Big Times at the Big A


Anaheim officials and the Del Webb Construction Co. sign contract to build stadium with a capacity of about 50,000 people for a cost of about $16 million. Groundbreaking on the site occurs in August.


The $24-million stadium opens. Angels lose exhibition to San Francisco Giants, 9-3. Willie Mays hits a home run. Angels lose their regular-season opener on April 19, 3-1, to the Chicago White Sox. Tommy John, who would later pitch for the Angels and Dodgers, is Chicago's winning pitcher. Opening day attendance is 31,660. A day later, the Angels win for the first time at Anaheim Stadium.


Anaheim is host to the longest All-Star game in history, a 15-inning victory for the National League, 2-1. Attendance is 46,309. Angel all-stars that season: pitcher Jim McGlothlin, shortstop Jim Fregosi, first baseman Don Mincher and Manager Bill Rigney, who served as one of the American League coaches.


Clyde Wright pitches the Angels' first no-hitter in Anaheim, a 4-0 victory over Oakland.


The Nolan Ryan era begins in Anaheim, as he sets a single-season record with 383 strikeouts. Rich Reese of Minnesota is the historic victim at Anaheim on Sept. 27.


Ryan, already with two no-hitters on the road with the Angels (at Kansas City and Detroit), blanks Minnesota, 4-0, for his third no-hitter. A year later, he will no-hit Baltimore, 1-0.


Bert Blyleven, who would later pitch for the Angels, no-hits them on Sept. 22 and the Texas Rangers win, 6-0. It's the first time the Angels have been no-hit at home.


Finally, a division title. The Angels defeat Kansas City, 4-1, on Sept. 25 to clinch the Western Division championship. Baltimore defeats the Angels in the American League Championship Series.


The Angels are no longer the only game in town. They now share the stadium with the Rams, whose move forces the first rebuilding project in the stadium's history. The ballpark is enclosed, with the landmark Big A scoreboard moved into the parking lot. Capacity is increased dramatically, with more than 69,000 seats for football.


Make that two division titles. The Angels defeat Texas, 6-5, on Oct. 2 to win the West. But they lose again in the playoffs, this time to Milwaukee.


Reggie Jackson hits his 500th home run on Sept. 17.


Rod Carew, now the Angels' batting instructor, assures his place in the Hall of Fame by collecting his 3,000th hit on Aug. 4. Pitcher is Minnesota's Frank Viola.


A season of extremes. The Angels clinch their third division championship on Sept. 26 with an 8-3 victory over Texas. In June, another future Hall of Famer, Don Sutton, defeats Texas for his 300th victory. But the season will always be remembered for a home run by Boston's Dave Henderson with the Angels one strike away from going to the World Series for the first time. Henderson's home run, off Donnie Moore, turned the playoff series as the Red Sox went on to face the Mets in the Series.


The stadium hosts another All-Star game, a 5-3 victory for the American League. Attendance is 64,036. Angel all-stars: pitcher Chuck Finley, outfielder Devon White, Manager Doug Rader and coach Marcel Lachemann, who were American League coaches.


Mark Langston, in his first Anaheim Stadium appearance as an Angel, combines with Mike Witt to no-hit his former team, the Seattle Mariners, 1-0.


Thousands of fans form a path from the stadium door to the parking lot, cheering the Angels as they leave for Seattle and a one-game playoff with the Mariners. The Angels beat Oakland that afternoon, 8-2, with Chuck Finley striking out nine, while the Mariners lose at Texas. But the Mariners win the American League West championship the next day, with Randy Johnson striking out 12 in a 9-1 victory.

Source: Angels, Times files

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