Our Great Angels All-Star Game Moments countdown continues...
#4, 1962: Leon Wagner named All-Star Game MVP
In only their second season, the Angels had a starter in the All-Star Game and his name was Leon Wagner. The 1962 game was played at Wrigley Field in Chicago.
Batting seventh in the lineup and playing Left Field, Daddy Wags went 3 for 4 with a 2-Run homer in the 4th inning. His single in the top of the eighth was off of future Hall of Famer Juan Marichal. He was 28 years old and the face of the franchise. Wagner would go on to hit 37 homeruns that season and come in fourth place in the MVP voting. But for one midsummer night, he was the MVP and helped put the expansion Angels onto the national stage.
The AL won the game 9-4. Leon Wagner would be the first of three Angels named MVP of an All-Star Game.
Wagner only played three seasons with the Angels but he was so dominant that he wound up ranking the 34th All Time Angel in our TOP 50 ANGELS book still available at Amazon... but as dominant a player as he was, his tragic death in 2004 at age 69, living homeless in an alley in South Central has come to define his life story. But all was not tragedy in a life of ups and downs. An odd, bright spot in the life of Leon Wagner was a short post-baseball detour into Hollywood, playing bandman Billy Tidrow in the John Cassavettes classic A Woman Under the Influence. So think of Leon Lamar Wagner as a man who saw many highs as well as lows and many corners of the world while he was here and picking up a piece of hardware in one ivy-walled corner of the universe that still means something to some of us today.