This is the story of two baseball fields, two teams, and two brothers.
Wrigley Field in Chicago is home to the 2016 World Champions Chicago Cubs. While that Wrigley Field is the major’s second oldest ballpark it was not the first Wrigley Field to bear that name. The first Wrigley Field was in Los Angeles, California.
In 1925, William K. Wrigley Jr. built a new ballpark for the Pacific Coast League’s Los Angeles Angels. That ballpark opened, in 1925, with the name Wrigley Field. Two years later, in 1927, Cub’s Park in Chicago was renamed Wrigley Field.
In 1958, the Brooklyn Dodgers moved west forcing the P.C.L. to relocate the Triple-A Angels away from Los Angeles.
Then, in 1960… Gene Autry… yes, the “Singing Cowboy,” purchased the major league expansion entry ticketed for Los Angeles. Autry purchased an American League team but didn’t have a major league stadium for them to play in. So, for a single season, the expansion Angels played at Wrigley Field in LA.
Ken Aspromonte is the last living man to play major league baseball in both Wrigley Fields.
First, Ken was a member of the expansion Angels playing in LA’s Wrigley Field in 1961. Then, Ken finished his playing career with the Chicago Cubs in Wrigley Field on the north side of Chicago.
Ken’s younger brother Bob had played for the Brooklyn Dodgers and then played for the Los Angeles Dodgers during the same 1961 season when Ken was an Angel across town.
Bob was also the last former Brooklyn Dodger to play in the majors and the last former Houston Colt 45 to play for the renamed Houston Astros.
While baseball focuses on scores and outcomes, the Aspromonte brothers remind us that baseball is also about family and even sometimes about obscure connections on and off the field.
Until next time… for Stories Beyond the Scores… I’m Chris Reynolds.