Anaheim Stadium’s moments of glory are well-documented. But what about the lowlights, embarrassments and the inglorious? After all, tradition is derived from more than just success.
The Big A family has its share of less-talked-about memories:
--This one’s a pretty good trivia question. The Patriots, Raiders, Chargers and Chiefs played an exhibition doubleheader in Anaheim Stadium in 1966. Name the first professional football team to play a home game in the facility.
The Orange County Ramblers met Orlando for the Continental Football League championship on Big A turf before fewer than 4,000 spectators in 1967.
--Then there was the Teen-Age Fair held in July 1971. Promoters predicted that 100,000 to 200,000 youths would attend the weeklong event, which sprawled across the parking lot. Exactly 4,113 bought tickets. “It was a miserable flop,” Stadium Manager Tom Liegler said. “It lasted a week, and by the end there weren’t even any exhibitors left.”
--In May 1975, the Beach Boys had the Anaheim Stadium crowd--and the stadium --rocking. Ushers in the front-row aisles of the second and third levels were holding onto the railing as the tiers rocked up and down six inches in either direction. A month later, structural engineers reported that the facility was doing exactly what it was supposed to do--during an earthquake.
--After a second concert by The Who in March 1976, groundskeepers reported that more than 100 marijuana plants sprouted on the playing field. Said Mayor William J. Thom: “The economic situation at the stadium has not reached such a perilous point that we have to resort to growing marijuana. But they’ll never be able to play ‘Tea for Two’ at Anaheim Stadium again.”
--Later that year, a 34-year-old Florida pilot, Emmett Murchison Tally III, died when his Birdman airplane, weighing 120 pounds and powered by a 10-horsepower chain-saw engine, crashed in the parking lot during an exhibition of experimental aircraft.
--In 1978, about 60,000 rock fans filed into the Big A at noon for a Boston-Black Sabbath concert. The concert was plagued by unruly spectators, counterfeit tickets, delays and stifling heat that reached 104 degrees. Fourteen hours and a record 196 arrests later, however, the city was $100,000 richer.
--On July 18, 1979, an estimated 1,000 people braved rush-hour traffic to watch the moving of the 240-ton Big A scoreboard across the parking lot to its current location near the Orange Freeway. Several hundred orange balloons were released on cue, but after a huge crane had pulled the towering landmark about 10 feet, one of the dollies tilted and the move was postponed. The next morning, about a dozen people witnessed the Big A scoreboard’s seven-hour crawl across the lot.
--On Jan. 24, 1981, the first couple to be married in Anaheim Stadium--Michael Dahl and Ramona Ramirez--admitted that they were both die-hard Dodger fans.
Or how about the time a Fullerton Junior College-Fresno City College game was called because of fog? Or the time the goal posts collapsed in the middle of a Ram-Giant game? Or the guy who sits up at the top of the stadium during Angel games catching--and then eating --moths?
Talk about tradition!