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1961 Los Angeles Angels season

1961 Los Angeles Angels
Major League affiliations
Location
  • Wrigley Field (since 1961)
  • Los Angeles, California (since 1961)
  • Other information
    Owner(s) Gene Autry
    Manager(s) Bill Rigney
    Local television KHJ
    Local radio KMPC
    (Bob Kelley, Don Wells, Steve Bailey)
         [[1962 Los Angeles Angels season#REDIRECTmw:Help:Magic words#Other
    This page is a soft redirect.Next season  >]]

    The 1961 Los Angeles Angels season ended with the Angels finishing 8th in the American League with a record of 70–91, 38½ games behind the World Champion New York Yankees. It was the Angels' first season in franchise history, and their only season at Wrigley Field. Gene Autry owned the franchise, which was created as a rival to the Los Angeles Dodgers,[citation needed] who played that year at the Coliseum before moving to nearby Dodger Stadium in 1962.

    Offseason

    The Angels, along with the new Washington Senators, were the first ever American League expansion teams. Both teams participated in Major League Baseball's first ever expansion draft. The Angels had the first pick in the 1960 Major League Baseball expansion draft, which they used to select Eli Grba from the New York Yankees. Grba wound up playing two-plus seasons for Los Angeles before returning to the minor leagues.

    Notable transactions

    Regular season

    As an expansion team, the Angels were not expected to do well. However, they not only finished ahead of the Senators, but also the Kansas City A's, who tied the Senators for last place, nine games behind Los Angeles.

    Season standings

    American League W L Pct. GB
    New York Yankees 109 53 .673 --
    Detroit Tigers 101 61 .623 8
    Baltimore Orioles 95 67 .586 14
    Chicago White Sox 86 76 .531 23
    Cleveland Indians 78 83 .484 30.5
    Boston Red Sox 76 86 .469 33
    Minnesota Twins 70 90 .438 38
    Los Angeles Angels 70 91 .435 38.5
    Kansas City Athletics 61 100 .379 47.5
    Washington Senators 61 100 .379 47.5

    Offense

    The Angels were no stranger to offense in their first season, with five players hitting 20 or more home runs, a mark which at the time was considered a remarkable feat.[citation needed] Leon Wagner, who led the team with 28 home runs, was one of the team's best offensive threats, also leading the team by slugging .517. The other players who hit 20 home runs were Ken Hunt (25), Lee Thomas (24), Earl Averill, Jr. (21), and Steve Bilko (20). Albie Pearson, who led the team in batting average, had an on-base percentage of .420, also a mark that was considered more valuable than the current game.[citation needed] Pearson led the team in several other offensive categories, leading the team in stolen bases (11), runs (92), and walks (96). Lee Thomas, who ended the season second on the team in batting at .284, led the team in hits, with 128, edging out Wagner by 1 hit.

    Pitching

    The Angels had a solid starting rotation in their first season. Ken McBride, who led the team with 12 wins, also led the team with 15 losses. Eli Grba had an 11–13 record, good enough for second in both wins and losses amongst the team's pitchers. Ted Bowsfield was the Angels' only starter with a winning record, going 11–8. McBride had 180 strikeouts, 75 more than Grba, who was second on the team with 105. As a team, the Angels led the American League, throwing more strikeouts than any of the other 9 teams.[7] Art Fowler and Tom Morgan were the Angels' top two in saves, with 11 and 10, respectively, leading the team to finish second in the American League in that category.

    Notable transactions

    Roster

    1961 Los Angeles Angels
    Roster
    Pitchers Catchers

    Infielders

    Outfielders

    Other batters

    Manager

    Coaches

    Player stats

    Batting

    Starters by position

    Note: Pos = Position; G = Games played; AB = At bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in

    Pos Player G AB H Avg. HR RBI
    C Averill, EarlEarl Averill 115 323 86 .266 21 59
    1B Bilko, SteveSteve Bilko 114 294 82 .279 20 59
    LF Wagner, LeonLeon Wagner 133 453 127 .280 28 79
    CF Hunt, KenKen Hunt 149 479 122 .255 25 84
    RF Pearson, AlbieAlbie Pearson 144 427 123 .288 7 41

    Other batters

    Note: G = Games played; AB = At bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in

    Player G AB H Avg. HR RBI
    Thomas, LeeLee Thomas 130 450 128 .284 24 70
    Cerv, BobBob Cerv 18 57 9 .158 2 6
    Fregosi, JimJim Fregosi 11 27 6 .222 0 3
    Johnson, LouLou Johnson 1 0 0 ---- 0 0

    Pitching

    Starting pitchers

    Note: G = Games pitched; IP = Innings pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

    Player G IP W L ERA SO
    McBride, KenKen McBride 38 241.2 12 15 3.65 180
    Grba, EliEli Grba 40 211.2 11 13 4.25 105
    Chance, DeanDean Chance 5 18.1 0 2 6.87 11

    Other pitchers

    Note: G = Games pitched; IP = Innings pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

    Player G IP W L ERA SO
    Bowsfield, TedTed Bowsfield 41 157 11 8 3.73 88
    Duren, RyneRyne Duren 40 99 6 12 5.18 108
    Casale, JerryJerry Casale 13 42.2 1 5 6.54 35

    Relief pitchers

    Note: G = Games pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; SV = Saves; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

    Player G W L SV ERA SO
    Morgan, TomTom Morgan 59 8 2 10 2.36 39
    Fowler, ArtArt Fowler 53 5 8 11 3.64 78
    Donohue, JimJim Donohue 38 4 6 5 4.31 79
    James, JohnnyJohnny James 36 0 2 0 5.30 41
    Garver, NedNed Garver 12 0 3 0 5.59 9
    Clevenger, TexTex Clevenger 12 2 1 1 1.69 11
    Heman, RussRuss Heman 6 0 0 0 1.80 2

    Farm system

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    Level Team League Manager

    Notes

    References

    Further reading