June 6, 1968

June 6, 1968

By Keith Thursby
Times staff writer

1968_rfk_0606_page631 The Angels were struggling in 1968. Attendance was down again and the team was playing "like zombies in a fog," Bob Reynolds, the team’s president, told The Times’ Ross Newhan.

This was only the Angels’ third season in Anaheim and Reynolds said they had to draw 1 million fans "if a team is to cut it in a major market." And a new competitor was preparing to open soon.

San Diego would join the National League the following season and Reynolds was asked if the Dodgers supported the new franchise as a way to dilute the Anaheim crowds.

"If this was Walter’s idea to hurt the Angels, then he was cutting off his own nose," Reynolds said. "The San Diego attendance won’t reduce Angel attendance as much as it will affect the Dodgers’ television and radio market, and of course, our own."

Walter, of course, was Walter O’Malley, the Dodger owner who had the Angels as a tenant when Dodger Stadium opened in 1962.  Reynolds stressed that there had been areas of cooperation between the teams. I can’t imagine the Dodgers even thinking about the Angels when the National League approved expanding into San Diego. The Angels just weren’t on the same level as the Dodgers.

I remember going to Angels’ games in the late 1960s and ’70s when you could just about pick your seat location on the night of the game. Bad teams meant lousy attendance. Winning would eventually solve a lot of problems.

Amid the gloom of the 1968 season, Reynolds tried to be optimistic. "San Diego has only one direction to draw from and that’s north," he said. "The farther north they come, the more it cuts into our territory. However, Anaheim draws from the north, south, east and west. We have many ways to turn and do not expect major problems."


About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
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