“Anaheim Stadium, designed to bring the fans back to the game and the game back to the fans. America’s newest and most modern baseball facility at the time, its three levels afford unobstructed views of action anywhere in the ballpark.”
So reads the publisher’s description on the back of this “sceni-krome” postcard published by Golden West Photography shortly after the stadium’s opening in 1966.
For the gearheads in the crowd, we’ll run down the row of cars in the foreground from right to left. First up a red 1959 Plymouth Belvedere, then a ‘65 Ford Galaxie with some parking issues next to a sweet ‘57 Lincoln Mark II, followed by a blue ‘66 VW Bug, then a ‘62 Cadillac Coupe de Ville, a ‘64 Chevrolet Impala, another VW Beetle (guessing a ‘66), and a blue ‘66 Pontiac Bonneville. We didn’t miss the ‘66 Chevrolet Caprice Estate wagon down there in front either, complete with its wood-paneled siding. Some sweet, old American-made iron.
Now, on to some baseball.
Anaheim Stadium is unofficially known as “The Big A,” a phrase coined by the Los Angeles Herald Examiner Sports Writer Bud Furillo, obviously back when newspapermen had such pull. It is the fourth oldest active stadium in the majors, eclipsed only by Fenway, Wrigley and Dodger Stadium across town.
The landmark “Big A” sign and electronic marquee measures 230 feet tall including the illuminated halo at the top. Following an Angels win, whether on the road or at home, the halo is illuminated, sparking the local expression: “Light that baby up.”
During its tenure, it hosted 13 American League playoff games and World Series games; in 2002 the Angels beat the up-state San Francisco Giants in grand fashion, a first for then-owner Gene Autrey and his wife Jackie.
Notable baseball events in Anaheim Stadium include Mickey Mantle’s last game-winning home run, two of pitcher Nolan Ryan’s seven no-hit games and of course, Kansas City Royal George Brett scored his 3,000th career base hit on Sept. 30, 1992, tying Roberto Clemente’s record in the confines of Anaheim Stadium with a base hit off Ken Fortuno when Angels second baseman Ken Oberkfell bobbled the ball as it bounced into shallow center field.
Another local product, Fort Osage High School and Maple Woods Community College sensation Albert Pujols hit his 600th career home run, a towering, grand slam round-tripper to left field against the Minnesota Twins’ Rafael Santana on June 3, 2017.
On Saturday, Aug. 9, 2014, the stadium hosted its longest game ever: a 6-hour, 31-minute contest between the Angels and the Boston Red Sox. Pujols led off in the bottom of the 19th inning with a walk-off homer, giving the Angels the win, 5-4.
In December 2019, the city of Anaheim agreed to sell the stadium and surrounding land to the team for $325 million, with the team committing to remain in Anaheim until at least 2050.