The Major League Baseball Team That Was Actually Born In Los Angeles


Los Angeles Angels home opener at Angel Stadium on Friday, March 2. Photo Credit: Jesse Lopez/SAC.Media.

In 1961 Country musician and actor Gene Autry become the first owner of Los Angeles Angels, buying the rights to the name “Angels” from Walter O’Malley, the owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers for $300,000. This was the birth of Major League Baseball team Los angeles Angels. They completed their first season, a  70-91 record at Wrigley Field in Los Angeles.

Autry, had complete ownership of the Angels franchise for the first 36 years from 1961 to 1996.

After their 1961 season Autry in 1962 relocated his team to Dodger stadium, Chavez Ravine in Los Angeles. There they played four seasons until 1965, changing their name for the first time from Los Angeles Angels to California Angels. Also, the California Angels relocating to their new  home in 1966 to Anaheim Stadium in Anaheim, a city in Orange County, Calif.

From 1965 to 1996 the California Angels remained in Autry’s ownership until 1997 when Walt Disney Company acquired a stake of California Angels, changing its team name to Anaheim Angels. Also, renaming Anaheim Stadium to Edison International Field of Anaheim. In 1999 Walt Disney Company purchased the rest of the team from the Autry family for $150 million.  

The Walt Disney Company also owned the National Hockey League team the Anaheim Mighty Ducks.

In 2005 Arte Moreno, a Mexican-American businessmen purchased the Anaheim Angels from Walt Disney Company for $180 million. Again, bringing a name change to the Angels team. Moreno had the team’s name changed back to the 1961 Los Angeles Angels name with an agreement with the City of Anaheim to incorporating its name in it, officially naming the team Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Moreno’s reason for the name change was due to marketing with an attempt to increase revenue, which actually workout for Moreno and his team.

The team’s name change lead to fans and residents in disagreement with Moreno’s decision. Moreno’s team name change eventually made its way to court, but was dropped in 2009 allowing Moreno to keep the name Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

As of 2016 Moreno had the team’s name changed again to Los Angeles Angels, the original name of the angels from 1961.