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Anaheim Stadium (The Big A)

By Wikipedia

Angel Stadium, originally Anaheim Stadium and later Edison International Field, is a Major League Baseball stadium located in Anaheim, California, and home to the Anaheim Angels of the American League. The stadium is often referred to by its unofficial nickname The Big A.

At a glance...
Anaheim Stadium
Facility statistics
Location 2000 Gene Autry Way
Anaheim, California 92806
Broke ground August 31, 1964
Opened April 19, 1966
Replaced Wrigley Field (Los Angeles)
Owner The City of Anaheim
Operator Angels Baseball LP
Surface Santa Ana Bermuda Grass (1966)
Bluegrass (1989)
$24 million
$118 million (1997-1999
Architect HOK Sport
Renovations by
Walt Disney Imagineering
Former names
Anaheim Stadium (1966-1997)
Edison International Field (1997-2003)
Anaheim Angels (MLB, 1966-present)
Los Angeles Rams (NFL, 1981-1994)
Southern California Sun (WFL, 1974-75)
California Surf (NASL)
Seating capacity
43,500 (1966)
64,593 (1979)
33,851 (1997)
45,050 (1998)
Left Field - 330 ft (100.5 m)
Left-Center - 387 ft (118.0 m)
Center Field - 400 ft (121.9 m)
Right-Center - 370 ft (112.8 m)
Right-Center (shallow) - 365 ft (111.3 m)
Right Field - 330 ft (100.5 m)
Backstop - 60.5 ft (18.4 m)


Angel Stadium has been the home of the Angels since their move from Los Angeles. In 1964, ground was broken for Anaheim Stadium and in 1966, the Angels, then California Angels, moved into their new home after having spent four seasons renting Chavez Ravine Stadium (later simply known as Dodger Stadium) from the Dodgers.

The stadium was built on a flat land parcel of about 160 acres originally used for agricultural purposes in the southeast portion of Anaheim, California, near the intersection of three freeways. Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim, home to the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim National Hockey League franchise, was later built near the stadium. The parking lot, unlike that of Chavez Ravine Stadium is flat, and escalators and ramps convey patrons to their seats on four levels, a practice that is similar to that of most stadiums. The original seating capacity was 43,204, although about 3,000 bleacher seats were added in the outfield for the All-Star Game in 1967 (this was the longest All-Star Game of all time, won by the National League 2-1 in 15 innings on a solo home run by the Cincinnati Reds' Tony Perez).

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The general shape of the playing field was very similar to their previous home, except for having somewhat less foul territory. The seemingly over-precise dimensions (333 feet instead of 330, for example) were derived from a scientific study conducted by the Angels to try to formulate dimensions that were fairly balanced between pitcher, hitter and average weather conditions. The Angels tinkered with those dimensions several times, expanding or contracting parts of the outfield by a few feet here and there, to try to refine that balance. It seemed to help pitcher Nolan Ryan, whose astonishing record of 7 career no-hitters included 2 in this ballpark, and who racked up 2,416 of his incredible 5,714 career strikeouts record in a mere 8 seasons with the Angels.

Although this stadium was primarily known as a baseball park through the Super70s, it has hosted high school and college football games, National Football League pre-season games, the short-lived World Football League, and musical concerts featuring such acts as the Rolling Stones and Madonna. An urban legend that persists, although it has never been proved, has it that marijuana seeds left on the outfield grass by concert-goers sprouted into full-grown plants which had to be uprooted and destroyed by ground crews.

In the late 1970s, Los Angeles Rams owner Carroll Rosenbloom brokered a deal by which the Rams would move from Los Angeles to an expanded Anaheim Stadium. To add more seats (eventually about 23,000) for football games, the stadium was enclosed, with the mezzanine and upper decks extended completely around the playing field. An elevated bank of bleachers was built in right field, and temporary seats were placed underneath, to be pulled out for football games. Another bank of bleachers was built in left field. As a result, the view of the local mountains and State Highway 57 was lost. Additionally, the 23-story, 240-ton Big A scoreboard that had stood in left field, and from whence the nickname for the stadium originated, was moved 1300 feet to the parking lot. A black and white scoreboard/instant replay video board was installed above the newly constructed upper deck seats in left field, but was later deemed inadequate, especially during day games. (In 1988 the scoreboard was replaced by a Sony Jumbotron color video board, with black and white matrix scoreboards installed above the right field upper deck and the infield upper deck.) The expansion was completed in time for the 1980 NFL season, and the Rams played in Anaheim Stadium from then until their move to St. Louis after the 1994 season. Most famous among the Los Angeles Rams players who played here was running back Eric Dickerson, who became the second player in NFL history to run for over 2,000 yards in a season in 1984.

The January 17, 1994 Northridge earthquake that was centered in the community of Northridge, in the San Fernando Valley area of the city of Los Angeles, caused the Sony Jumbotron to collapse onto the upper deck seats beneath it. Fortunately, the earthquake occurred in the predawn hours of a national holiday (Martin Luther King, Jr. Day) and the stadium was unoccupied, so nobody was hurt. The monitor was reinstalled directly on the back of the upper deck stands.

In 1996, the City of Anaheim and The Walt Disney Company, owner of the Angels at the time, agreed to a new deal that would keep the Angels in Anaheim until 2031, with an option to leave the facility early in 2018. As part of the deal, the stadium would undergo an extensive renovation, returning the stadium to its original role as a baseball-only facility. The section of the stadium behind the outfield wall was demolished, replaced by smaller outfield pavilions and a large water fountain. Disney briefly considered moving the Big A scoreboard to its original location, but decided against such a move, citing costs. Despite the fact that much of the stadium was still a hard-hat zone, the demolition and construction being only half-completed, the Angels played their 1997 season in Anaheim. Fans arriving to the newly named Edison Field were greeted to a restored view of the San Gabriel and Santa Ana Mountains, the Brea Hills, and the 57 freeway beyond the outfield.

Edison Field!

Opening Day 2003, a game featuring the defending World Series champion Anaheim Angels and the Texas Rangers.

Photo by DOD (Staff Sgt. Chad McMeen)

The field dimensions of the renovated stadium became somewhat asymmetrical, with the 8-foot high fence in right center field, which earlier hid a bank of temporary bleachers that were pulled out from under the upper levels for football games, replaced by a 19-foot high wall which contains a scoreboard displaying out-of-town scores of other games. A plaza was built around the perimeter of the stadium, and inside are statues depicting longtime Angel owner and chairman Gene Autry and Michelle Carew, daughter of former Angel Rod Carew (who also played for the Minnesota Twins), who died of leukemia at the age of 17.

04/19/1966 White Sox 3, Angels 1
Umpires Johnny Stevens, Bob Stewart
  Bill Haller, Emmett Ashford
Managers Bill Rigney, Angels
  Eddie Stanky, White Sox
Starting Pitchers Marcelino Lopez, Angels
  Tommy John, White Sox
Ceremonial Pitch Anaheim Mayor Fred Krein
Attendance 31,660
Batter Tommie Agee (ground out)
Hit Jim Fregosi (double)
Run Rick Reichardt
RBI Rick Reichardt
Single Buck Rodgers
Double Jim Fregosi
Triple Paul Schaal (04/20/1966)
Home Run Rick Reichardt
Grand Slam Curt Blefary (06/06/1967)
IPHR Paul Schaal (08/02/1966)
Stolen Base Tommie Agee
Sacrifice Hit Marcelino Lopez
Sacrifice Fly Paul Schaal (04/21/1966)
Cycle Jim Fregosi (05/20/1968)
Win Tommy John
Loss Marcelino Lopez
Shutout Fred Newman, Bob Lee
Save Eddie Fisher
Hit by Pitch Marcelino Lopez hit
Floyd Robinson
Wild Pitch Juan Pizarro (04/21/1966)
Balk Dennis Higgins (04/20/1966)
No-hitter Clyde Wright (07/03/1970)
Primary research by Jim Herdman & David Vincent
Courtesy of Retrosheet

Replacing the 20,000 seats in the outfield are bleacher seats, a video display board, an out of town scoreboard below the right field seats, a "California Spectacular" in which geysers erupt and a stream cascades down a mountainside covered with real trees, artificial rocks behind the left-center field fence, and new bullpens. All of the multicolored seats were replaced by green seats. The exterior of the stadium was also renovated. The concrete structure and ramps were painted a very Southern California combination of green and sandstone. Much of the facade of the stadium was torn down to create more open feeling for visitors. The new main entrance includes two giant Angel hats and a complete-sized brick infield with a regulation pitchers mound. Many families enjoy a game of catch here before entering the ballpark.

In 1997 a sponsorship deal was reached with Edison International, giving it the naming rights over the stadium for 20 years, and during this time, the stadium was referred to as the Big Ed. However, after the 2003 season, Edison International exercised its option to exit the sponsorship deal. On December 29, 2003, the Angels announced that from then on the stadium would be known as Angel Stadium (in full, Angel Stadium of Anaheim), although locals still refer to the stadium as Anaheim Stadium, and its original nickname The Big A was restored.

The field was host to Major League Baseball's All-Star Game in 1967 (the first All-Star Game to be played on prime-time television, although two All-Star Games were played at night during World War II) and again in 1989. It hosted three American League Division Series (2002, 2004, and 2005) and five American League Championship Series (1979, 1982, 1986, 2002, and 2005). Most notably, it hosted the 2002 World Series, which the Angels won in dramatic fashion over the San Francisco Giants, finally winning one for their late and long-time owner, "Singing Cowboy" Gene Autry.

Famous individual baseball milestones attained here include Mickey Mantle's last game-winning home run, Nolan Ryan's striking out of nine straight Boston Red Sox, Reggie Jackson's 500th career home run and Rod Carew's 3,000th career base hit.

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Related Books on Ballparks
The Ballpark Book: A Journey Through the Fields of Baseball Magic by Ron Smith and Kevin Belford.
Ballpark: The Story of America's Baseball Fields by Lynn Curlee
Ballparks: A Panoramic History by Marc Sandalow and Jim Sutton.
Ballparks by Robert Von Goeben and Red Howard.
Ballparks: Then & Now by Eric Enders.
Baseball Vacations: Great Family Trips to Minor League and Classic Major League Ballbarks Across America by Bruce Adams and Margaret Engel.
Blue Skies, Green Fields: A Celebration of 50 Major League Baseball Stadiums by Ira Rosen.
Diamonds: The Evolution of the Ballpark by Michael Gershman.
Fields of Dreams: A Guide to Visiting and Enjoying All 30 Major League Ballparks by Jay Ahuja
Green Cathedrals: The Ultimate Celebration of All Major League and Negro League Ballparks by Philip J. Lowry.
Joe Mock's Ballpark Guide by Joe Mock.
Lost Ballparks: A Celebration of Baseball's Legendary Fields by Lawrence S. Ritter.
Roadside Baseball: A Guide to Baseball Shrines Across America by Chris Epting.
Take Me Out to the Ballpark: An Illustrated Tour of Baseball Parks Past and Present by Josh Leventhal and Jessica Macmurray.
The Ultimate Baseball Road-Trip: A Fan's Guide to Major League Stadiums by Joshua Pahigian and Kevin O'Connell.
Video: Story of America's Classic Ballparks
Video: Baseball: A Film by Ken Burns

Economics of Stadiums
City Baseball Magic: Plain Talk and Uncommon Sense about Cities and Baseball Parks by Philip Bess.
Field of Schemes: How the Great Stadium Swindle Turns Public Money into Private Profit by Joanna Cagan and Neil deMause.
Public Dollars, Private Stadiums: The Battle over Building Sports Stadiums by Kevin J. Delaney and Rick Eckstein.
Sports, Jobs, and Taxes: The Economic Impact of Sports Teams and Stadiums by Roger G. Noll and Andrew Zimbalist.

General Stadium Reference:
Sports Staff of USA Today. The Complete 4 Sport Stadium Guide. Fodor's, 1996.

Stadium Design and Financing References:
Philip Bess. City Baseball Magic: Plain Talk and Uncommon Sense about Cities and Baseball Parks. Knothole Press, 1999.
Joanna Cagan and Neil deMause. Field of Schemes: How the Great Stadium Swindle Turns Public Money into Private Profit. Common Courage Press, 1998.
Mark S. Rosentraub. Major League Losers: The Real Cost of Sports and Who's Paying for It. HarperCollins, 1997.
Kevin J. Delaney, Rick Eckstein. Public Dollars, Private Stadiums: The Battle over Building Sports Stadiums. Rutgers University Press, 2004.
Roger G. Noll and Andrew Zimbalist. Sports, Jobs, and Taxes: The Economic Impact of Sports Teams and Stadiums. Brookings Institution, 1997.
Dean V. Baim. The Sports Stadium as a Municipal Investment. Greenwood Publishing, 1994.
Stadia: A Design and Development Guide by Geraint John and Rod Sheard. Architectural Press, 2000.
Michelle Provoost, Matthjis Bouw and Camiel Van Winkel. The Stadium: Architecture of Mass Sport. NAI Publishers, 2000.

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USGS Photo

Year by Year statistics: for Anaheim Stadium

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