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Angels All-Time Lists

LA Angels: Who is the greatest catcher in franchise history?

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Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim catcher Bengie Molina catches a relay throw from Orlando Cabrera to tage out Gary Matthews Jr. of the Texas Rangers in the fourth inning of 3-2 loss in 12 innings at Angel Stadium. (Photo by Kirby Lee/Getty Images)
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim catcher Bengie Molina catches a relay throw from Orlando Cabrera to tage out Gary Matthews Jr. of the Texas Rangers in the fourth inning of 3-2 loss in 12 innings at Angel Stadium. (Photo by Kirby Lee/Getty Images)
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LA Angels
ANAHEIM, CA – SEPTEMBER 15: Lance Parrish #13 of the California Angels bats during the game against the Chicago White Sox at Anaheim Stadium on September 15, 1991 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Gary Newkirk/Getty Images)

5) Lance Parrish

An eight-time All Star, Lance Parrish would rank higher on this list if he had played more seasons with the Angels, but his 400 games in Anaheim still qualify him as one of the franchise’s best backstops.

The Angels acquired Parrish, who lived in nearby Yorba Linda, in the 1988 offseason in sort of a sign-and-trade that sent minor league pitcher David Holdridge to Philadelphia.

Parrish was coming off an All-Star season in Philly, but more for reputation than merit, his batting average and slugging percentage dropping to career-lows. Upon arriving in Anaheim, the 33-year-old catcher found new life. He showed steady improvement in 1989, before having one of his best seasons as a pro during his second year with the Angels.

The right-handed hitter won his sixth Silver Slugger Award as the best offensive catcher in the American League in 1990. He batted .268/.338/.451 with 24 home runs and 70 RBIs. He did all of that while playing an elite level of defense behind the plate. He caught 55 base runners trying to steal (most in the American League), and turned more double plays than any other catcher that season (15).

Parrish would come back to earth in 1991 when his batting average dropped close to .215 again. By ’92, after several trips to the disabled list, he was released. In just 400 games with the Angels, his wins above replacement value ranks third in club history. A short but memorable tenure as a Halo backstop.

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