Monday, July 4, 2011

Of holidays and baseball

Fireworks Notes & Quotes
It was on the 4th of July, 1962, 49 years ago that the L.A. Angels, just a season and a half into their existence as a franchise in the American League, took possession of first place by sweeping the old Washington Senators in a holiday doubleheader at Griffith Stadium in D.C.
At that time, it was a widely held belief in baseball that the teams that held first place on the Fourth of July would go on to win the pennant and meet in the World Series.
Although the regular season schedule had been expanded from 154 to 162 games the year before, there were no post-season playoffs, so the World Series started almost immediately after the last game was over.


add Angels: Gene Autry's Cherubs were the toast of L.A. that summer and a headline in the L.A. Times reflected the town's euphoric support. "Heaven Can Wait, Angels in 1st on 4th."


last add Angels: The club stayed atop the standings just one day, however, as they moved on to New York to play the powerful Yankees, who knocked them out of first place. The Angels battled the Yankees down the stretch into September but New York was too strong, both in pitching and home-run hitting depth, and Los Angeles finished in third place. Not a bad showing for an expansion team just two years old.

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