1) 1982 Opening Day
The best Opening Day lineup in Halos history belongs to the 1982 team. This lineup included five players with an OPS at least 20 percent greater than league average that season. Even without Bobby Grich missing the opener, this lineup was stacked with a lethal combination of sluggers.
Of course, the highlight of this Opening Day lineup was the debut of Reggie Jackson. Mr. October proved he had one last great season left in his 36-year-old body, smacking a league-leading 39 home runs, while batting .275/.375/.532. His OPS+, which is park adjusted so accounts the difference between Angel Stadium and Yankee Stadium, was nearly on par with his 1980 campaign when he finished second in MVP voting.
All-Star Fred Lynn recovered from an injury-riddled debut season in 1981 with his best season as an Angel at the plate. He hit 21 home runs and slashed .299/.374/.517. His 141 hits were the most since his career-best season with the Red Sox in 1979.
Between Lynn and Jackson, you had to deal with Hall-of-Famer Rod Carew, 36-years-old at the time, but still a difficult out, batting .319 and getting on base in front of the power sluggers.
Moving down the lineup didn’t get any easier for opposing pitchers. Brian Downing and Doug DeCinces both had breakout seasons. DeCinces hit a career best .301 average and .548 slugging percentage while connecting on 30 home runs. He won the Silver Slugger award and finished third in MVP voting. Downing added 28 more home runs, while accumulating a career-best 300 total bases.
While I wish we were talking about the 2020 Opening Day lineup, it’s fun to remember these great lineups of the past. Thanks for reading!