Before the Rams arrived from Cleveland in 1946, Pacific Coast League baseball, college football, boxing and horse racing were the sports staples in Los Angeles.
In 1926, Bill Lane moved his Salt Lake City Bees to Los Angeles, and the team became the Hollywood Stars, who in those early days were also called the Sheiks. The Stars shared Wrigley Field with the Hollywood Angels through the 1935 season. Then Lane moved his Stars south to San Diego, where they became the Padres.
In 1938, the San Francisco Missions moved to Los Angeles and became the Hollywood Stars. They played at Wrigley for a season, then at Gilmore Stadium for a month while awaiting the opening of Gilmore Field, which was built at Beverly Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue, on Los Angeles' Westside.
The Stars were at their best from 1949 through 1957, after which the team was sold and moved to Salt Lake City to clear the area for the Dodgers, who arrived in 1958 from Brooklyn as Los Angeles' first major league team. The Stars had become a minor league team of the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1949, and then switched to the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1950-57.
Hollywood won five Pacific Coast League pennants, in 1929, 1930, 1949, 1952 and '53.
The Los Angeles Angels were one of six original Pacific Coast League teams, and played at Washington Park in downtown L.A. from 1903 through most of the 1925 season. In the early 1920s, the Angels were purchased by William Wrigley Jr., and became a minor league team of the Chicago Cubs. At the end of the 1925 season, the Angels moved into the newly built Wrigley Field at 42nd Place and Avalon Boulevard.
In 1957, Brooklyn owner Walter O'Malley bought the Angels and Wrigley Field from the Cubs. Originally, O'Malley said it was his intent to keep the Angels as a Brooklyn farm team. But when the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles in 1958, O'Malley moved the Angel franchise to Spokane. From 1958 through 1960, no team played at Wrigley Field, which O'Malley, in essence, traded to Los Angeles as a consideration for the Chavez Ravine property, where Dodger Stadium was eventually built.
In 1961, Gene Autry and his business partner, Bob Reynolds, were granted the American League expansion franchise for Los Angeles. Autry named his team the Angels, and the club played its first season at Wrigley Field. In 1962, the Angels moved into Dodger Stadium, sharing it with the Dodgers. Then in 1966, the Angels moved to Anaheim.
The PCL Angels were a winner from the start, suffering their worst era from 1949 through 1954, when the Stars did their best. The Angels won 14 pennants, in 1903, '05, '07, '08, 1916, 1921, '26, 1933, '34, 38, 1943, '44, '47, and 1956.
The Pacific Coast League began in 1903 with six teams--San Francisco, Sacramento, Seattle, Oakland, Los Angeles and Portland--and eventually grew to eight teams.
Each winter from 1945 until 1957, PCL representatives presented a proposal to major league baseball to become a third major league, but to no avail. As a concession, however, baseball changed the PCL's classification in 1952 from triple-A to an open status, which allowed the league a draft and other considerations. But the PCL never became a major league.
Several Hall of Famers began their baseball careers in the PCL, among them Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams. Portland is the only survivor of the original league, which is once again a triple-A league and functions primarily as a farm system for the majors. Cities with teams in the PCL now are Albuquerque, Tucson, Phoenix, Colorado Springs, Portland, Tacoma, Las Vegas, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver.