Thursday, May 19, 2011

#1 Nolan Ryan, RHP (1972-1979)

Nolan Ryan was acquired by the Angels on December 10, 1971 in what is considered the greatest trade in Angels’ history: Jim Fregosi for Nolan Ryan, Frank Estrada, Don Rose, and Leroy Stanton. He was immediately given the opportunity never fully afforded him in New York – a permanent spot in the starting rotation. The opportunity immediately paid dividends as the Ryan Express picked up speed on its journey toward Cooperstown.
Among his many accomplishments in Anaheim, Ryan pitched 4 of his ML record 7 no-hitters, and 6 of his ML record 12 one-hitters, as an Angel. Twice he struck out an AL record 8 consecutive batters, and tied a ML record with 19 strikeouts in a game. Nolan was the first pitcher to officially record a pitch over 100 mph. In 1972 he became the first pitcher to strike out the side on 9 pitches in both leagues. In 1973, Nolan became the first winner of the Joe Cronin Award, in recognition of his ML record 383 strikeouts. He was named AL Player of the Month Award in 8/74 and 9/76. In 1977, Ryan was named AL TSN Pitcher of the Year. He represented the team as an All-Star in ’72, ’73, ’75, ’77, and ’79.
In 1979, Ryan led the Angels to their first playoff appearance. In the playoffs, Ryan struck out 8, and allowed 1 ER over 7 innings for a 1.29 ERA in his only start (a no-decision). Although it was his only playoff appearance for the Halos, Ryan eventually cracked the ML postseason Top Ten leader board with 46 strikeouts (T8th, LCS career) and 10.016 K/9 IP (3rd, LCS career).
Following the 1979 season, the Angels’ GM, Buzzy Bavasi took a hard line stance with the franchise’s greatest player, claiming he could always replace his 16-14 record with two 8-7 pitchers. It was a mistake Bavasi would soon regret. Nolan signed with the Astros, and played fourteen more seasons, racking up the greatest strikeout numbers of anyone to play the game. Nolan’s #30 was retired by the Angels, and he was inducted into the Angel Hall of Fame in 1992. He is the only Major League Hall of Famer to play more games for the Angels than any other ball club.
After 8 years in Anaheim, the Angels’ Player of the 70’s is the Angels’ career leader with:
- 156 complete games
- 40 shutouts
- 1,302 walks
- 2,416 strikeouts
Nolan also ranks among the Angels’ all-time Top Ten with:
- a 41.1 WAR for Pitchers (2nd)
- a 3.07 ERA (4th)
- 138 wins (2nd)
- 6.271 Hits/9 IP (2nd)
- 9.968 K/9 IP (2nd)
- 291 games (8th)
- 2,181.3 innings pitched (2nd)
- 288 games started (2nd)
- 0.474 HR/9 IP (2nd)
- 9,178 batters faced (2nd)
Ryan’s single season records include: 22 wins (’74), 5.261 Hits/9 IP (’72), 10.574 K/9 IP (’73), 332.7 innings pitched (’74), a ML record 383 strikeouts (’73), 41 games started (’74), and 26 complete games (’73 & ’74).
He has appeared on the team’s Top Ten seasonal leader board in:
- WAR for pitchers (twice – ’73, ‘77)
- ERA (once – ‘72)
- Wins (4x – ’72, ’73, ’74, ‘77)
- Innings pitched (5x – ’72, ’73, ’74, ’76, ‘77)
- Strikeouts (6x – ’72, ’73, ’74, ’76, ’77, ‘78)
- Games started (5x - ’72, ’73, ’74, ’76, ‘77)
- Complete games (6x - ’72, ’73, ’74, ’76, ’77, ‘79)
- Shutouts (4x – ’72, ’75, ’76, ‘79)
- Hits/9 IP (5x – ’72, ’73, ’74, ’76, ‘77)
- K/9 IP (7x – ’72, ’73, ’74, ’76, ’77, ’78, ‘79)
- HR/9 IP (once – ‘77)
* League leader years highlighted

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

#2 Tim Salmon, RF (1992-2004, 2006)

Tim is easily the greatest Angel to play his entire career with the team. “Mr. Angel” was drafted by the Angels in 1989, and made his big league debut in 1992. In 1993, Tim became the Angels’ only Rookie of the Year, batting .283 with 31 HR, 95 RBI, and 93 runs. In 1995, he won a Silver Slugger Award after batting .330 (8th) with 34 HR (T10th), 105 RBI, and a .594 SLG% (3rd) to finish 7th in the MVP voting. His 129 RBI in ’97 rank 2nd in team history. In July, 1997, Tim won the AL Player of the Month Award. On 04/12/98, the Kingfish set a team record with 5 runs in one game. In 2002, he won the Hutch Award as the player who best exemplifies the fighting spirit and competitive desire, and TSN Comeback player of the Year. Although not known for his glove, Salmon led the AL in putouts (RF) five straight years (’93-’97), and assists (RF) once.
Although Salmon helped his team win the AL West in 2004, injuries kept him from playing in the playoffs. His legacy, however, was forged during the 2002 postseason. In the ALDS vs. the Yankees, Salmon had a double, 2 homers, and 7 RBI (T9th, single LDS) to help the Angels win their first ever postseason series. His greatest accomplishment, however, was helping the team win the 2002 World Series against the Giants. He was the hero of Game 2, smacking two home runs including the game winner in the bottom of the eighth in a “must win” game. For the Series, he batted .346, with 2 HR, 5 RBI, and 7 runs scored. The most touching moment of his career was probably when he took the AL trophy, following their Game 5 ALCS victory, and jogged around the field holding it aloft for the fans to enjoy.
After 14 seasons, the Angels’ Player of the 90’s retired as the team’s career leader with:
- 42.2 Offensive WAR
- 299 home runs
- 970 walks
- 1,264 games in RF.
Salmon also ranks among the Angels’ all-time Top Ten with:
- a 37.6 WAR (3rd)
- a .385 OB% (2nd)
- a .498 SLG% (2nd)
- a .884 OPS (2nd)
- 1,672 games (2nd)
- 5,934 AB (2nd)
- 986 runs (2nd)
- 1,674 hits (2nd)
- 2,958 total bases (2nd)
- 1,012 singles (4th)
- 339 doubles (2nd)
- 24 triples (T10th)
- 1,016 RBI (2nd)
- 662 extra base hits (2nd)
- 2,711 times on base (2nd)
- a .646 Offensive Win % (2nd)
- 67 HBP (3rd)
- 68 sacrifice flies (2nd)
- 45 IBB (T6th)
- 19.8 AB/HR (6th)
- 16 postseason games (T10th)
- 10 postseason runs (T8th)
- 17 postseason hits (T10th)
- 4 postseason home runs (T3rd)
- 12 postseason RBI (T6th)
- 8 postseason walks (T4th)
- 31 postseason TB (8th)
- a .288 postseason BA (9th)
- a .382 postseason OB% (5th)
- a .525 postseason SLG% (5th)
- a .908 postseason OPS (3rd)
The Kingfish holds Angels’ single season records with a 7.4 Offensive WAR (’95) and a 1.024 OPS (’95). Over his career, Salmon has racked up Top Ten seasonal totals in:
- WAR (once – ’95)
- BA (once – ’95)
- OB% (twice – ’95, ‘98)
- SLG% (once – ‘95)
- OPS (twice – ’95, ‘00)
- HR (twice – ’95, ‘00)
- RBI (once – ‘97)
- Walks (3x – ’97, ’00, ‘01)
- Extra base hits (once – ‘00)
- Times on base (3x – ’95, ’97, ‘00)
- Offensive Win % (twice – ’95, ‘98)
- SF (once – ‘97)
- AB/HR (once – ‘95)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

#3 Garret Anderson, OF (1994-2008)

Garret was drafted by the Angels in the 1990 amateur draft, and made his debut at the end of the 1994 season. “G.A.” was the first ML rookie to ever win Player of the Month honors (7/95). He finished 2nd in the ROY balloting with a .321 BA, 16 HR, and 69 RBI. He was an All-Star in ’02, ’03, and ’05, winning the HR derby and All-Star MVP honors at the ’03 summer classic. He won Silver Slugger Awards in ’02 and ’03. On Sept. 27, 1996, he set an Angel record for most hits in a game with 6. In 1998, his 28-game hitting streak is the best in team history. On June 4, 2003, he tied another team record with 3 HRs as the team set a team record with 7 HR in a game. In 2007, he set a pair of Angels’ records with 10 RBIs in one game, and a 12-game RBI streak. He was also a much better defensive outfielder than most fans give him credit for. He led all AL leftfielders in putouts once, assists once, and fielding % four times.
G.A. was a major contributor in helping the team win the AL West in 2004, 2005, 2007, and 2008. In 2005, he hit two HR with 7 RBI (T9th, single LDS) in the ALDS victory over the Yankees. But the highlight of Garret’s career was when he delivered the winning hit in Game 7 of the 2002 World Series, driving in three runs with a bases loaded double in the third inning.
Garret left the Angels as a Free Agent after the 2008 season. In a team record 15 seasons as an Angel, G.A. never batted under .280. The Angels’ Co-Player of the 2000’s is the team’s career leader with:
- 2,013 games
- 7,989 AB
- 1,024 runs
- 2,368 hits
- 1,572 singles
- 489 doubles
- 3,743 total bases
- 1,292 RBI
- 76 sacrifice flies
- 796 extra base hits
- 2,771 times on base
- 1,236 games in LF
- 36 postseason games
- 154 postseason PA
- 2 postseason SF (T1st)
- 22 postseason RBI
G.A. also ranks among the Angels’ all-time career Top Ten with:
- a 28.6 WAR (5th)
- a .296 BA (4th)
- a .469 SLG% (8th)
- 35 triples (3rd)
- 272 HR (2nd)
- 397 walks (10th)
- 1,117 strikeouts (2nd)
- 101 IBB (2nd)
- 3,821 putouts (9th)
- 17 postseason runs (3rd)
- 36 postseason hits (2nd)
- 5 postseason doubles (T2nd)
- 1 postseason triple (T2nd)
- 5 postseason HR (2nd)
- 5 postseason walks (T9th)
- 58 postseason TB (T2nd)
- a .395 postseason SLG% (10th)
Garret hold the Angels’ single season records of 56 doubles (’02) and 88 extra base hits (’02). He put up Top Ten season marks in:
- WAR (once – ‘03)
- Games (once – ‘01)
- At bats (4x – ’00, ’01, ’02, ‘03)
- Hits (5x – ’97, ’99, ’01, ’02, ‘03)
- Total bases (4x - ’00, ’01, ’02, ‘03)
- Doubles (3x – ’98, ’02, ‘03)
- Home runs (once – ‘00)
- RBI (4x - ’00, ’01, ’02, ‘03)
- Singles (once – ‘97)
- Extra base hits (3x – ’00, ’02, ‘03)
* League leader years highlighted

Monday, May 16, 2011

#4 Vladimir Guerrero, RF, DH (2004-2009)

Vladimir is undoubtedly the Angels’ best free agent signing of all-time, inking a contract with the Halos on Jan. 14, 2004. He immediately led the Angels to their first divisional title in 18 years, becoming the team’s second ever MVP after literally carrying them to the title during the final week of the season to win the September AL Player of the Month Award. In all, the four-time Angel All-Star led the Halos to 5 divisional titles during his 6 years in Anaheim. Vlad won Silver Slugger Awards from ’04-’07, and is one of only two Angels (together with Garret) to have 4 100+ RBI seasons. His finest moment as an Angel came when he stroked the game-winning hit to sweep the Red Sox in Game 3 of the ’09 ALDS. His 23 career singles in LDS play rank 10th all-time. He led the league 13 assists (RF) in ‘04. In 2008, he joined Lou Gehrig as the only two players in ML history to hit .300+ with 25+ HR for 11 consecutive seasons. In 2009, Sports Illustrated named him as the right fielder on their All-Decade team.
After the 2009 season, the Angels allowed their star player to leave as a Free Agent to the Rangers. Injuries were taking their toll, and it appeared that the free-swinging slugger was washed up; so naturally, Guerrero played a key role in helping the 2010 Rangers make it to their first ever World Series.
During his 6 seasons with the Angels, Guerrero put up some eye-popping numbers. The Angels’ Co-Player of the 2000’s is the Angels’ career leader with:
- a .319 BA
- a .546 SLG%
- a .927 OPS
- a .662 offensive win %
- 112 intentional walks
- 12 postseason walks
Vladi also ranks among the Angels’ career Top Ten with:
- a 24.7 WAR (7th)
- a .381 OB% (3rd)
- 544 runs (8th)
- 1,034 hits (8th)
- 1,767 total bases (7th)
- 194 doubles (6th)
- 173 home runs (5th)
- 616 RBI (6th)
- 377 extra base hits (6th)
- 1,375 times on base (10th)
- 37 HBP (9th)
- 18.7 AB/HR (4th)
- 29 postseason games (T3rd)
- 126 postseason PA (4th)
- 13 postseason runs (T4th)
- 32 postseason hits (3rd)
- 4 postseason doubles (T7th)
- 2 postseason HR (T8th)
- 14 postseason RBI (4th)
- 2 postseason SB (T6th)
- 42 postseason TB (4th)
- a .286 postseason BA (10th)
- a .365 postseason OB% (7th)
Guerrero owns the top five single season marks for intentional walks including 28 IBB in 2007. He also set Angels’ seasonal records with a league-leading 124 runs (’04) and a 5.9 WPA (’07). He put up other Top Ten seasonal totals in:
- WAR (once – ‘04)
- Batting average (twice – ’04, ‘06)
- SLG % (3x – ’04, ’05, ‘06)
- OPS (3x – ’04, ’05, ‘07)
- Hits (twice – ’04, ‘06)
- Total bases (twice – ’04, ‘06)
- Doubles (once – ‘07)
- Home runs (once – ‘04)
- RBI (3x – ’04, ’06, ‘07)
- XBH (twice – ’04, ‘07)
- TOB (twice – ’04, ‘07)
- Intentional walks (’04, ’05, ’06, ’07, ’08)
- Offensive win % (twice – ’04, ‘05)
- AB/HR (once – ‘04).
* League leader years highlighted

Sunday, May 15, 2011

#5 Jim Fregosi, SS (1961-1971)

Jim Fregosi was drafted by the Angels in the 1960 expansion draft. He was the captain of the Angels’ teams of the 1960s. He made his ML debut during the Angel’s inaugural season and was their first long-term offensive star, making six All-Star teams, and receiving MVP votes every year from ’63 – ’70. He was the first Angel to hit for the cycle, doing it twice. Jim was a Gold Glove fielder (1967) and led the AL with 531 assists in ‘66, 312 putouts in ’65, and 15 sacrifice hits in 1965.
            While still near the top of his game, the Angels traded Fregosi to the Mets for Nolan Ryan. Then, in ’78, they brought him back to manage the team. In his first full season as manager, Jim captained the Halos to their first ever playoff appearance in ’79. In 1989, Fregosi was honored by becoming the second Angel elected into the team’s Hall of Fame. His #11 was retired by the team in 1998. All in all, he is the greatest Angel shortstop of all-time.
After parts of 11 seasons with the Halos, the Angels’ Player of the 60’s is the team’s all-time career leader with:
- a 44.1 WAR
- 70 triples
- 4,131 assists
- 1,397 games at SS
Fregosi ranks in the Angels’ career Top Ten with:
- 1,429 games (4th)
- 5,244 at bats (5th)
- 691 runs (5th)
- 1,408 hits (5th)
- 2,112 total bases (5th)
- 1,004 singles (5th)
- 219 doubles (5th)
- 546 RBI (8th)
- 558 walks (4th)
- 404 extra base hits (5th)
- 1,995 times on base (4th)
- 74 sacrifice hits (5th)
- 39 sacrifice flies (T8th)
- 835 DP turned (2nd)
Fregosi owns the Angel’s top two single season WAR totals – including a LL 8.1 (’64) - and tied the franchise record with 162 games (’66). He also owns Angels’ Top Ten season totals in:
- WAR (twice – ’64, ’70)
- Games (3x - ’65, ’66, ’69)
- Triples (twice – ’63, ’68)
* League leader years highlighted

Saturday, May 14, 2011

#6 Brian Downing, C, LF, DH (1978-1990)

Brian was traded to the Halos with Dave Frost and Chris Knapp in exchange for Bobby Bonds, Thad Bosley, and Richard Dotson prior to the 1978 season. He was an All-Star in 1979, when he batted .326 as a catcher, and joined Bobby Grich as the core of the team’s first three AL West championship teams in ’79, ’82, and ‘86. Downing set a pair of AL records with 244 consecutive errorless games by an OF (5/25/81 – 7/21/83) and most chances (330) in an errorless season (1982). His career .995 fielding % (LF) ranks #1 all-time in ML history. Most of all, Downing excelled at getting on base, and therefore often batted leadoff, despite also being a power threat. He won the AL Player of the Month Award in April, 1987.
Brian signed with the Texas Rangers for the 1991 season. After 13 years in Anaheim, Downing left as the career leader in many offensive categories. Downing was inducted into the Angels’ Hall of Fame in 2009. The Angels’ Player of the 80’s is still the team’s career leader with:
- 105 hit by pitch
- a 22.1 WPA
- 598 games at DH
- 2 postseason SF (T1st)
Downing ranks among the Angels’ all-time career Top Ten with:
- a 37.7 WAR (2nd)
- a .372 OB% (5th)
- a .813 OPS (10th)
- 1,661 games (3rd)
- 5,854 at bats (3rd)
- 889 runs (3rd)
- 1,588 hits (3rd)
- 2,580 total bases (3rd)
- 1,062 singles (3rd)
- 282 doubles (3rd)
- 222 home runs (3rd)
- 846 RBI (3rd)
- 866 walks (2nd)
- 526 extra base hits (3rd)
- 2,559 times on base (3rd)
- a .614 offensive win % (5th)
- 54 sacrifice flies (3rd)
- 2,967 putouts (10th)
- 16 postseason games (T10th)
- 73 postseason PA (10th)
- 7 postseason runs (T10th)
- 8 postseason walks (T4th)
As an Angel, Brian holds Top Ten seasonal marks in:
- WAR (once - ’79)
- OB% (once - ’79)
- PA (once - ’82)
- Walks (once - ’87)
- TOB (twice – ’82, ’87)
- HBP (3x - ’86, ’87, ‘88)

Friday, May 13, 2011

#7 Chuck Finley, LHP (1986-1999)

Chuck was drafted by the Angels in the 1984 draft. He climbed the ladder to Anaheim during the 1986 season, contributing to the division winners with a 3-1 record and a 3.30 ERA out of the bullpen. On July 29, 1997, the four-time Angel All-Star passed Nolan Ryan as the Angels all-time leader in wins. Because of his exceptional sinkerball, Chuck sometimes had third strikes dropped by his catchers, allowing the runner to reach first. As a result, he is the only pitcher in ML history to strike out 4 batters in an inning multiple times in his career – twice with the Angels, and once with the Indians. From July 1, 1997May 2, 1998, Chuck set a team record by winning 14 consecutive decisions.
Finley’s best season was 1990, when he won 18 games, with a 2.40 ERA (6th), and a 7.5 WAR for pitchers (7th) to finish 7th for the Cy Young Award. Throughout his career, he was a solid starter, consistently finishing among the league leaders in starts, innings and strikeouts, and had a LL 13 CG in ‘93.
Chuck pitched 14 years (1st) with the Angels, before signing with Cleveland for the 2000 season. He is the Angels’ career leader with:
- 165 wins
- 2,675 innings
- a 49.2 WAR for pitchers
- 11,398 batters faced
- 379 starts
Finley also ranks among the Angels’ all-time career Top Ten with:
- 7.237 K/9 IP (6th)
- 436 games pitched (3rd)
- 2,151 strikeouts (2nd)
- 57 complete games (4th)
- 14 shutouts (T4th)
- 2 postseason games finished (T8th)