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Albie Pearson, the ‘Littlest Angel,’ dies at 88

Albie Pearson, an original Angel who played for the team from 1961 to 1966, has passed away, the team confirmed Monday. He turned 88 years old.

Pearson, who was once known as the “Littlest Angel” at just five feet tall, was loved like an angel. His size combined with his contributions and performance on the field made him “the man-who-never-made it,” he once told the LA Times.

Pearson was a nine-year career American League Rookie of the Year in 1958, a member of the Washington Senators – who became the Minnesota Twins in 1961. He was named an All-Star in 1963, a member of Gene Autry’s Los Angeles Angels, starting in center field. Pearson is also the player to score the first run in franchise history, part of a 3-run first inning in an Angels eventual 7–2 victory over the Orioles in Baltimore. His career was cut short at age 31 due to two ruptured discs in his back.

After baseball, he and his wife, Helen, started a youth ministry out of their home in Riverside, welcoming first dozens and eventually thousands of children for Bible study, counseling, work tips, and friendship.

In 1979, they founded United Ministries International, a non-profit organization that helped establish schools, churches, and orphanages in the US, Mexico, Eastern Europe, and South America. Eighteen years later, Pearson purchased the land that would become the space for Father’s Heart Ranch, a home for abused, abandoned, and neglected boys.

“The Angels Organization was saddened to learn of the passing of former Angels All-Star Albie Pearson,” the Angels said in a statement. away from the diamond. For more than 20 years, he and his wife, Helen, have spent their time impacting countless communities through their amazing work with Father’s Heart Ranch. We would like to extend our deepest condolences to Albie’s wife, Helen, their five daughters and the entire Pearson family.”