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 himself was one of the Angels original Board Members.
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 movie centers around the then-California Angels in Anaheim, but was filmed at Oakland Coliseum due to the fact that the NFL season was taking place and the then-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 character of Hank Murphy, the Angels' owner, is loosely based on then owner and country music star Gene Autry, right down to the cowboy hat. Sadly, Gene Autry passed away October 1998, four years after the film's release. 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 two actors have played opposite Daniel Day-Lewis as a relative of his main character. Fricker previously played Day-Lewis's mother, Mrs. Brown, in My Left Foot (1989) five years prior and Gordon-Levitt would go on to play his son, Robert Lincoln, in Lincoln (2012) eighteen years later. 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 15 season MLB Veteran who played Kesey) never drove in more than 80 runs in any season and averaged just 76 RBIs in a standard 162 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, eight years after the film's release and after the team moved from California to Anaheim the film was released in 1994 but there was no World Series that year due to a players strike therefore the film ends with the Angels winning the pennant.
Remake of the 1951 movie with the same title that starred Paul Douglas as the angry manager of the hapless Pittsburgh Pirates the only connection between thetwo films is that the 1994 version had it's premiere at Three Rivers Stadium as Pittsburgh hosted the All Star Game that year.
In the opening scene Roger asks his dad when they're going to be a family again and he replies with "i believe when the Angels win the pennant" his prediction comes true when the Angels win the pennant at the end of the film.
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).