The history behind the California Angels calling themselves the "Anahiem Angels."

I remember back in the 80’s, the late Howard Cosell would say that sports teams should use the city that they play in in their name. The Arlington Rangers? The Meadowlands Giants and Jets? How about those Irving Cowboys!

One franchise actually had the balls to do it. The team formerly known as the California Angels. IMHO, that is so cool!

Why did they do it? Did the city of Anaheim (Anahiem?) put up some cash, or build them a new stadium? Or did the franchise just decide it would be cool to actually use the name of the city they play in?

I don’t know the reasons for certain, but here’s my speculation:

They were originally the Los Angeles Angels until owner Gene Autry moved them to Anaheim in 1965. Presumably, Anaheim was a small and unknown enough town at the time that he figured California Angels was a better-sounding name.

As for the change to Anaheim Angels, Disney bought the team (or a 25% stake, at least) in 1995. Since the 60’s, Anaheim has become well known as the location of the Disneyland theme park, so I’d guess that Disney changed the name in order to draw the team’s image closer to the overall Disney brand. Same goes for The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim.

Hate to shatter your thoughts of balls and coolness, but I think it was just a corporate marketing ploy.

I should add that The Mighty Ducks are also Disney-owned.

FWIW, Anaheim is near the Santa Ana River. (Note to those who don’t live in the American Southwest: “River” is a somewhat generous name for “waterways” out here. Many of them are only trickles most of the year, and the L.A. River is mostly lined with concrete – a giant flood control channel.) Anaheim was settled by German immigrants who grew wine for grapes. The “Ana” in Anaheim comes from the name of the river, and “Heim” is German for “home”. So Anaheim means “Home by the Santa Ana River”. At least, that’s what the local authorities say. (Oh, and about those grapes? Wiped out by disease. The immigrants started growing oranges instead. Hence, Orange County.)

FYI, Disneyland opened in Anaheim in 1955 – ten years before the Angels moved there in 1965. Disneyland, its founder (Walt Disney), and its location (Anaheim) have been quite big news and nationally known since the early 1950s.

BTW – I live in San Francisco and I must say that the “rally monkey” can bite me. Go Giants!

Sublight’s speculation is correct. Disney wanted to reenforce the image of Anaheim as not just a faceless suburb but a bona fide tourist destination, with more than just Disneyland. So they renamed the Angels.

Just wanted to point out that with the San Diego Padres, Oakland Athletics, San Francisco Giants, and Los Angeles Dodgers, it’s cool that the Angels no longer presumptively claim the whole of the state for its fan base :smiley:

[sub]Is it “Oakland As”? “Oakland A’s”? Sigh. Perhaps sports team names shouldn’t be shortened. Repeat after me: “New York Knickerbockers”. “New York Metropolitans”. “Chicago White Stockings”.[/sub]

When the Angels moved out of Dodger Stadium and started looking for their own home, other cities wanted to have their name put in to the team name. Long Beach wanted the Long Beach Angels.

Gene Autry, the Angels owner at the time, didn’t think that “Long Beach” sounded big league enough. The people of Anaheim didn’t care much. They just wanted the prestige of MLB.

Eventually, Anaheim’s stature grew to “Major League” level, probably helped out by the presence of the Ducks with the name Anaheim in it.

There was an ABA team in Anaheim briefly, the Anaheim Amigos. They eventually moved to L.A. as Anaheim was not quite ready for the NBA.

It has often been speculated that Anaheim would be a good home for the Clippers, but the Clippers owner doesn’t want to play there.

Of course, Disney was known well before his park opened, and so was Anaheim – at least to listeners of Jack Benny’s radio program, on which Mel Blanc (the voice of Bugs Bunny, Barney Rubble, et alii) played an L.A. Union Station announcer whose signature line was “Train leaving on Track Five for Anaheim, Azusa and Cuc----amonga.” For the story, see

The Angels have played in the same stadium since 1966. Anaheim Staidum was renovated (enclosed) in 1979 to accomodate the L.A. Rams; then, after the Rams left for St. Louis, the outfield was reopened and the stadium was renamed Edison International Field. It really is a remarkable thing that they have played in the same–and before the 1997 renovation, rather crappy–stadium for so long.


Nor, judging by their performance, anywhere else.


To those of a later (but still among the aging these days) generation, Jan and Dean’s infamous Little Old Lady from Pasadena (who drove a Dodge stock car) belonged to the Anaheim, Azuza, and Cucamonga Book Review and Timing Association.

Actually, they’d be the East Rutherford Giants and the East Rutherford Jets.

“Anaheim Angels” works because it’s aliterative. Naming after actual cities would work in some cases (The NHL’s Uniondale Islanders wouldn’t be bad) and not work in others (The NFL’s Orchard Park Bills). Foxboro Patriots, ho!

Let’s not forget the Inglewood Lakers!

Oh, and isn’t Disney selling the Ducks and Angels?

But for the last three seasons, they have been the Los Angeles Lakers in both name and fact.

Disney is looking for a buyer for both the Angels and Ducks. Presumably, the price for the Angels went up a bit.

The Lakers no longer play at the Forum (The Great Western Forum, but then again, there’s no Great Western Bank anymore).

They play at the Staples Center along with the Clippers. Their address is now really Los Angeles: