Once again honoring Black History Month , we thought it would be fun to put together an All Time African American team for the Angels. After sifting through all the data you find out that there are a lot of good candidates worthy of making this team. The Angels have had some great talent pass through in their 50 year history and many of those players have been African American. Left and Center Field for instance, were particularly challenging. In left you have several star caliber players: Garret Anderson, Don Baylor, Chilli Davis , and Alex Johnson (still the teams only batting champ) who all spent time manning left field for the Halos. In center field you have some stiff competition with Gary Pettis , Devon White and Torii Hunter all deserving of a spot on the club.
Selecting the catcher spot required us to get creative but ultimately we went with Tony Phillips because well, Tony could play anywhere. He played every position minus pitcher and catcher at some point during his big league career and while with the Angels he was typically cited as the teams ”emergency catcher”. Selecting a starting pitcher was also am excercise in creativity. Darren Oliver was once a full time starter and started 38 career games for the Angels so he gets the nod by defualt and lack of competition. At closer we juggled the choice of Lee Smith or Donnie Moore . Both men had similar short careers closing with the Angels, but we gave Smith the nod more so for his overall career achievements and the impact he had in tutoring his successor Troy Percival.
As always when making a list of such magnitude there are bound to be errors and omissions, but without further adieu we present the Angels All Time African America team.
- 1B – Rod Carew- (1979 – 1985) Best Angel season - 1980: .331. / 396./ .437 / .833 OPS – 23 SB’s , 74 Runs
- 2B – Howie Kendrick - ( 2006 – Present) Best Angel season – 2009: .291./.334 /.444 / .778 OPS – 10 HR , 61 RBI
- SS – Damion Easley – ( 1992 – 1996) Best Angel season- 1993: .313 ./ 392 ./ .413 / .805 OPS – 73 games
- 3B – Chone Figgins- (2002 – 2009) Best Angel season – 2007: .330 /.393 /.432 / .825 OPS – 41 SB’s , 81 Runs
- LF – Garret Anderson – (1994 – 2008) Best Angel season – 2002: .306 / .332 / .539 / .871 OPS - 29 HR , 123 RBI World Series Champion
- CF – Torii Hunter - ( 2008 – Present) Best Angel season – 2009: .299 / .366 / .508 / .873 OPS – 22 HR, 90 RBI
- RF – Don Baylor - ( 1977 – 1982) Best Angel season – 1979: .296 / .371/ .530 / .901 OPS – 36 HR, 139 RBI , 22 SB’s, AL MVP
- DH – Chilli Davis - ( 1988 -90 ,1993 – 1996) Best Angel season 1994: .311 / .410 /.561 / .971 OPS – 26 HR, 84 RBI
- C – Tony Phillips – ( 1995 , 1997) Best Angel season 1995: .261 / .394 / .459 / .853 OPS – 27 HR, 119 Runs, 61 RBI
- SP – Darren Oliver – ( 2007 – 2009) Best Angel season 2009: 2.71 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 73 IP, 65 K’s,
- Setup – Donnie Moore - ( 1985 – 1988) Best Angel season 1985: 1.92 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 31 Saves
- Closer - Lee Smith – (1995 – 1996) Best Angel season 1995: 3.47 ERA, 49 IP, 43K’s, 37 Saves
The Batting Order
- Chone Figgins – 3B
- Rod Carew – 1B
- Garret Anderson – LF
- Don Baylor – RF
- Chilli Davis – DH
- Torii Hunter – CF
- Tony Phillips – C
- Howie Kendrick – 2B
- Damion Easley – SS
The Hangout View: Offensively the All Time African American Angels team has a deep and potent lineup. There is speed at the top and throughout the lineup to go with some big time middle of the order bats. Defensively the team is solid but not spectacular. The outfield defense projects to be good with a prime Torii Hunter and Don Baylor covering a ton of ground. GA caught flack from Halo fans who mistook his smooth strides for loafing, but he played a solid left field in his prime ( posting seasons of 11.0 and 7.2 UZR). On defense Figgins is capable of playing a spectacular 3rd base as we saw in 2009. Carew was regarded as a good defensive first basemen and Easley and Kendrick form a capable middle infield. We have no data for Tony Phillips catching ability but the man could literally play anywhere on thediamond so you could safely reason he would adjust ( ok maybe not..but work with me here)
Starting pitching is the biggest team concern, but if Oliver could somehow bridge the gap to Moore in the 6th or 7th you’d have to feel pretty good about this team’s chances in a fictitious one game playoff scenario with Lee Smith closing the door.
Notes: Tony Phillips could not be reached for comment on his ability to catch but… we have faith in you Tony.
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