Wednesday, February 12, 2020

All-Time Teams: Angels

The Collector's All-Time Teams Series is back after a winter hiatus. Today we'll look at the All-Time roster for the Los Angeles California Anaheim Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Or as they're known on Topps cards.. Angels.

Manager: Mike Scioscia
Home: Angel Stadium

Leading off for the Angels.. the Second Baseman.. Bobby Grich

Bobby Grich ranks 8th all-time among second basemen with a 71.1 career WAR; only one player ahead of him is not in the Hall of Fame. The six-time All-Star and four-time Gold Glove winner hit a career-high 30 home runs for the Angels in 1979, helping the team reach the postseason for the first time. In 1981 Grich led the AL in slugging and OPS+; he shared the league lead in home runs with 22.

Batting second for Los Angeles..the Right Fielder.. Tim Salmon

Tim Salmon is perhaps the best player never to have made an All-Star team. Salmon won a Silver Slugger award in 1995 after setting career highs with 34 home runs, a .330 BA, and a 1.024 OPS. The 1993 AL Rookie of the Year is second in Halos history with 1,672 games played, 1,674 hits, 1,016 RBI, 339 doubles, and 2,958 total bases. Salmon is clinging to the franchise lead in career home runs, but will surely be passed this season by the next player in this lineup.

Batting third.. the Center Fielder.. Mike Trout

The greatest player in Angels history is just 28 years old. Mike Trout has been an All-Star, a Silver Slugger winner and a top-4 finisher in MVP voting in each of his eight full seasons. His career OPS is an even 1.000, and his career WAR of 72.5 places him right in between two of the newest Hall of Famers - behind Larry Walker but ahead of Derek Jeter. The New Jersey native also has 200 career stolen bases, including a league-leading 49 as a rookie in 2012.

Batting fourth.. the Third Baseman.. Troy Glaus

Troy Glaus played just seven seasons with the Angels, but made a big impact. The 3rd overall pick in the 1997 draft won two Silver Slugger awards and made four All-Star teams - three for the Angels. Glaus led the AL in home runs with 47 in 2000 and powered the team to its first and only World Series Championship, earning MVP honors with 10 hits and 22 total bases in the 2002 Series. Troy is tied for 12th all-time among third basemen with 320 career homers.

Batting fifth.. the Designated Hitter.. Brian Downing

A part-time player with the White Sox, Brian Downing's career took off after a trade to Anaheim before the 1978 season. The "Incredible Hulk" was a strong presence in the Angels' lineup for 13 seasons, helping the Halos reach the playoffs three times. Downing walked more than he struck out and slugged 20+ home runs in six seasons - all of them after age 30. He's in the Angels' all-time top five in most offensive categories.

Batting sixth.. the Left Fielder.. Garret Anderson

Garret Anderson played more games than anyone in Angels history. The franchise standard-bearer in hits, runs, doubles, total bases, and RBI represented Anaheim in three All-Star Games and won two Silver Slugger awards. Anderson finished second in Rookie of the Year voting in 1995, the first of six seasons in which he batted .300 or better. His career hit total of 2,529 places him in the top 100 all-time.

Batting seventh.. the First Baseman.. Wally Joyner

Another Rookie of the Year runner-up, Wally Joyner was an All-Star in his freshman season during which he led the Angels in hits, total bases, and RBI. He followed that up with a sensational second season, setting career highs with 34 homers, 117 RBI, and a .528 SLG% in 1987. Though his production declined after that, Joyner's 121 OPS+ is tenth in team history and first among first basemen who played the majority of their careers at the big "A".

Batting eighth.. the Shortstop.. Jim Fregosi

An expansion draft pick from the Red Sox in 1960, Jim Fregosi was arguably the Angels' most valuable player through their early years. The six-time All-Star received MVP votes in eight consecutive seasons and slashed .268/.340/.403 in a decade-plus with the team. Fregosi is the Angels' all-time leader in career triples with 70, and his 45.9 WAR is third in franchise annals. After a subpar 1971 season Fregosi was traded to the Mets for four players - including Nolan Ryan.

Batting ninth.. the Catcher.. Bengie Molina

The oldest of three catching Molina brothers, Bengie Molina was a defense-first backstop for Anaheim over eight seasons. However the two-time Gold Glove winner had some pop in his bat, posting four seasons of double-digit home runs for the Angels and eight overall. Bengie's brother Jose Molina served as his backup for parts of five seasons.

The Starting Pitcher for the Angels.. Frank Tanana

Frank Tanana is fourth among Angels pitchers with 34.2 career WAR and a 3.18 fielding-independent ERA. So why is he the 'ace' of this All-Time Team? Quality over quantity. Starting at age 19, Tanana's eight seasons in Anaheim included three All-Star nods, two top-4 Cy Young finishes, and three seasons of 7+ WAR. He led the majors with 269 strikeouts and a 3.68 K:BB ratio in 1975, then followed that with 261 K's and a league-leading 0.988 WHIP in 1976.

Now let's take a look at the Angels' bench and bullpen:

Catcher: Bob Boone
1st Base/OF: Darin Erstad
Infield: Howie Kendrick
Outfield/DH: Chili Davis
Outfield/DH: Don Baylor 

Boone caught more games for the Phillies, but he's a better option than Buck Rodgers. Erstad is 4th on the team's all-time hits list and won Gold Gloves at two positions. Three designated hitters instead of a true outfielder like Kole Calhoun was a tough call; Baylor's 1979 AL MVP season sealed his spot on this squad. Chone Figgins would be an ideal 26th man for his speed and versatility, but we're sticking with the original roster sizes.

#2 Starter: Chuck Finley
#3 Starter: Jered Weaver
#4 Starter: Dean Chance
#5 Starter: John Lackey

Finley is the franchise leader in WAR, wins, starts, and innings pitched. Consider the five-time All-Star as this rotation's "1A". Weaver started the 2010s with three All-Star nods and three top-5 Cy Young finishes and I completely forgot he was that good. Chance won the 1964 Cy Young award (for both leagues) after posting a 1.65 ERA and 11 shutouts. Lackey beat out Mark Langston for the fifth starter spot based on better control - and his winning performance in Game 7 of the 2002 World Series.

RH Reliever: Cam Bedrosian
LH Reliever: Brendan Donnelly
RH Reliever: Scot Shields
RH Reliever: Bryan Harvey
RH Reliever: Francisco Rodriguez
RH Reliever: Troy Percival

Donnelly was an All-Star in 2003 and posted a 154 ERA+ across five seasons in Anaheim. Shields is second in franchise history with 491 appearances. Harvey saved an AL-leading 46 games for the Halos in 1991. "K-Rod" set a single-season record with 62 saves in 2008. His 437 career saves are fourth all-time. Percival saved 316 games for the Angels and 358 overall. This bullpen has over 1,000 career saves - more than almost any All-Time Team.

Just a reminder that you can find this post and all of the All-Time Teams on the Your City, Your Team tab at the top of this blog. Hope to see you back here for our next All-Time Team, the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Thanks for reading!




  1. I think Mike Trout is looking around the clubhouse thinking, man, they STILL can't put a team around me that I can win with!

    I do think that Nolan Ryan should have been here and not in Houston. He pitched more games and more innings in Anaheim and had a better ERA, 32 more wins, and about 15 more WAR. He could have been replaced on the Astros roster by Don Wilson, who actually had more WAR as an Astro than Ryan did.

    But very happy to have this series back. BTW, since you last did this I bought my first card of Ross Barnes in honor of the Barnes-stormers. Just a 2012 Goodwin Champions base card, nothing special, but a nice memento of this series in a way. There are only a few cards of him, and it appears he didn't get a "rookie card" until over 130 years after he started playing!

    1. Ryan was a tough call for sure, you make a great point and I appreciate your feedback. It's awesome that you added Barnes to your card collection as a memento of this series!

  2. To think, despite lots of great players to be Angels (Ryan, Carew, Guerrero), Trout is going to be the first true Angel Hall of Famer!

    1. Crazy, isn't it? This isn't a new team. They've been around almost 60 years!

      I was a little disappointed that Vlad chose an Angels cap for his HOF plaque. He's an Expo in my book. But I understand why he did.

  3. More proof that non-SoCal baseball fans choose to forget that Ryan was his most dominant as an Angel. He should be the number one starter for the Angels.

    1. I didn't choose to ignore it, it was a tough call. Nolan Ryan is such a tried-and-true Texan that I personally felt it would be weird to not have him rep the Astros.

    2. Agreed, it was a tough call. Just had to vent a little. Glad to see Downing and Fregosi. Great list.

  4. Nice job getting Jim Fregosi in there. Along with playing, he could help manage the team.

    Also, Tim Salmon never made an All-Star team??!?

  5. Yeah, Salmon never making an All-Star team is a complete shock to me also.
    I'm really happy that Darin Erstad found his way onto the roster. I liked his skill set and he seemed like a pretty gritty player who would do whatever was asked to win.
    K-Rod making it also made me smile. He's the pitcher I most associate with the Angels and it's all because of how the then 20-year-old burst onto the scene to help the Angels win the World Series in 2002. He only pitched 5 games in the regular season and ELEVEN in the post season! How crazy is that?

  6. Bob Boone, Bobby Grich and Brian Downing. Throw in a Carew here and a Lynn there. Now those are the era of Angels I enjoy reminiscing about.

  7. There's not really anything for me to add here, other than to say that I always liked Garret Anderson. He felt like a bit of a throwback, very professional in his playing manner, and carried himself very well off the field.

  8. I'm glad to see the series return, especially with guys like Bobby Grich and Don Baylor still being highlighted. Keep it up.

  9. I've never followed the Angels closely, not even in the Trout era. When I began collecting in 93, Salmon was a big part of that. Always felt he was underrated. I've kept a few of his cards but broke up the PC.