9 must-see Angels artifacts at Hall of Fame

February 8th, 2022

In terms of tradition, the Angels might suffer somewhat in comparison to their Los Angeles neighbors, the Dodgers, who rank as one of baseball’s most storied franchises.

Yet from Nolan Ryan to Mike Trout and everybody in between, the Halos have built their share of legacies and tasted their share of success. And they have the mementos to prove it.

The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum’s collection of more than 40,000 three-dimensional pieces contains artifacts that tell the story of the game’s legendary players, moments and triumphs. Whether you’ve visited before or you’ve always wanted to check it out, there's always a great reason to plan a visit to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum -- the spiritual home of America’s Pastime in beautiful Cooperstown, N.Y.

1. Capping a remarkable year
Where: One for the Books exhibit
Fun facts: Ryan was so dominant in 1973 that he threw not one, but two no-hitters. This is the cap he wore in his second no-no of the year, a breathtaking 17-strikeout performance in a 6-0 win over Detroit on July 15. Tigers slugger Norm Cash provided hilarity by bringing a table leg to the plate instead of his bat in the ninth inning to amplify the point that Ryan was truly unhittable. Many hitters shared Cash’s sentiment that year as Ryan amassed 383 strikeouts, topping Sandy Koufax’s single-season record by one.

2. Reggie’s awesome anniversary
Where: One for the Books exhibit
Fun facts: Reggie Jackson wore this batting helmet as he joined the select 500-home run club with a drive to right field in Anaheim on Sept. 17, 1984. Coincidentally, Jackson hit his first Major League home run at the same ballpark 17 years earlier as a rookie with the Kansas City A’s.

3. Carew scales milestone plateau
Where: Viva Baseball exhibit
Fun facts: Rod Carew did so much with a bat in his hand that it seemed more like a magic wand. The seven-time American League batting champion used this particular bat to stroke his 3,000th career hit on Aug. 4, 1985. Fittingly, the opposite-field single that he delivered for No. 3,000 came at the expense of the Minnesota Twins, with whom Carew spent the first 12 seasons of his Hall of Fame career.

4. A sudden slugger
Where: Autumn Glory exhibit
Fun facts: Adam Kennedy, who finished his 14-year Major League career with 80 home runs in 6,055 plate appearances, muscled up in Game 5 of the 2002 AL Championship Series. He used this bat to mash three home runs in consecutive at-bats to seal a 13-5 triumph over the Twins that sent the Angels to the World Series.

5. Not just monkeying around
Where: Autumn Glory exhibit
Fun facts: Remember the “Rally Monkey”? The image of the championship chimp appeared on the video screen of the scoreboard at home games when the Angels needed runs. Rally Monkey proved especially effective in Game 6 of the 2002 World Series, when the Angels erased a 5-0 Giants lead in the late innings to prevail and set up a title-winning triumph the next night.

6. A season to savor
Where: One for the Books exhibit
Fun facts: Francisco Rodriguez combined outstanding stuff with a distracting delivery to become one of baseball’s most formidable closers. This was the jersey he wore on Sept. 13, 2008, when he notched his 58th save to eclipse the single-season mark set by Bobby Thigpen of the White Sox in 1990. Rodriguez hiked his record total to 62 by season’s end.

7. The start of something big
Where: Whole New Ballgame exhibit
Fun facts: Trout wore this cap during the 2012 season, when he led the Majors with 129 runs and 49 stolen bases despite opening the year in the Minors. Trout was a unanimous choice in the AL Rookie of the Year Award balloting and finished second to Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera for the AL Most Valuable Player Award.

8. These shoes were made for doubling
Where: Locker Room exhibit
Fun facts: This is the footwear that helped propel Albert Pujols to second base on Sept. 16, 2016, when he hit his 600th career double. He joined Hank Aaron and Barry Bonds as the only players to amass 600 doubles and at least 575 home runs. Pujols later joined Aaron and Bonds in the 600-double, 600-homer club.

9. Oh, to observe Ohtani!
Where: Locker Room exhibit
Fun facts: It didn’t take long for Shohei Ohtani to become the Majors’ best two-way performer since Babe Ruth. In his big league pitching debut on April 1, 2018, Ohtani yielded three runs and struck out six in six innings to earn the decision in the Angels’ 7-4 victory over Oakland. Two days later, Ohtani wore this helmet and clobbered his first home run, a three-run drive in the first inning off Cleveland’s Josh Tomlin.