The 4th of July Weekend

by Paul R. Spitzzeri

Guests enjoying a leisurely afternoon playing lawn games, hearing 1920s records spun, and generally taking in the gorgeous weather on the West Lawn of La Casa Nueva.

We couldn’t have asked for better weather for today’s second installment of the Homestead’s “First Sunday Picnic.”  Several dozen visitors, including families with children, couples, and groups of friends have been here to enjoy the grounds, tour our historic houses, play lawn games and more.

It was a bonus for me to see my 14-year old son, Julian, tickling the ivories for two groups visiting our 1920s Spanish Colonial Revival home, La Casa Nueva.

Visitors on tour in La Casa Nueva’s Music Room got to hear a little piano music as a bonus.

We will have two further offerings of the “First Sunday Picnic” on August 7 and September 4, which just happen to be first Sundays, so come out and partake in the fun on one or both of these days.

Meantime, tomorrow, of course, is that great American celebration and we have an artifact in our collection that combines the holiday with that great American pastime.

On 4 July 1928, the Los Angeles Angels, precursor to today’s “Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim”, hosted one of its Pacific Coast League rivals, the Sacramento Senators, in a double-header at Wrigley Field.

That’s right, there was a Wrigley Field in south Los Angeles, built by the same William Wrigley, Jr., who owned the Chicago Cubs–the Angels were a sort of farm team for the Cubs.

Angels program 4Jul28
The colorful front cover to the program for sale for the doubleheader between Pacific Coast League rivals, the Los Angeles Angels and the Sacramento Senators, played on 4 July 1928.  From the the Homestead Museum collection.

There were fireworks that went off that day at Wrigley, but, unfortunately for the home team and its fans, the excitement was all generated by the visitors.  As the Los Angeles Times expressed it the following day in its coverage:

[Manager] Marty Krug’s sinking Seraphs gave a very unpatriotic exhibition of how to spend the Fourth of July yesterday at Wrigley Field where they dropped a couple of highly uninteresting struggle to the snappy Solons from Sacramento.  The Angels were outslugged, 11-7, in the opener and were then subjected  to a 3-to-0 white washing by Ray Keating in the nightcap.

Though it was an ugly pair of outings for the Angels, the program offered for sale at the ballpark that day is pretty attractive when it comes to its vignette on the front cover.  It shows Wrigley Field against a bright red background and a logo of baseballs over crossed bats with “Pacific Coast League” and “Season of 1928” lettering in the balls.

Angels program inside 4Jul28
The owner of this program didn’t keep the box score, but note the ads, including one for the Maier brewery and its “Maier Select Lager.”  By the way, Prohibition was still on, so this beer was a non-alcoholic product!

The cover ad for the Western Oil & Refining Company claims that you feel a “SOCK!” representing “that same thrill” which was “experienced when you step on the accelerator, and you car responds to WESTERN GASOLINE.”

Well, if the Times‘ description of the game corresponded to Western’s performance in someone’s flivver, it must have been a dull ride!

Let’s hope your 4th is anything but a dull ride and that you enjoy, as they say these days “a safe and sane” holiday!

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