Daddy Wags

From the Los Angeles Times, Bitter Ending

The obituary said he died at home. His good neighbors of Leimert Park smiled sadly when they read it.

Yes, of course, that electrical shed next to the dumpster behind the video store was Leon Wagner’s home.

“The more I thought about it, the more it made sense,” said Brian Breye, a local merchant. “Because the streets were his home.”

Leon Wagner was the first great slugger in Angel history, a 1962 All-Star game MVP, an engaging prince to kings Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle.

With his huge smile, loopy swing and funky throwing motion, the man known as “Daddy Wags” once held the Southern California baseball world in his giant palms.

Yet on Jan. 3, at age 69, he died with nothing.

He had no address, no car, little money. His final days were spent wandering the streets in what acquaintances say was a drug-induced haze.

Take time to read about the first Angels hero.