1965 gave us the first glimmer of a curse...
Four players made their debut for the Angels on Opening Day (actually a night game at Chavez Ravine in Los Angeles), April 13, 1965 against the Cleveland Indians. One of them would be dead a month later.
89. Costen Shockley
90. Jose Cardenal
91. Dick Wantz
92. Ron Piche
The first pitch of the game was grounded to Angel First Baseman Costen Shockley who later singled in his 1st Angel AB, but was left stranded. Shockley had been traded in the off-season to the Angels - along with Pitcher Rudy May - by Philly for Bo Belinsky.
Centerfielder Jose Cardenal led the Angels half of the First Inning off with a line out to First Base. Traded by the Giants in the offseason in exchange for Jack Hiatt, Cardenal was a cousin of Bert Campaneris. He would stick around with the club long enough to play 388 games with the Angels and would stay in the major leagues thru the 1980 season, his final 2 games in the bigs coming in the world series that year with the Royals.
Rookie Dick Wantz had had an awesome spring training and pitched an inning of relief in the game, making his major league debut. He struck out 2 but gave up three hits before getting the final out the inning and had surrendered two earned runs in his one inning of work. Ron Piche - a Righty acquired in the offseason from the Braves in exchange for Dan Osinski (Belinsky and Osinski were now gone) - worked a scoreless Ninth to mop a 7-1 Angels defeat.
Hours after his debut, Dick Wantz...
reported severe headaches afterward, only to be diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor shortly thereafter. He died exactly one month later in Inglewood at the age of 25.
Wantz ended up with a career ERA of 18.00 in 1 Inning Pitched.
93. Marcelino Lopez
94. Julio Gotay
95. Rudy May
96. Phil Roof
97. Gino Cimoli
The 3rd game of the season was played on the evening of April 15 in front of 17,097 fans in attendance to see the visiting Yankees and to witness two debuts. The starting pitcher was Marcelino Lopez, acquired as the PTBL when Vic Power was sent to Philly in September (just in time for the Gene Mauch-managed team to start an epic collapse). Lopez' line for the game was outstanding: 8 IP and 3 ER against a still-potent Maris and Mantle. But Mel Stottlemyre shut out the Halos on 7 hits. In the 8th inning, Julio Gotay entered the game - and the Angels all time log - as a defensive replacement at Third Base. Julio's nephew is Ruben Gotay. Another starting pitcher, Rudy May, made his Major League Debut in this homestand. On April 18, May threw 9 innings, but the game went extras. May started 19 games in 1965 but was sent to minors, returning to the big club at age 24 in 1969 to become an early-1970s mound mainstay in Anaheim.
On April 19 at home, catcher Phil Roof started in order to give Buck Rodgers' knees a night off. He had a hit in 4 at bats and scored an insurance run late in the game on a wild pitch. Veteran Gino Cimoli started in Right Field and had a sac fly for his one and only Angel RBI. It came off of Detroit's Mickey Lolich in the 4-2 Angels win.
98. Bobby Gene Smith
99. Tom Egan
100. Al Spangler
Veteran Bobby Gene Smith went 2 for 4 in his May 22 Angel debut with a Double off of future Hall of Famer Hoyt Wilhelm, himself a future Angel. 18-year old catcher Tom Egan struck out as a late-inning substitute for Buck Rodgers in Washington DC during a night game on May 27. Egan was born a month before George W. Bush and 2 months before Bill Clinton. The hundredth Angel was outfielder Al Spangler, traded by the Houston Astros to the Angels in exchange for Don Lee on June 1. Spangler walked in his pinch-hitting debut on June 5.
The Angels were held to four hits in Detroit on June 23 and backup catcher Egan was replaced by a pinch-hitting catcher, Merrit Ranew, who whiffed late in the game before taking the field behind the plate for the final inning. On August 20, the Angels split a Friday night doubleheader at home with the Twins. Both gams against the soon-to-be pennant winners featured 3-1 scores. In the first game, Jack Sanford, who had just been purchased from the San Francisco Giants on the 18th, pitched 6 innings of 1-run ball to get the win. Former Yankee All-Star Righty Jim Coates mopped up 2/3 of an inning for an exhausted George Brunet in the evening's nightcap.
101. Merrit Ranew
102. Jack Sanford
103. Jim Coates
According to the wikipedia:
On September 2, 1965, team ownership announced the Los Angeles Angels would thenceforth be known as the California Angels, in anticipation of the team's move to Anaheim the following year.
What this means is that when pinch runner Jackie Hernandez made the major leagues on September 14, 1965, three days after his 25th birthday, he was the 104th Angel but the FIRST California Angel. He was inserted as a pinch runner in the home half of the 8th amidst what would become a 5-run inning in a 7-1 game that had been nail-bitingly close only moments before his replacing of Joe Adcock on the basepaths.
104. Jackie Hernandez
105. Jim McGlothlin
The final debut of the tragic 1965 Angel season was starting pitcher Jim McGlothlin. On September 20, he pitched 5 innings in his major league debut, surrendering 4 runs in a Monday day game at home in front of 945 fans. Yes, less than a thousand people saw it. McGlothlin would eventually be part of the 1969 trade that brought Alex Johnson to the Angels and would die ten years after his debut at age 32 from leukemia.