This film was not the only connection between Disney and the Angels. Two years after the film's release, the Walt Disney Corporation bought the Angels, and owned the team until 2003. In addition, Walt Disney was one of the Angels original Board Members.
The movie centers around the California Angels in Anaheim, but was filmed at Oakland Coliseum, due to the fact that the NFL season was taking place, and the Los Angeles Rams were using the stadium in Anaheim. The Coliseum was not being used, as the Raiders had not yet returned to Oakland. The Rams would return to Los Angeles in 2016, 22 years after the film's release.
The film's tagline, "Ya Gotta Believe" (also alluded to in the film), was coined by pitcher Tug McGraw. During the 1973 season, McGraw used the phrase to encourage his fellow New York Mets, who successfully turned around an underdog season to go to the World Series.
The character of Hank Murphy, the Angels' owner, is loosely based on owner, actor, and country music star Gene Autry, right down to the cowboy hat. Sadly, Gene Autry passed away October 1998. When the Anaheim Angels won the 2002 World Series, they dedicated their win to Autry.
In one scene, George Knox is seen looking through a box of baseball memories, and finds his 1979 National League MVP plaque. The actual 1979 National League MVP was shared between Pittsburgh Pirates first baseman Willie Stargell and St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Keith Hernandez.
Not only do Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Roger Bomman) and Brenda Fricker (Maggie Nelson) share the same birthday - Februray 17th - but the actor and actress have played opposite Daniel Day-Lewis as a relative of his main character. Fricker previously played Day-Lewis' mother, Mrs. Brown, in My Left Foot (1989), and Gordon-Levitt played his son, Robert Lincoln, in Lincoln (2012). Day-Lewis won the Best Actor Oscar for both films, Fricker won the Best Supporting Actress for My Left Foot, but Gordon-Levitt did not receive a nomination for his performance in Lincoln.
Kit "Hit or Die" Kesey is said to be the "League RBI Champion" when he comes up to bat against Mel Clark. In reality, Carney Lansford (a real fifteen season MLB Veteran, who played Kesey) never drove in more than eighty runs in any season, and averaged just seventy-six RBIs in a standard one hundred sixty-two game season. However, when the film was released, the season was cut short, due to a players' strike.
The real-life Angels franchise won the pennant in 2002, and went on to win the World Series that year, after the team had switched designation from California to Anaheim. But there was no World Series in 1994, due to a players' strike, therefore the film ends with the Angels winning the pennant.
Jay O. Sanders (Ranch Wilder) and Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Roger Bomman) would go on to star DC Comics movies. Sanders in Green Lantern (2011), and Gordon-Levitt in The Dark Knight Rises (2012). Neal McDonough played Damien Darhk in the DC television shows Arrow (2012), and Legends of Tomorrow (2016), as well as playing Timothy "Dum Dum" Dugan in Marvel's Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2013), and Agent Carter (2015).
Remake of the 1951 movie that starred Paul Douglas as the angry manager of the hapless Pittsburgh Pirates. The only other connection between them, is that the 1994 version had its premiere at Three Rivers Stadium, as Pittsburgh hosted the All Star Game that year.
After the real-life Angels won the 2002 World Series, the city of Anaheim would not see another championship until the Anaheim Ducks, another team owned by Disney, won the Stanley Cup in 2007 (an Anaheim Mighty Ducks cap can be seen in one scene).
In the opening scene, Roger asks his dad when they're going to be a family again, and he replies with "When the Angels win the pennant." his prediction comes true when the Angels win the pennant at the end of the film.