Might as well stay on the West Coast... let's break down the California Angels.
You read that right.
The CALIFORNIA Angels.
Since they were formed in 1961, the Angels have had four different geographical identities.
The were the Los Angeles Angels.
Then the California Angels.
Then the Anaheim Angels.
And now... the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
They had their last three identities without even moving from their stadium.
To point out how absurd this is, the A's have had three different geographical identities...
But they moved from Philadelphia to Kansas City and then to Oakland... a total of 2932 miles.
As opposed to zero inches.
I'm not falling for this Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim garbage.
I'd rather call the Dodgers The Brooklyn Dodgers of Los Angeles.
Call them the California Angels and that's it!
Now I've already discussed how underrated the team is on so many levels... but I must say I am really looking forward to this specific entry in this series.
The Angels have acquired a ton of marquee talents.
The picked up the best strikeout and no hitter artist of all time, the greatest hitter of his generation, one of the biggest stars the Red Sox ever produced and two players who would win the MVP in an Angels uniform.
Also a certain Mr. October.
And yet when they won the World Series (don't remind my dad) they did it with an almost entirely home grown and anonymous team.
Let's get driving down the 5 to Los Angeles!
I'm sorry to Anaheim!
A screw it. Let's stay in California.
As always the rules for the rosters can be found here.
ALL TIME HOME GROWN ANGELS TEAM
Obviously there are some good genes in the Molina family. Bengie and his brother Jose were the catchers of the 2002 World Champion Angels. Their brother Yadier was the post season offensive hero for the 2006 World Champion Cardinals.
Bengie is the best of them, winning Gold Gloves, swinging a solid stick and batting .444 with 3 homers in the 2005 Division Series win against the Yankees.
Keeping the family theme afloat, read this blog post written by Bengie about his father passing away.
Sometimes it's nice to remember these players are people and not just backs of baseball cards.
STARTING FIRST BASEMAN
When Wally Joyner burst onto the scene in 1986, didn't it seem like the perfect fusion of talent, demeanor and nickname?
He could hit and hit with power. Maybe even be the Angels answer to Don Mattingly.
He was positive and fun to watch. Maybe even be the Angels answer to Kirby Puckett.
And he played for a franchise located next to a huge amusement park... and his nickname was WALLY WORLD!!!
He may not have been the Superstar we all expected him to be... but for a while Wally World seemed like the happiest place on earth!
STARTING SECOND BASEMAN
It looks weird, doesn't it?
It's as if someone found a picture of Phil Rizzuto in a Mariners uniform.
Remy isn't an ANGEL!
But his first three seasons were indeed in Anaheim.
During a broadcast recently, Remy revealed he was at Fenway Park rooting for the Red Sox during the 1975 World Series.
His partner asked "Since you were with the Angels then, did it feel strange rooting for the Red Sox?"
Remy answered "No! Of course not."
Even when he was an Angel, his heart was in Boston!
On August 29, 1986, the Angels were trying to extend their 4 1/2 game lead over the Rangers in the West as they hosted the always tough Detroit Tigers. But Detroit, behind former Angel Frank Tanana, jumped out to an 8-1 lead. By the 9th inning it was 12-5 but the Angels rallied and cut it to 12-9.
With 2 outs, the bases loaded and Tigers closer Willie Hernandez on the mound, light hitting Dick Schofield came up.
How light hitting? Twice in his career he had more than 400 at bats but less than 100 hits!
But it just goes to show you that you'll never know what happens when you step up to the plate.
He hit a 2 out walk off Grand Slam to give the Angels the most unlikely win. 8 runs in the 9th!
He would hit only 28 more homers over the next 10 seasons... none bigger than his game winning slam.
STARTING THIRD BASEMAN
Glaus turned the 2002 post season into his own private hitting clinic.
He smacked three solo shots in the Angels stunning upset of the Yankees in the Division Series.
In game 3 of the ALCS, he hit the 8th inning home run that put the Angels on top.
But he saved the best for the World Series.
He batted .385 with 3 homers and 8 RBI. His OPS was 1.313.
And his two run double completed the 6 run comeback in game 6.
When his name came up in steroid rumors, a Giants friend of mine said "Man! We would have won the World Series if he wasn't on 'roids!"
I reminded him that Barry Bonds was on that Giants team.
STARTING LEFT FIELDER
It was Anderson's 3 run double that ended the scoring early in game 7 of the 2002 World Series... putting the Angels up for good.
A free agent now, he was a 3 time All Star, a Home Run Derby Champ and holds many club records including lifetime RBIs.
If you look at his Baseball Reference page, it looks like he has played for three teams:
Nope. He's been an Angel his whole career and they've never left their stadium. The team is just indecisive.
STARTING CENTER FIELDER
Yet another Southern Californian who starred for the Angels!
Edmonds was as good a center fielder defensively as you will ever see and was no slouch with the bat during his time in California (and Anaheim... but NEVER Los Angeles of Anaheim.)
On October 1, 1995, with the Angels facing elimination with a loss, Edmonds came through. He singled in a run in the first, scored another in the 5th, and then put an exclamation point on the game with a two out two run triple in the 8th inning. The Angels would force a one game playoff with Seattle thanks in part to Edmonds bat.
(He won enough with his glove too.)
STARTING RIGHT FIELDER
Halos Heaven, a site I've been referring to left and right while compiling this list, called Tim Salmon the Greatest Angel of All Time.
Who am I to argue with Halos Heaven?
The Long Beach native played 14 seasons all with the Angels, homered twice in the 2002 World Series and won the retroactive Sully Baseball Division Series MVP for 2002.
I wonder what honor Tim Salmon cherishes more... the praise from Halos Heaven or from Sully Baseball.
STARTING DESIGNATED HITTER
Erstad was the first overall pick in the 1995 draft. He became a Gold Glove outfielder and a Gold Glove first baseman. In fact he made a nice pick up to snare the final out of the 2005 Division Series against the Yankees.
So why do I have him at DH?
Well I wasn't going to bench Joyner nor Edmonds... so Erstad finds a place here.
Plus he could do damage with his bat too. He hit the lead off homer in the 8th inning of game 6 of the 2002 World Series that kept the Angels comeback (or Giants collapse) going for another inning.
THE STARTING ROTATION
People forget what a kick butt pitcher Frank Tanana was in the late 1970s.
He logged three straight 200+ strikeout seasons, he won 19 games in 1976 and 18 in 1978.
And twice he finished in the top 5 for the Cy Young voting.
Plus I thought he looked like Mark Hamill.
Now think about that for a second... a 6 and 7 year old Paul Sullivan finds a baseball player who looks like Luke Skywalker? Of COURSE I am going to think he is cool!
I was excited when he came to the Red Sox in 1981. We had a Luke Skywalker pitcher now!
(He left after one season.)
Imagine how Mike Witt must have felt during Game 5 of the 1986 ALCS.
Up by 1 in the bottom of the 9th inning, 2 outs and nobody on... one out away from a trip to the World Series... the Red Sox spirit destroyed... the ALCS MVP his...Mike Witt must have felt invincible.
All he needed to do was get Rich Gedman out and the Angels would win their first ever pennant.
A pennant for Mr. Autry.
A pennant for Gene Mauch to answer his critics.
Gedman had three hits that day including a homer... but what were the chances he'd get 4. And even if Witt did let Gedman on base, he could retire defensive replacement Dave Henderson.
I wonder what went through his mind that at the cusp of immortality he saw Gene Mauch coming to the mound to make a pitching change.
Mauch decided to remove Witt at his moment of glory to play the percentages and bringing in lefty reliever Gary Lucas.
Witt never threw another pitch in the series. Lucas hit Gedman. Moore let up Henderson's homer. The Angels tied it but lost the game in the 11th.
The Red Sox outscored the Angels 21-6 in the series after Witt was taken out.
No pennant for Mr. Autry.
No pennant for Gene Mauch to answer his critics.
No immortality for Witt.
I wonder how often Mike Witt thinks "Why did they take me out?"
Almost everything you can find on line about Andy Messersmith is about the Sietz arbitration case in 1975 which ruled that the reserve clause in baseball did not bind players to the same club indefinitely. This allowed Messersmith to become a free agent and led to modern free agency.
In fact now if you look up MY web site, you see more about the Sietz decision.
And what I should be talking about is how good a pitcher Messersmith was.
He was a 20 game winner for the 1971 Angels and became an All Star in Anaheim.
He was dealt to the Dodgers for Frank Robinson. (Frank Robinson was a Dodger? He was an Angel?) And then all of the ugliness started with his contract.
Originally Messersmith wasn't on this list... but enough Angels fans said "Where's Messersmith?" that I decided to change my mind.
When many of my Giants friends were still stunned by collapse in game 6 of the 2002 World Series, I tried to cheer them up.
"Hey, the Angels are throwing a rookie with a 6.14 ERA in the World Series!"
Well that rookie, John Lackey, was up for the task in game 7. He threw 5 solid innings and gave way to the Angels deep pen to win the Series.
Since then Lackey has turned into a solid pitcher, finished third in the Cy Young voting in 2007.
And my Giants friends haven't cheered up yet.
Yes he charged Tawny Kitaen with beating HIM with a heel.
Yes their divorce was insanely messy with her claiming he was juicing up the whole time.
No I can not write an entry about Chuck Finley and ignore all of that.
There, I said it... it's out there.
He also is the all time Angels leader in wins, innings pitched and game started.
He was a 4 time All Star with the Angels winning 15 more games in 6 different seasons.
I said that too.
Truth be told, I bet being hit with a heel really hurts!
Percival was another Southern California boy who went to a Southern California college and starred with a Southern California baseball team.
And it was the Angels benefit that he emerged the way he did in 1995. He allowed Lee Smith to be expendable and turned into one of the best big game closers in the game for 9 seasons with the Angels.
In game 2 of the 2002 Division Series with the Yankees, the Angels were still considered to be post season after thoughts like the Texas Rangers of 1998 and 1999.
They blew a potential game 1 victory and looked poised to cough up another late lead to the Yankees. Percival came into the game in the 8th and with the bases loaded and the tying run on second struck out Jeter looking. The Yankees would lose games 2, 3 and 4. Percival would close out the Division Series, the LCS and finally the World Series.
No other Angels pitcher can claim that!
There wasn't much of a scouting report on Francisco Rodriguez going into the 2002 playoffs.
An injury to Aaron Sele and a loop hole in the playoff roster rules allowed him to play in October despite only throwing 5 2/3 regular season innings.
K-Rod recorded nearly a post season win for every regular season inning he threw. He finished the post season 5-1 out of the pen and becoming a sensation.
He eventually allowed Troy Percival to move on to Detroit and finished in the top 5 Cy Young voting three times.
Last year set the single season saves record and made his third All Star team.
Some have compared him to Mariano Rivera.
I am going out on a limb here and saying he is a little more extroverted than Rivera!
For a few seasons in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Bryan Harvey was as good as any reliever in the game.
His best season was 1991 when he saved 46 games, finished with a 1.60 ERA and 101 strikeouts over 78 2/3 innings.
In retrospect that 1991 season for the Angels was pretty amazing.
The mighty A's had a down year and the Angels had a 19 game winner in Mark Langston and two 18 game winners in Chuck Finley and Jim Abbott. That's 55 wins just by those three pitchers. Add that to Harvey's great season and you'd think the Angels won 90 some odd games.
Nope. They finished break even 81-81 in 7th place... 14 games out.
How is that POSSIBLE???
During game 5 of the 2002 World Series, young Scot Shields let up two garbage time home runs. I remember calling a Giants fan friend of mine who was ecstatic his team was going to be a win from the Championship.
"Who the hell is Scot Shields?" He asked me.
"The way he is pitching, he could be the 14th caller!" I replied.
We laughed. A few days later Scot Shields was a pitcher with a World Series ring.
In fact Shields has developed into a solid rubber armed middle reliever and set up man who won game 3 of the 2005 Division Series out of the pen.
I guess I shouldn't have made fun of him.
Santana is a solid starter who has won 16 games two of the last three seasons. But his brightest moment came out of the bullpen.
I remember watching the deciding game 5 of the 2005 Division Series with my dad at the Old Pro in Palo Alto.
The Angels ace Bartolo Colon could only throw one inning before his Orson Welles in Touch of Evil body gave out on him. In came Santana, a 22 year old rookie who started the season in the minors.
He did not look up to the task, walking the first three batters he faced, letting two score and facing Alex Rodriguez with a third run in scoring position.
Santana composed himself and struck A-Rod out. (Not exactly uncommon in a playoff situation.)
The Angels scored three in the bottom of the second and Santana settled down.
He pitched into the seventh inning and got the win. The last batter he faced? A-Rod, who grounded out.
Before he replaced Butch Hobson (my favorite Red Sox) at third and won a batting title in Boston and before he became a fixture for the A's in their pennant winning seasons, Lansford was a solid if not spectacular product of the Angels farm system. His rookie year he batted .294 with 20 stolen bases and finished third in the 1978 Rookie of the Year vote to Lou Whitaker and Paul Molitor.
In 1979 he helped clinch the AL West hitting 19 homers and driving in 79 runs.
He also is descended from Sir Francis Drake. I bet you didn't know THAT!
Let me just say that Lansford wasn't originally on this list. I had Jack Howell here. But man I found out how unpopular Howell was with Angels fan. Enough Angels fans told me to change it that... well... I changed it. Sorry Jack.
If there was ever a player who seemed destined to go to Boston it was Gary DiSarcina. Maybe he would have been like Remy and become a Red Sox fan favorite that people forgot started in Anaheim.
He was a Malden Mass. native who went to U. Mass Amherst. He was an All Star Shortstop who wore #33 in honor of Larry Bird.
Alas the New England native spent his entire career in Southern California while a Southern California boy named Nomar was being worshipped in New England.
He's the manager of the Lowell Spinners now. Who knows? He might make the Red Sox as a coach!
Gary Pettis could fly. He was good for 40 or 50 stolen bases a season, a number that is startling when you consider he was basically a .220 hitter who didn't draw many walks.
He was also one of the single best defensive center fielders you would ever see. He won 5 Gold Gloves, 2 with the Angels.
And while he wasn't much of an offensive threat, he could rise to the occasion. He slammed a homer off of Oil Can Boyd in game 3 of the 1986 ALCS and lifted a double over Jim Rice's head in a dramatic 3 run game tying rally in game 4.
Rice came in when he should have gone back. Can you blame him for thinking Pettis wasn't going to hit it to the wall?
White emerging into a 20 homer and 30 stolen base threat made Pettis expendable after the 1987 season.
He added a Gold Glove after the 1988 season and made the All Star team in 1989.
After 1990 he was dealt to the Blue Jays and went on to win three World Series rings (two in Toronto and one in Florida.)
Why the Angels gave up on a switch hitting Gold Glove base stealer with power is anyone's guess!
I root for my friends to succeed but not at the expense of my own success.
I wonder how Mike Napoli and Jeff Mathis's friendship is doing. They were pals from Florida and worked their way up the Angels farm system as catchers. With Bengie and Jose Molina each getting on in years, they were each given a shot to take over the catching position.
Mathis earned the job first and hit .108 the first month he was up.
Eventually Mathis was pushed aside and Napoli won the job.
Napoli has shown a lot of power and is a much more productive hitter. His two homer game in the 2008 Division Series helped the Angels hold off elimination.
They share the catchers duties but Napoli's bat keeps him in the lineup more than Mathis.
I hope that's not a wedge between two friends.
I remember when Jim Abbott was drafted out of the University of Michigan, I was telling a girl friend of mine in high school about him.
"He has one hand!" I explained.
"No!" She said. "He needs a glove, where does he put the glove."
"He rests it on a stump and then transfers his hand over."
"No he doesn't."
"I swear he does!"
And thus began what I thought was going to be a freak show and publicity stunt for the Angels. "Behold! The one handed pitcher!"
But a strange thing happened... this genuinely likable guy with the inspiring story actually could pitch!
In fact he bypassed the minor leagues and began 1989 in the bigs.
He won 12 games in his rookie year. His third year he won 18 games and finished 3rd in the Cy Young voting.
He even threw a no hitter while with the Yankees in 1993 and returned to the Angels in 1995.
With the Angels trying to stop the bleeding of a dizzying collapse, Abbott took the mound for the Angels on September 24th and threw a complete game 3 hit shutout.
No freak show. Abbott was a solid left handed pitcher who just happened to have no right hand.
LOTS of fan favorites on the home grown team... but not a lot of superstars or household names.
Well if you are expecting to see lots of stars just because you are in Southern California let's just say the acquired team has enough big names to satisfy any baseball star gazer!
ALL TIME ACQUIRED ANGELS TEAM
Downing was an All Star catcher with a solid stick when he came over from the White Sox. But when the Angels picked up Bob Boone, Downing switched to the outfield and his home run totals skyrocketed.
He got big hit after big hit in the 1986 ALCS against the Red Sox and hit 20 or more homers for the Angels six times.
One of his listed nicknames is "The Hulk."
This is odd because my brother and I always thought he looked exactly like Christopher Reeve and we would call him "Superman."
Maybe he turned green when he got mad.
STARTING FIRST BASEMAN
When baseball owners colluded in the mid 1980s it had several obvious results.
Some players had to sign for less money.
All the players distrusted the owners.
The owners got angry that they were caught.
Both sides, armed with mistrust and anger, dug in deep when the 1994 strike threat loomed.
But some other effects were not as obvious.
One collateral effect was Rod Carew was pushed into retirement. He got his 3,000 hit in 1985 and while no longer a batting champ, he was still a solid hitter.
He received no contract from the Angels and no offers from other clubs.
NOBODY WANTED TO SIGN ROD FREAKING CAREW!!!
So he retired. No ceremony. No Rod Carew appreciation day. Nothing.
Just a non tendering of a contract.
The owners will never get enough flack from the fans for collusion.
(I wonder if Rod Carew could have helped the Angels get one more win in the 1986 ALCS. We'll never know.)
STARTING SECOND BASEMAN
Bobby Grich knew something we didn't during the 1986 playoffs. He was going to hang them up after the post season.
So 1986 was his chance to finally play in the World Series. He missed his chances in Baltimore and in California with the 1979 and 1982 teams.
So when Dave Henderson dropped Grich's flyball over the fence in game 5 of the 1986 ALCS, it looked like not only were they World Series bound, but HE was going to lead them there.
His exuberant high five with Doug DeCinces was the cover of Sports Illustrated and one of the most popular Angels of all time was going to be an October hero.
His Gold Gloves, his unusual power for a second baseman and his hard nose play was all about to payoff.
Man, thinking about how he was denied a trip to the World Series almost makes me feel bad that my Red Sox denied him a trip to the series... almost.
Fregosi made six All Star teams and hit with unusual power for a shortstop in the 1960s.
He also picked up a Gold Glove and consistently got MVP votes. When you have a player that good and you trade him, you had better get value in return.
The Angels dealt Fregosi to the Mets for Nolan Ryan. Brother, they got value!
STARTING THIRD BASEMAN
What was DeCinces doing in Baltimore all of those years?
They didn't want him. He had the audacity of not being named Brooks Robinson.
The Angels traded for him and he relaxed, became an All Star, had his best years, earned millions of dollars and was loved by the fans.
All the nice Burbank native needed was some home cooking.
STARTING LEFT FIELDER
Every time a DH is up for the MVP, writers start wringing their hands wondering "Can we vote for a DH? Will the ghost of Honus Wagner come down to torment us?"
Often times you will hear defenders of the DH bring up Don Baylor.
"Baylor was a DH when he won the MVP in 1979!!!"
Well truth be told he DHed for 65 games that year and played 97 games in the outfield (mainly left field.) So that argument isn't 100% accurate.
Baylor was great that season hitting 36 homers, batting 296 with an OPS of .901 and stealing 22 bases for good measure as the Angels won their first Division Title.
Even though he played the field more often than DHing, I think voters should go ahead and vote for a DH if he is the best.
And yes mom, DH is now a verb!
STARTING CENTER FIELDER
Fred Lynn was traded from the Red Sox to the Angels 29 years ago... and it still looks strange seeing him in an Angels uniform.
Lynn's injury bug that derailed what looked like a Hall of Fame career started while in California. But two of his biggest highlights came in an Angels uniform as well.
In the 1982 ALCS he was selected as MVP despite being on the losing team. Batting .611 with an OPS of 1.539 will do that.
In the 1983 All Star Game Lynn crushed a grand slam off of Atlee Hammaker. When he came back to home plate, Jim Rice was there to greet him. They should have been teammates ALL year, not just that day!
STARTING RIGHT FIELDER
We may never know why the Yankees didn't sign Vlad Guerrero when they had the chance, but I am sure Arte Moreno is glad he got away.
Out of obscurity in Montreal, he won the AL MVP his first year in Anaheim.
His career has put him on the cusp of the Hall of Fame and he has used his wealth to build several businesses in his native Domincan Republic.
Evidently he has invested in a women's clothing shop.
I guess they sell dresses with lots of pine tar on it.
STARTING DESIGNATED HITTER
Reggie's best years were clearly with the A's and Yankees... but he's earned a spot here for several reasons.
- His signing with the Angels after the 1981 World Series sent shockwaves through baseball and made the Angels the super cool team in baseball.
- Losing Reggie forced Steinbrenner to obsess over Dave Winfield like James Stewart fawning over Kim Novack in Vertigo. George's Winfield fixation would lead to his hiring a private investigator to spy on Winfield and his suspension which allowed the Jeter/Rivera Yankees to be built.
- In Reggie's first and final years they made the ALCS and came within a game of the World Series.
- He hit his 500th homer as an Angel.
- He was the murderous right fielder mumbling "I Must Kill The Queen" in The Naked Gun.
THE STARTING ROTATION
It's absurd that Ryan is wearing a Rangers cap on his Hall of Fame plaque.
Where did he transform from the talented pitcher on the Mets to the greatest strikeout and no hitter artist in baseball history?
Where did he break the single season strikeout record?
Where did he pitch his first four no hitters?
Where did he finish in the top 3 of the Cy Young three times?
Folks, he might have started his career with the Mets and finished it in Houston and Texas... but the Ryan Express became a legend in California!
He was great enough to win a Cy Young for the 2005 Angels.
But he was too fat to pitch in the ALCS.
He had all the talent in the world...
He had three legit Cy Young caliber seasons and several more good ones.
But he couldn't say "Oh just the small."
Chance pitched for the original Angels team that played in Wrigley Field (no not that one.)
He pitched for the surprising 1962 Angels team that contended while playing in Dodger Stadium (yes that one.)
He was the relief ace on the 1962 team but became the ace of the rotation in 1964.
He won the Cy Young Award with a 20-9 record and a 1.65 ERA in 278 innings. Keep in mind there was only one Cy Young Award given, not one for each league. So he beat out his more famous LA pitching counterparts like Mr. Koufax and Mr. Drysdale.
And unlike now, those Angels actually played IN Los Angeles!
If you are a big time free agent signing, it is important to make a good first impression.
Mark Langston signed with the Angels before the 1990 season and had big expectations to pitch like an ace.
In his first start in an Angels uniform he faced his old team, the Seattle Mariners.
That day April 11, 1990, he couldn't have given his team a better first impression.
He walked two of the first three batters he faced... then walked 2 more the rest of the way.
And oh yeah, he let up no hits.
He had a no hitter through 7.
And because they didn't want to push him (!!!!) they pulled him after 7.
Mike Witt came in from the bullpen and threw the final two innings for the combined no hitter.
Look, I know protecting your investment is important, but how could they resist the spectacle of throwing a no hitter in your first start?
Langston actually had a subpar year after the first start, but he rebounded to become a regular All Star and pitched his heart out for the 1995 team that came oh so close.
Zahn was a good but not great pitcher who got kicked around from the Dodgers to the Cubs to the Twins before ending up in California.
Well he dug deep and somehow found some new motivation and out of the blue became a Cy Young contender for one season.
He won 18 games. He threw 229 1/3 innings. He threw 12 complete games including a complete game shut out his first and last games of the season.
I wonder where he found that motivation to turn his career around.
I don't know but I am sure if you want to know, you can hire Motivational Speaker Geoff Zahn and he'll spill the secrets.
Yeah I know.
It's hard to do anything positive about Donnie Moore.
As a pitcher he is best known for serving up Dave Henderson's homer.
As a person, he is best known for shooting his wife and then committing suicide in front of his own kids.
So let's focus on two great years he had in California.
In 1985 he made the All Star team and finished 6th in the MVP voting as he posted a 1.92 ERA over 103 innings out of the pen, saving 31. And for the 1986 Division winner, he saved 21 and also saved game 3 of the ALCS.
Doesn't wipe out the bad parts, but let's leave the man in peace.
In Lee Smith's first game as an Angel in 1995, he pitched a scoreless inning in a non save situation.
In his second game as an Angel, he threw a shutout inning for a save.
He did the same for his third game... and fourth... and fifth.
In fact after that first mop up inning, Smith got a save in his next 19 appearances... and let up zero earned runs in the process.
His ERA on June 25 was 0.00.
That's a good start. He had five very bad outings in the middle of the season that ballooned his ERA, but he remained a hammer for the 9th inning and allowed the Angels to develop Troy Percival as an 8th inning man.
When Mark Clear was with the Red Sox, my dad used to call him "Ball One" Clear. In other words he was always pitching behind in the count. But with the Angels he was a very valuable reliever.
In his rookie year he got some MVP votes for being such a workhorse out of the bullpen.
He threw 109 relief innings, went 11-5 and saved 14 for the 1979 Division Champs.
And I am guessing he worked out of a lot of jams where he started 1-0 on the batter.
After 9 seasons (and 2 World Series rings) in Pittsburgh, Kison came to California to become a spot starter and long reliever.
He started 1982 in the rotation and at mid season moved to the pen where he gave manager Gene Mauch a lot of flexibility. His best relief spot was on August 19 of that year when the Angels beat the Red Sox.
Kison threw 6 innings of shutout relief of Steve Renko. The Red Sox went ahead 5-0 but as Kison shut the bats down, the Angels chipped away until Fred Lynn of all people sparked the game winning 5 run rally in the 7th.
Ahhh those were the Red Sox of my youth! Blowing 5-0 leads because of their lousy pen!
Bob Lee only pitched three seasons with the Angels and two years after leaving the Angels he was out of baseball. But those three seasons he was as dominating a reliever as you could imagine.
In 1964 he posted a 1.51 ERA over 137 innings, almost all in relief, saving 19 games. The next year he made the All Star team with his 1.92 ERA over 131 1/3 innings all out of the pen and 23 saves.
He had a 27 1/3 scoreless inning streak in 1964 and after another solid year in 1966 was dealt to the NL Champion Dodgers and faded out.
He was from Ottumwa Iowa, which is also the home of Radar O'Reilly.
Sadly I didn't have to look that up.
Kennedy was part of the haul from St. Louis when the Angels dealt Jim Edmonds away. He seemed to fit right in. He was a Southern California boy who went to college at Cal State Northridge. He was a scrappy hard nosed player who hit a surprising home run off of Mike Mussina in the 2002 Division Series.
But he went from likable scrappy player to Angels post season hero in one game... game 5 of the 2002 ALCS.
Kennedy was batting .100 with a .200 OPS going into game 5 and it is safe to say was on nobody's short list for potential series MVP.
With the Angels down 2-0 in a potential clinching game, Kennedy homered off of Twins starter Joe Mays in the third and again in the fifth. The second one briefly put the Angels ahead.
When the Twins rallied in the 7th to take the lead, they sent in Johan Santana to protect the lead.
Kennedy launched a three run homer to give the Angels the lead for good.
His series batting average ended at .357 and his OPS was 1.357 as he was named series MVP.
When you can raise your OPS by 1.157 in a single game... you've had a good game!
Man things in the Red Sox front office have changed drastically since Mrs. Yawkey died.
Do you think she would have let a white middle infielder who plays with a lot of grit get away?
Eckstein is a genuine "annoying gnat in the ear" kind of player. He doesn't seem to have much pop or ability. But he'll make the big play, steal the big base and as the Angels (and later the Cardinals) found out, he's a winner.
Throughout the World Series he'd get on base by walk or by a hit and seem to factor in every Angels rally.
As my dad says "I hate him."
You can't get a bigger compliment than that!!!
Dan Ford came over from Minnesota and had his best season in 1979, his first season in California. He batted .290 with 21 homers and 101 RBI.
He was an effective #3 hitter who homered twice in the 1979 ALCS.
But let's face facts. The main reason he is on this list is because I am in love with his nickname, "Disco Dan Ford." Man we need more nicknames like that!!!
Torii Hunter brought his positive attitude, clutch bat and Gold Glove to California after 10 some odd seasons in Minnesota. His first season wasn't his best but he brought his hitting into the post season.
He batted .389 and drove in 5 runs in the Angels 4 game loss to the Red Sox in the Division Series.
He also appears in the "Hanging With Mr Hunter" segments for the local Angels broadcasts.
Did he do those in Minnesota? And was he ice fishing in Minnesota?
The Boone genes are strong baseball wise.
Ray Boone played in the bigs from 1948 to 1960, won a World Series ring with the 1948 Indians and was named to two All Star Teams.
His son Bob played 18 seasons in the bigs and won 4 Gold Gloves and named to the 1983 All Star team as a member of the Angels.
Bob's son Bret played 13 seasons in the bigs, was named to three All Star games and won 4 Gold Gloves.
Bob's other son Aaron has been in the bigs since 1997, made the 2003 All Star team and prolonged the Curse of the Bambino for one year.
No pressure on the next generation of Boones.
Mind you Aaron Boone has a son with former Playboy Covergirl Laura Lee Cover. I wonder if that guy is going to have issues (so to speak) when his friends find the pictures of his mom.
Practice that swing, young Boone!
I'll go out on a limb here and say Scott Speizio's home run in the 2002 World Series was one of the most dramatic EVER hit.
It will never be listed among the most dramatic because it wasn't a walk off shot, it wasn't in the 9th and it didn't even make it a one run game.
But one swing changed the entire complexion of the game and ultimately the World Series.
He fouled off what seemed like 100 pitches with 2 outs in the 7th. His team was down 5-0 and the Giants seemed to be laughing their way to their first ever World Series title in San Francisco.
And then he hit it... and a 5-0 laugher became a 5-3 nail biter.
If he swings and misses on any of those foul balls, the Giants go into the 8th up by 5 runs.
If he swings and misses the Angels would have squandered their best chance instead of find new energy.
And maybe the Angels would remain one of those franchises that you wonder if they ever will win a World Series.
But he didn't swing and miss.
And he changed the fortunes of two teams.
Folks... THAT is a dramatic home run.
WHO WOULD WIN A HEAD TO HEAD SERIES?
The acquired team has more superstars, Hall of Famers and house hold names. But there are more players from the championship team on the home grown team. And their bullpen can hold a lead better.
VERDICT: THE HOME GROWN TEAM WOULD WIN THE SERIES..THE ACQUIRED TEAM LOOKS BETTER ON PAPER, BUT THESE GAMES AREN'T PLAYED ON PAPER. THEY ARE PLAYED IN MY MIND!!!
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Another one down.
That's the Angels
And The Padres
And The Twins
And The Orioles
And the A's
And the Astros
And the Giants
And the Rockies
And the Mets
And the Rangers
And the Marlins
And the Yankees
And the Red Sox
17 to go.
NEXT ALL TIME HOME GROWN VS. ACQUIRED TEAM:
THE WASHINGTON NATIONALS... ACTUALLY MAINLY THE MONTREAL EXPOS