Baseball in Orange County (Images of America)
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Organized baseball in Orange County began in the late 1880s when community teams began forming among oil well workers. Around 1900, a farm boy from Kansas named Walter Johnson arrived with his family. Soon, the flame-throwing future hall-of-fame pitcher would be dominating games throughout the county as a star for Fullerton Union High School. As the popularity of baseball grew, more teams and leagues formed in Santa Ana, Anaheim, Huntington Beach, and other cities. Connie Mack brought the Philadelphia Athletics to spring train in Orange County in the 1940s. Joe DiMaggio played for his Santa Ana Air Base team after joining the Army. Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jackie Robinson, and many other legends visited Orange County over the years. Dozens of well-known players grew up here, and many are laid to rest here. In 1966, the California Angels played their first game in Orange County, where they remain today as the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The baseball history in Orange County is rich--and surprising.
worker. Among Hall of Fame shortstops, Arky Vaughan’s .318 lifetime batting average ranks second only to Honus Wagner’s .327 mark. Vaughan played most of his career with the Pittsburgh Pirates but also spent some time with the Brooklyn Dodgers. Despite leaving his home state of Arkansas before his first birthday, one of Vaughan’s schoolmates tagged the future ballplayer with the moniker “Arky.” He graduated from Fullerton High School. Dan Quisenberry, a graduate of Costa Mesa High School in
Draft and made his major-league debut on June 16, 1973. He pitched for San Diego through the 1980 season but was then traded to the New York Mets, and after the 1982 season he was sent to the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Pirates released him before the 1983 season started, thus ending his playing career. His career win-loss record was just 100-123, and he remains the only Cy Young winner with a losing record. Mark Grace graduated from Tustin High School in 1980. With 2,445 career hits and a .303
1995, Hamilton, along with several athletes, decided to open the Newport Sports Museum. Always free to the public, it is one of the premier sports museums in the world and a world-class baseball memorabilia reliquary. Just before entering the museum, visitors pass through a vintage turnstile rescued from Connie Mack Stadium in Philadelphia. Given that Mack brought his Philadelphia Athletics team to spring train in Anaheim, it seems somewhat appropriate. The museum features an impressive display
young players so they could have the most dominant teams. And there is much more to the story of Orange County baseball history. Jackie Robinson came to Anaheim to film the story of his life at a little ballpark called La Palma, which is also the place where Joe DiMaggio played while stationed in the Army. It is also the spot where the Anaheim Valencias won the Sunset League championship in 1947, as well as where manager Connie Mack brought his Philadelphia Athletics for spring training in the
background, is the main entrance to Amerige Park, a pagoda-shaped structure with a tile roof. Coincidentally, Brown later became part owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates. In 1951, additional grandstands were constructed at Amerige. By this point, the park was also used for high school and college games. This is where the California State University, Fullerton Titans played before Goodwin Field was built on campus. In the 1960s, youth league teams moved in (PCL spring training was long gone), and