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This Day in Sports History: The Angels are Born

Gene Autry had always loved baseball. Even while he was starring in 93 movies and 91 television shows as the venerable singing cowboy, he dreamed of the day that he could own a baseball team. He certainly had the generous personality that could exude confidence in a young ball club.

For years, he had been widely known for paying bills for his friends, riding in the front seat right beside his chauffeur and leading guests of his resort in sing-a-longs. On December 6, 1960, the American League granted Gene Autry a club in Anaheim soon to be named the Angels.

He delighted in being a baseball team owner, often riding with his team to games and spending lavishly on free agents in a perilous pursuit of a long-sought World Series title. He didn't live long enough to watch his baby win one, dying on October 2, 1998, four years before his beloved Angels would hoist the World Series trophy above their heads. The Angels retired jersey number 26 in his honor, the 26th man, as well as naming their address after him: 2000 E Gene Autry Way.

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