History and Major Moments of the Los Angeles Angels Baseball Franchise
The History of the Los Angeles Angels
The Los Angeles Angels are a professional baseball team located in Anaheim, California. The Angels have a long and storied history since the franchise was founded in 1961. Though the team has yet to win a World Series championship, they have appeared in the playoffs ten times and won six division titles.
The Early Years in Los Angeles
The Los Angeles Angels began as one of two expansion teams in 1961 along with the new Washington Senators franchise. The Angels played their first season at Wrigley Field in Los Angeles while Dodger Stadium was being constructed. In 1966, the Angels moved to Anaheim and changed their name to the California Angels after the city of Anaheim agreed to build a baseball stadium.
In the 1960s and 1970s, the Angels enjoyed moderate success with players like Nolan Ryan, Jim Fregosi, and Alex Johnson. However, the team did not make the postseason during this era. The Angels played in Anaheim Stadium from 1966 until it was renamed Edison International Field in 1998 and then Angel Stadium of Anaheim in 2003.
The 1980s and Early 1990s
The Angels made their first playoff appearance in 1979 under manager Jim Fregosi, but were eliminated in the ALCS by the Baltimore Orioles. It would be the franchise's only postseason appearance in their first 28 seasons.
In the 1980s, stars like Rod Carew, Reggie Jackson, and newcomers Wally Joyner and Chuck Finley led the Angels. However, it was a period marked mostly by disappointment. High expectations in 1982 after signing Reggie Jackson did not materialize as the Angels finished below .500.
The 2002 World Series Run
The 2002 season marked a high point in Angels franchise history. Managed by Mike Scioscia and led by players like Garret Anderson, Troy Glaus, and rookie pitcher John Lackey, the Angels finished the regular season with 99 wins and won the Wild Card.
In a memorable ALDS against the New York Yankees, the Angels came back from a 2-1 series deficit to defeat the heavily favored Yankees. They then went on to beat the Minnesota Twins 4-1 in the ALCS to win the American League pennant for the first time.
Facing the San Francisco Giants in the World Series, the Angels won a thrilling seven game series with a 4-1 victory in Game 7. The championship marked the first time the Angels had ever won the World Series after over 40 years as a franchise.
The 2000s and 2010s
The Angels continued having success in the 2000s and early 2010s, making the playoffs five times from 2004 to 2009. This run was led by players like Vladimir Guerrero, Francisco Rodriguez, Jered Weaver, and Mike Trout.
The Mike Trout Era
Since 2012, the Angels have been led by Mike Trout, one of baseball's biggest superstars. Trout has established himself as one of the best all-around players in baseball history, winning 3 MVP awards by the age of 27.
The Angels have built their team around Trout, with big name acquisitions like Albert Pujols and Shohei Ohtani joining the squad earlier this decade. However, the team has yet to translate its regular season success to postseason glory during Trout's tenure.
The Angels have not made the playoffs since 2014, struggling with injuries to key players and roster construction issues. The team still boasts one of baseball's most exciting and marketable players in Mike Trout as well as two-way star Shohei Ohtani.
Heading into the 2023 season, the Angels and first-year manager Phil Nevin will look to surround Trout and Ohtani with the supporting talent needed to translate their individual greatness into team success and hopefully another World Series title.
The Future is Bright
In over 60 years as a franchise, the Los Angeles Angels have yet to capture their second World Series championship. But the team has a strong foundation led by Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani and plays in one of MLB's premier media markets.
With better injury luck and a few key roster improvements, the Angels could be back contending for a title sooner rather than later. For long-suffering fans, that breakthrough season would surely feel nothing short of heavenly.
When did the Los Angeles Angels franchise begin?
The Los Angeles Angels franchise was formed in 1961 as one of two new MLB expansion teams along with the Washington Senators. Originally called the "Los Angeles Angels", the team played in L.A. before moving to Anaheim and becoming the "California Angels" in 1966 after the city built them a baseball stadium.
How many times have the Angels won the World Series?
The Angels have won the World Series once in 2002, defeating the San Francisco Giants 4 games to 3. This remains their only championship in franchise history after more than 60 seasons.
Who are some of the best players in Angels history?
Some of the best players ever to play for the Angels include Nolan Ryan, Rod Carew, Jim Fregosi, Tim Salmon, Vladimir Guerrero, Garrett Anderson, Troy Percival, Francisco Rodriguez, Jered Weaver, and Mike Trout.
Do the Angels have a strong fan base?
Yes, the Angels have developed an dedicated fan base known as the "Halo Faithful." They draw over 3 million fans a year to Angel Stadium and have the 13th highest average home game attendance in MLB. Their fan base spans across all of Southern California.
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