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Patterson Back With the Angels

August 29, 1985|MIKE DiGIOVANNA | Times Staff Writer

Arthur E. (Red) Patterson, who resigned last April as a member of the Angels' board of directors and assistant to owner Gene Autry under a cloud of discontent, has returned to the team as a consultant for community and public relations affairs.

Patterson, one of baseball's most innovative and successful publicists and marketing executives, rejoined the team in early August but has been working from his Fullerton home in a reduced capacity. His responsibilities include speaking engagements and consulting Autry and members of the Angels' publicity department.

"I feel I'm in a spot to see things like a fan, and if I have any suggestions, I make them," Patterson, 76, said. "Being away from baseball for four months gave me a better perspective of the game I've been so close to since I got out of high school."

A former sportswriter with the New York Herald Tribune, Patterson spent 28 years as a publicist with the Yankees and Dodgers and is credited with introducing yearbooks, old-timers' days and other popular promotional events.

He was hired by Autry as club president in 1975 and a short time later was named assistant to the owner. Patterson also served as team vice president under Buzzie Bavasi and was heavily involved in community relations with the City of Anaheim.

At the time of his resignation, Patterson said that the hiring last year of advertising executive John Hays as the club's vice president of marketing had stripped him of any authority in the organization and ultimately led to his decision to resign.

Hays' hiring, orchestrated by Jackie Autry, wife of the owner, was part of the Angels' attempt to build a younger organization, on and off the field.

"I reached a point where I felt my continued zeal was unappreciated," Patterson said at the time. "I felt useless. I told Gene that the only way to straighten out the situation was to put a baseball man back in charge, but I knew that wouldn't happen. I have my pride. I could only take so much."

Patterson said he has worked out any differences he had with the Autrys and other front-office personnel. He declined to discuss his departure.

"I don't want to get into that again," he said. "I said a lot of things I probably shouldn't have said, and I'd just as soon not talk about it."

In addition to speaking engagements, Patterson has been busy this month consulting the Angels in their legal conflict with the City of Anaheim over the development of the stadium parking area.

The team has filed a suit in an attempt to stop the city from building high-rise structures on the present parking surface. The case is scheduled to be heard on Nov. 4.

Patterson doesn't have as much power or influence in the organization as he used to, but he seems to be happy in his new role.

"I just work out of home, take assignments and go here and there," he said. "I don't want a routine where I have to go to work at 9 a.m. and stay until the game is over at midnight. At 76, you have to enjoy something."

The Angel front office appears happy to have Patterson back.

"As far as we're concerned, Red just took a much-deserved, four-month vacation," said Tim Mead, director of communications. "He utilizes his many talents and years of experience to spread more about the team throughout the community.

"He's probably one of the greatest speakers, locally and across the country, as far as baseball is concerned. The most positive thing about Red is that you always hear his name, and he'll always be there for the Angels."

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