Framework

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Aug. 21, 1943: A turnout of 21,742 paying fans attended a benefit game between major league stars, led by Joe DiMaggio, and a team composed of Hollywood Stars and Los Angeles Angels players. The major leaguers won 8-2. This two-photo panorama of Wrigley Field was published in the Aug. 22, 1943, Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Charles Strite / Los Angeles Times

April 10, 1938: Frenchy Uhalt, Hollywood Stars outfielder, had plenty of moral support as he slid across home plate in the ninth inning with run that beat the San Francisco Seals, 4-3, in the double-header opener at Wrigley Field.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Jack Herod / Los Angeles Times

April 8, 1930: Los Angeles Angels and Portland Beavers players pose with L.A. Mayor John Porter during opening day ceremonies at Wrigley Field. The Angels won 3-2. This photo was published in the April 9, 1930, Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Bob Bell / Los Angeles Times

July 17, 1937: More than 30,000 fans crowd the 22,000-seat Wrigley Field for a celebrity charity baseball game for Mt. Sinai Hospital. This three-photo panorama was published in the July 18, 1937, Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times

June 27, 1954: A lucky baseball fan gets himself a souvenir during a game at Wrigley Field between the Pacific Coast League Los Angeles Angels and San Diego Padres. This photo was published in the June 30, 1954, Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Phil Bath / Los Angeles Times

May 18, 1956: About 18,000 spectators pack Wrigley Field for the Sugar Ray Robinson vs. Carl (Bobo) Olson fight. Robinson knocked out Olson in the fourth round.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times Archive/UCLA

Aug. 26, 1956: Steve Bilko of the Los Angels Angels hits his 50th home run of the year in a game against the Pacific Coast League Seattle Rainers at Wrigley Field. A different frame was published in the Aug. 27, 1956, Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Art Rogers / Los Angeles Times Archive/UCLA

March 1956: The entrance and tower of Wrigley Field at East 42nd Place and Avalon Boulevard. This photo was published in the March 28, 1956, Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times Archive/UCLA

April 27, 1961: Eli Grba of the Angels throws the first pitch during the home opener at Wrigley Field. The Twins beat the Angels, 4-2, in front of a small, opening day crowd of 11,931. The expansion American League Los Angeles Angels drew 603,510 fans during their first season.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times / Los Angeles Times

March 19, 1969: Once-plush Wrigley Field succumbs to wreckers. Playing in what used to be center field are Stanley Evans, left, and Kenneth Thompson. This photo was published in the March 21, 1969, Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Cal Montney / Los Angeles Times Archive/UCLA

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Wrigley Field

Wrigley Field was Los Angeles’ baseball home from 1925 until the arrival of the Dodgers in 1958. It opened in 1925 and was torn down in 1969. Wrigley Field was home to the Pacific Coast League Los Angeles Angels, sometimes the Hollywood Stars, and in 1961 — for one season — home of the American League Los Angeles Angels.

Times staff writers Lance Pugmire and David Wharton wrote this 2002 story “Park Place” about Wrigley Field and pre-Dodgers baseball in Los Angeles. From their story:

“Today, Los Angeles is like Mars, but it was so far different then,” said John Schulian, a television writer and former sportswriter raised in the city and its since-demolished ballparks — the Angels’ Wrigley Field and the Hollywood Stars’ Gilmore Field. “It used to be like a small town, with the orange groves, a streetcar system that worked, and a real nice section that was Hollywood. My mother didn’t drive. She went everywhere in town on buses. Can you imagine that?”…

Those were also the days before the Dodgers’ 1958 arrival and the 1961 major league debut of Gene Autry’s expansion Angels. Certainly, football was king in the city — with the Rams, USC and UCLA — but for more than 30 years there were no more important baseball games in the Western United States than those being played at Wrigley, located in South Central Los Angeles on the corner of 42nd Place and Avalon Boulevard.

The Angels debuted when the Pacific Coast League started in 1903, led by a 41-year-old deaf mute center fielder named William “Dummy” Hoy who stole 48 bases and scored a league-best 157 runs. Baseball legend has it that umpires first used signs for balls and strikes because of Hoy. The franchise won five league titles before being purchased for $125,000 by chewing gum magnate and Chicago Cub owner William K. Wrigley Jr. in 1921. The Angels relocated from a downtown park in 1925 to 20,500-seat Wrigley Field, a $1.3-million ballpark designed to look like Chicago’s famed field — with some notable exceptions.

The exterior was California-style — red-roofed with a white facade. The power alleys were a hitter’s dream — 345 feet. There was a 15-foot-high wall in left field with no seating. A 12-story office tower was placed at the entrance. And, in 1931, lights were installed.

“A beautiful park, a monstrous hitter’s park,” said Dick Beverage, president of the Pacific Coast League Historical Society. “The problem with it was the plot of land it was on. The fences couldn’t [connect] in a semicircle. Across the street there [beyond left field] was a bunch of houses. The balls just rained on this one house in the power alley. The window on the top story would be broken, and there were dents on the boards.”

Today, Gilbert Lindsay Park occupies the Wrigley Field site. The park includes a Little League field.

For more, check out the full Park Place article by Lance Pugmire and David Wharton.

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