13 October 2014

a memorial patch for the singing cowboy

gene autry, the signing cowboy who owned the angels from the day the expansion franchise was awarded prior to the 1961 season until 1997, died on october 2, 1998 at the age of 91.  he had sold part of his ownership to the disney corporation in 1995 and a controlling interest to them soon after.

in 1992, the team retired the number 26 in autry's honor, as he was considered the 26th man on the team's roster.  he was their biggest booster, but the team never could make it to the world series under his leadership - they came oh so close in 1979, 1982 and 1986, but…

the angels, whose uniforms had been 'disney-fied' in 1997 to coincide with their taking over the controlling ownership, added a caricature patch of autry in 1999 along with the number 26 to their jerseys.

this 2000 topps andy sheets card
and this 1999 upper deck mvp card of troy percival
show the patch on the right sleeve of the home whites and away grays, respectively, because there is an 'anaheim/big a' patch on the left sleeve.

they also wore the patch on the left sleeve of their batting practice jerseys (i don't think they were game alternates) as seen on mo vaughn's 1999 upper deck retro card (gold parallel version)
and this 1999 upper deck ultimate victory troy glaus parallel.
i have both the sheets and this 1999 upper deck retro tim salmon card
in my binder.  the salmon is by far the best example of the patch.

autry was a mult-talented entertainer, spanning the industry from film to radio to television, and in fact has 5 stars on the hollywood walk of fame for those three endeavors as well as live theater and recording.  during his career, he wrote and/or recorded a number of classic songs such as 'here comes santa claus', 'rudolph the red nosed reindeer', and 'back in the saddle again', appeared in 93 movies and 91 television episodes of the gene autry television show and made over 600 records.  he also had a true passion for baseball, and it really was too bad that the angels couldn't win one for the cowboy.

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