Clem's Baseball home

Wrigley Field
Former home of the
Los Angeles Angels
(1961)




Wrigley Field

DYNAMIC DIAGRAM: Mouse rollover.

Key

Vital statistics and ratings:
Lifetime Seating capacity Seating rows
(typical)
Overhang / shade % Territory
(1,000 sq. ft.)
Fence height  CF
orien- tation
Back-stop Outfield dimensions The Clem Criteria:
Built Status 1st deck 2nd deck Upper deck Lower deck Upper deck Fair Foul LF CF RF Left
field
Left-center Center field Right-center Right field Field
asym- metry
Arch.
design
Seat
prox- imity
Loc- ation Aesth- etics Over- all
1925* 1966* 20,457 32 - 18 70% 100% 99.7 22.3 14 14,9 9 NNE 56 340 345 412 345 339 2 6 8 5 6 5.4

* The Angels played there in 1961, the only year it was in major league use. LIGHTS: 1931

So you thought Wrigley Field was in Chicago? Yes, but there was also a minor league Wrigley Field in Los Angeles, and in fact, this one was named "Wrigley Field" before the "namesake" in the Windy City! Like Seals Stadium (San Francisco), Colt Stadium (Houston), and Sick's Stadium (Seattle), this was one of those forgotten temporary venues for expansion franchises, pending construction of a more permanent home. It was named after the owner, chewing gum magnate William Wrigley who owned both the Cubs and the (minor league) Angels franchises. Wrigley Field (L.A.) was probably the finest minor league stadium ever built, with a double-decked grandstand and classic Spanish colonial architecture. Palm trees and residential homes were visible beyond the left field wall. One of the defining features was a 12-story clock tower on the back of the grandstand, which held office space for the Pacific Coast League staff.

thumbnail It is a little-known fact that the Dodgers considered moving into Wrigley Field when they relocated to Los Angeles in 1958, and plans were made to expand it by wrapping the double-decked grandstand around the corners, extending beyond the outfield. (See the "hypothetical alternative" diagram above.) In such a case, it would have taken the entire 1958 season to complete construction. The capacity of such an enlarged stadium would have been about 35,000 -- bigger than Ebbets Field, but perhaps not big enough to satisfy the Dodgers for more than a decade or so. This would have forced the closer of the street behind the left field fence, and the houses on that block would have had to have been razed. It was just too tight a squeeze, however, and the neighboring residents objected. So, Walter O'Malley looked elsewhere, and found a much bigger (if less suitable) venue about a mile to the west: Memorial Coliseum.

CINEMA: Being just a few miles from Hollywood, it was only natural that Wrigley Field was featured in several baseball-related movies such as Elmer, the Great (1933), Alibi Ike (1935), Test Pilot (1938), The Pride of the Yankees (1942), It Happens Every Spring (1949), The Stratton Story (1949), The Winning Team (1952), and Damn Yankees (1958). It also was the setting for the TV show Home Run Derby in the late 1950s, and an episode of The Munsters.

Indeed, as the diagram shows, there was barely enough room for the playing field itself. Wrigley Field (L.A.) resembled the Chicago original in many ways (such as having ivy-covered outfield walls), but the power alleys were much shorter, only 345 feet. The roof profile was nearly identical, with "dormers," i.e., protrusions from the rear of the upper deck that accommodated the access ramps. It was symmetrical but had very little foul territory. That was fine for minor leagues, but when major league teams played here in 1961 there was a flood of home runs.

The Angels moved out of Wrigley Field after the 1961 season, then played as tenants in brand new Dodger Stadium for four years, and finally moved into their own stadium in 1966. The "Home Run Derby" television series of the early 1960s was filmed in this ballpark, as was one episode of "The Munsters." Wrigley Field (L.A.) was demolished in 1966, and a public park and community center now occupy the land where it once stood.

SOURCES: Lowry (2006), Ritter (1992), Gershman (1993)


Vox populi: Fans' impressions

Have you been to this stadium? If so, feel free to share your impressions of it with other fans! (Registration is required.) Also, I welcome submissions of original stadium photos that fans have taken, and will make sure they get properly credited. Just send me an e-mail message via the Contact page.


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