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Call them Mickey's mice or Pluto's pups
Mel Durslag
July 20, 1964
Unhappy as tenants in Walter O'Malley's Golden Gulch, the Los Angeles Angels have agreed to move to nearby Disneyland
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July 20, 1964

Call Them Mickey's Mice Or Pluto's Pups

Unhappy as tenants in Walter O'Malley's Golden Gulch, the Los Angeles Angels have agreed to move to nearby Disneyland

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To build its stadium and pay off a $20 million debt at 3�% interest, Anaheim must come up with 30 annual payments of $1,086,000. By its proposed lease with the Angels, the city would collect $160,000 a year, or 7�% of the gross, whichever is higher. It also would keep a third of the profits from concessions and half from parking. But City Manager Keith Murdoch has admitted that even if the club draws as many as 1.5 million a year, the income to Anaheim would run little more than $640,000. If attendance should hit only one million the income would drop to $425,000. "We would try to pick up the rest of the money from other tenants," says Murdoch. "Several revival groups already have expressed an interest in using the stadium."

If income still falls short of $1,086,000 the city would have to make up the difference. "We figure that nothing is a disaster up to $500,000 a year," Murdoch says. "A major league team brings millions of dollars worth of business to your community." The 45,000 registered voters in Anaheim evidently agree with Murdoch. He says that 85% favor taking the huge financial risk.

The way things now stand the Angels, committed to Dodger Stadium through 1965, must notify O'Malley by September 30 of this year if they plan to renew their lease. "We have given Anaheim a letter of intent which obligates us to that city if it produces the stadium," says Angel President Robert Reynolds. "Our prime motivation in moving is dollars. Mr. O'Malley requests that we participate in paying his taxes and he wants to participate in our pay television when this becomes a reality. I have the utmost respect for Walter. He's a lawyer. There's a protective instinct in his makeup. I don't blame him for it, but what's good for him isn't good for us."

Reynolds also says that before considering the Anaheim proposition the Angels asked O'Malley to reduce their rent from the $200,000 a year minimum to $150,000, but were turned down. O'Malley explains the rejection on the grounds that his taxes and cost of operation have gone up. "If the Angels stay with us," he says, "I'm afraid their new rent will be higher. Right now we are being taxed roughly $700,000 a year as a two-team stadium. We have hopes that our rate will be lowered if the Angels move."

If Anaheim produces a stadium, O'Malley is confident that the Angels will get permission from their league to move. "You must realize," he says, "that the Yankees are just about the only team in the American League that can draw enough in Los Angeles to cover hotel and travel expenses. The others are probably willing to try anything to take in more money. Actually, the American League would like the National League to bail it out of trouble with interleague play. I have been told, for example, 'Think of what the Dodgers would draw in Kansas City!' My answer is, 'Yes, and what would Kansas City draw against the Dodgers in Los Angeles?' "

O'Malley believes the Angels are deluding themselves if they think that a new location will solve all their problems. "They need new players more than new stadiums and new images," he says. "People don't come out to see O'Malley or Autry. They want to see Koufax, Drysdale and Wills. If the Angels develop drawing attractions their attendance worries will be over." Some American League owners aren't nearly as concerned with attendance as they are with the name of the team that would move. They wince at the prospect of looking at the standings and finding something called Anaheim, which many people still link with Azusa and Cucamonga from Jack Benny's old running gags on radio.

And what if the deal in Anaheim falls through?

"We will do the only thing we can," says Bob Reynolds. "We will go to O'Malley and try to effect a deal we can live with."

Says one Dodger executive, reading his president's frame of mind, "If the Anaheim deal blows up for the Angels, God help 'em."

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