Top 5 Opening Day moments in Halos history

February 8th, 2021

There’s nothing quite like Opening Day, signifying a fresh start for all 30 clubs and the beginning of the grind of a 162-game season.

Every club has had its share of memorable moments on Opening Day, so is compiling the Top 5 Opening Day memories for each team. Here’s the Angels' list:

1) Iannetta shines in MLB's first Interleague opener; Trout makes first Opening Day start
April 1, 2013

Chris Iannetta drove in all three runs for the Angels, hitting a solo home run and delivering a bases-loaded single in the 13th inning to topple the Reds in the first Interleague opener in MLB history. Jered Weaver started for the Halos and became the first American League pitcher to bat on Opening Day since 1972. At 4 hours, 45 minutes, the Angels' 3-1 win marked the longest season opener in franchise history. It also marked the first Opening Day start in center field for superstar Mike Trout, who won the AL Rookie of the Year Award the previous season but didn’t make the Opening Day roster. Trout went 1-for-6 in the game and finished second in the balloting for the AL MVP Award for the second consecutive season.

2) Angels win first game in franchise history
April 11, 1961

The Halos debuted under original owner Gene Autry and played their first game against the Orioles on a cold day at Baltimore’s Memorial Stadium. Ted Kluszewski homered in each of the first two innings to set the tone for the Angels in a 7-2 victory. Bob Cerv also homered and Eli Grba threw a complete game, allowing two runs (one earned) on six hits and four walks, outpitching future three-time All-Star Milt Pappas. Grba gave the game ball to Autry after the game, winning the club’s first game for the Cowboy.

3) Renovated Angel Stadium debuts
April 1, 1998

Angel Stadium, then known as Edison Field, was renovated throughout the 1997 season but the Angels continued to play through the construction that saw the ballpark converted back to a baseball-only facility after sharing the venue with the NFL's Rams for more than a decade. Disney owned the Halos at the time and made several memorable changes, including adding the rock fountain in center field and painting the seats green, essentially what the stadium looks like today. The game was delayed by rain but it didn't stop the Angels and Chuck Finley from beating the Yankees, 4-1. Finley allowed just one run over seven innings against a powerful New York squad that went on to win 114 games.

4) Angels celebrate 2002 World Series title
March 30, 2003

The Angels lost their opener against the Rangers, 6-3, but it didn’t matter for the fans who were there to celebrate the club’s 2002 World Series title, the first and only championship in club history. Tim Salmon raised the championship flag along with owner Jackie Autry, while a larger replica of the World Series trophy was placed in center field during batting practice. John Lackey, the hero in the Angels' Game 7 win over the Giants, allowed five runs over five innings in the loss.

5) Vladimir Guerrero makes Angels debut; Glaus homers twice
April 6, 2004

Arte Moreno bought the team before the 2004 season, and his first big splash was signing Vladimir Guerrero to a five-year deal worth $70 million. Guerrero went on to win the AL MVP Award in his first season and made an immediate impact on Opening Day, going 1-for-4 with a double and two RBIs. Third baseman Troy Glaus also homered twice to lift the Angels to a 10-5 win over the Mariners. Bartolo Colon got the victory, allowing one unearned run over six innings.