LA Angels: Who is the Tom Brady of the Angels?

Garret Anderson, Los Angeles Angels, (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)
Garret Anderson, Los Angeles Angels, (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images) /

Tom Brady is leaving the Patriots to finish his career in another city, which got me thinking, who is the Tom Brady of the Angels?

After learning Tom Brady is leaving the Patriots, the only franchise he has known over his 20-year career, I started thinking about who the closest equivalent to Brady would be in Angels history. From an historical, top-of-the-sport perspective, the most obvious comparison is Mike Trout. But I want to look at it a little differently.

There’s Tom Brady, the all-time great quarterback; and there’s Tom Brady, the all-time great Patriot, a player, regardless of his Hall-of-Fame standing, who has represented the best of his franchise for twenty years, and will now play his final days in a strange-looking uniform (let’s hope this doesn’t turn out to be Mike Trout).

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Angels fans probably know where I’m going with this. Tom Brady ending his career with another team reminds me of Garret Anderson. The soft-spoken, left-hander played 15 seasons in Anaheim, having played the most games in franchise history, before signing with the Braves and finishing his career in an ugly Dodgers uniform in 2010.

It’s easy to let the countless Super Bowls distract people from the fact that Brady was the quarterback who led the Patriots to their first championship in franchise history. Garret Anderson did the same for the Angels. In fact, his best season came during that magical 2002 run when he made his first of three All-Star teams, won the Silver Slugger award, and connected on the biggest hit in franchise history when he smacked a bases-clearing double that proved to be the difference in the Angels 4-1 victory in Game 7.

Anderson played for the Angels when they were known as the California Angels, Anaheim Angels, and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. He is the club leader in runs (1,024), doubles (489), hits (2,368), RBIs (1,292), and total bases (3,743). He ranks third in home runs (272) and his .296 career batting average ranks fifth in team history. He was inducted into the Angels Hall of Fame in 2016.

Not everyone can be Derek Jeter and play for one team their entire career. The mechanics of free agency pretty much guarantees players will eventually switch teams. But there are certain players who only belong in one uniform.

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While Garret Anderson never reached the historical peaks of Tom Brady, as an Angel, he represented something similar. He was a steady presence, unflappable, and the face of the organization’s first championship. He is an Angel forever.