997 as they finish with a 75-87 record, good for third in the four team AL West. Remarkably, the Angels finish a whopping 41 games behind the Major League leading Seattle Mariners, a squad which won a record 116 wins against only 46 losses.
This blue jersey is a “third jersey”. It is predominantly blue with “Angels” across the chest and angel wings attached to the “A”. The patch on the left sleeve is still the Angels logo, while on the right sleeve there is a patch for the celebration of the American League’s 100th Anniversary. The player’s numbers have been taken off the front of this third jersey, but still remained on both the home and road jerseys.
In 2002 it was the return of the “Halos”, as the Angels brought back their famous halo logo that had been with the team from 1960’s to the mid 1990’s. The team, despite their fresh, new look, got off tot the worst start in franchise history at 6-14. But as April turned to May the Halos started to roll and won 21 of 24 games to get in the thick of the race for first place in the AL West.
The Angels developed a reputation for late-inning rallies at home and their fans were a big part of that. Fans at Edison International Field would get fired-up by the Rally Monkey, a monkey that would appear on the Edison Field scoreboard holding signs and jumping up and down with every Angels hit and run in the late innings.
The Angels would finish with a franchise best 99-63 record, missing out on the AL West title finishing 4 games behind the Oakland Athletics and their 103-59-record, but they captured the AL Wild Card berth, their first postseason appearance since 1986. In the postseason the Angels met the defending American League champs, the NY Yankees, in the Divisional Series and disposed of them in four games (3 games to 1). In the ALCS the Angels met the Minnesota Twins and took care of them in five games (4 games to 1).
For the first time in franchise history the Angels found themselves in the World Series. It was an “all-California” series as their opponents were the San Francisco Giants who knocked off St. Louis in five games to advance to the World Series.
In the World Series the Angels started slowly dropping Game 1, 4-3 at Edison Field. They would rebound to take Game 2, as Tim Salmon's 2-run HR in the 8th inning gave the Angels an 11-10 win. RHP Francisco Rodriguez got his 5th win in the postseason pitching 3 perfect innings in relief. The Halos won Game 3 in San Francisco, but their fortunes quickly reversed after the Giants won games 4 and 5 at PacBell Park. San Francisco took a 3-2 series lead back to Anaheim. In Game 6 the Giants looked poised to win their first World Series since 1954. The Angels trailed 5-0 in the 7th Inning, but led by Rally Monkey, the Angels showed their resilience as Scott Spiezio hit a 3-run HR in the 7th to get the Angels back in the game. In the 8th Darin Erstad would get the them within 1 with a leadoff homerun. World Series MVP Troy Glaus capped off the rally with a 2-run double that gave the Angels a 6-5 win to force Game 7. There would be no need for a comeback in Game 7 as the Angels shutdown the Giants 4-1 to capture their first ever World Championship. Angels 3B Troy Glaus was named World Series MVP hitting .385 and driving 8 runs in the Series.
As mentioned above, 2002 saw the Angels revamp their uniform yet again – just 5 short years after their last complete makeover in 1997. This new look sees them revert back to a more traditional uniform. Of note is the fact that the word “Anaheim” appears for the first time on the front of the jersey (“Los Angeles” had previously appeared on the 1961 road jersey, while “California” never appeared). As noted in the write-up accompanying the 1967 uniform images, for many years the Angels wore the team nickname “Angels” on both their home and away jerseys instead of the more traditional nickname on the home uniform and city name on the road uniform.
Text not yet written but enjoy this terrific 2007 Angels' jersey.
Celebrate the Angels' uniform history by owning a piece of history:
If you love the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the history of the Angels franchise, you might really love to own an original piece of artwork celebrating the team's historic uniforms as seen in the poster at the top of this blog - you can actually own one of those original pieces of art! There are only 14 pieces of original art available for sale, and when these 14 are sold, that's it, they're all sold out.
These original watercolor paintings would make a great gift (birthday gift, anniversary gift, retirement gift, Christmas gift, etc.) for someone you love or even a great gift for yourself (one of these framed pieces would look fantastic in your home or office). Each piece can be bought one of three ways:
1. As unframed art that you could have framed or mounted yourself (the one on the left)
2. Framed in our "Classic" framed version (the middle version)
3. Framed in our "Deluxe" framed version (the version on the right)
If you would like more information about this great artwork including the three ways you could purchase each piece, please visit our Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim YouTube video at www.youtube.com/watch?v=197lo8vafNU or go directly to the artwork website www.heritagesportsart.com/Los-Angeles-Angels-of-Anaheim-c147/ where you can see and purchase the artwork.
And if someone you know loves the history of sports uniforms (but maybe another team) and loves great art, please let them know that we have over 1500 pieces of great original artwork for sale at www.heritagesportsart.com (all NFL teams, all MLB teams, all NHL teams, all CFL teams, select NCAA football teams) or check out each team's video at the Heritage Sports Art YouTube Channel www.youtube.com/user/ssillcox
And please search my blog archive http://heritagejerseys.blogspot.com/ for other blogs on the history of the Angels.
This text was written by Scott Sillcox and was last updated August 21, 2010. I have tried to ensure the accuracy of the information, but I am human and can make mistakes. If you believe I have made a mistake, please let me know by email at firstname.lastname@example.org !