Bookmark and Share

The Forgotten Field of Dreams: the LA Wrigley Field

Wrigley Field featuring the Los Angeles Angels | Spectators watched as the Pacific Coast League Los Angeles Angels played on a cloudy day in 1933.

Modern Day Park | Instead of a professional baseball team, the field is now open for the community. Children, families, and many roamers take advantage of the open space in a crowded Los Angeles.

View Larger Map Where Wrigley Field stood | The Gilbert-Lindsay Recreation Center and the Kedren Community Mental Health Center is now in its place.
The Importance of Wrigley Field and why it fell apart
In order to truly understand the importance of the Wrigley Field in Los Angeles in LA's history and culture, I spoke with Annenberg professor Daniel Durbin. Durbin specializes in sports media and is a local Angeleno. Not only is Durbin a scholarly expert on the field and the impact of the Pacific Coast League in the world of baseball, he related to the topic with nostalgia, citing a story where his grandfather and his father went to an Angels game for some male bonding time.
Staying Safe On The Bike
In a neighborhood with only one mile of bike lanes, people are out to improve bicycle infrastructure and safety.
The Masjid Bilal Islamic Center Has Big Expansion Plans
With a desire to spread its message to the community, the center has future plans for a mosque, community center, and mixed-retail and residential developments.
Clothes on the Streets
This is a look into clothing vendors in unexpected places: on the streets and outside people’s homes.

By Sammi Wong

When most people think of Wrigley Field, the words Los Angeles are not exactly the first ones to come to mind. While the Wrigley Field in Chicago has become an iconic stadium for the world of baseball and American culture, the original Wrigley Field, opened two years before its counterpart in Chicago, stands forgotten and deserted.

The field, home of the minor league baseball team the Los Angeles Angels of the Pacific Coast League (PCL) from 1925-1957, has now been transformed into a mental hospital, a parking lot, and a little league field.

The 11 league titles that the Angels racked up over three decades are now simply a faint memory for a select few and a sense of nostalgia for a league that no longer exists.

But it wasn’t always deserted.

At one point in LA history, the Wrigley Field played an important part in the culture and identity of being an Angeleno. At the height of its glory, Angels’ games were often sold out and the field, which holds 19,000 people, thrived.

In addition to being home of the Angels, the field also hosted the Hollywood Stars for 11 years, from 1926-1935 and in 1938. The two teams had an incredible rivalry between them that often brought many fans to their feet at the games.

The Hollywood Stars will eventually move to Gilmore Field but the rivalry remained for as long as the PCL continued.

Victor Logan, a resident on Central Avenue, said that he had fond memories of his father taking him to an Angels-Stars game.

“There were policemen who would guard the dugout in order to prevent fights from breaking out between the two teams,” Logan said. “I remember thinking that I wanted a fight to start just to see one in person.”

Brawls were common occurrences during baseball games in those days. And the players were not the only participants.

On Aug. 31, 1953, the LA Examiner reported a fight during an Angels game.

“A riot among spectators at yesterday’s double-header between Hollywood (Stars) and Los Angeles (Angels) was broken up by two policemen after two San Bernardino carpenters enjoying the game filled a paper bag with beer and threw it over the crowd,” the paper reported.

It is safe to say that LA used to be a city that was passionate about baseball – more so than any other sports including basketball and college football.

The rivalry between the Stars and the Angels ended when the major league baseball team the Brooklyn Dodgers announced their move to LA forcing both teams to move. The Angels moved to Spokane, Washington where they became the Spokane Indians and the Stars to Salt Lake city where they became the Salt Lake Bees.

On top of its intricate baseball history, Wrigley Field also played a part in the film industry in LA. Movies such as “Angels in the Outfield,” and “The Pride of the Yankees,” featured scenes shot at the field. It was also the main backdrop for the show “Home Run Derby” in 1960.

Drama was present in Wrigley Field’s onscreen life and it was present in its reality.

Once the Angels left for Washington, Wrigley Field was in search of another team to take its place. The Dodgers considered taking up residence there briefly before opting for more seating capacity over history. They will eventually put up shop in Chavez Ravine with Dodger Stadium, which seats 56,000.

Besides the Dodgers, the Los Angeles Chargers, a National Football League team also requested permission to use Wrigley Field. The City of Los Angeles denied the permission due to talks with the Dodgers.

For just one year, the Los Angeles Angels, a new team that is part of the Major League, will take up residence in Wrigley Field. Despite having a phenomenal season in 1961, winning 70 games and setting the record of highest winning-games percentage, .425, of any expansion teams in their first year, the Angels would not stay in Wrigley.

In the year 1962 and on, Wrigley Field would find itself without a PCL baseball team, a MLB team, or a NFL team. In 1969, the city decided to demolished the field and turn it into a recreational park.

Years passed and people forgot. Now, all that of the historic Wrigley Field that remains is a sign that says “Wrigley Little League field.”

Children instead of professional play there now. Parents instead of reporters watch.