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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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Anaheim, CA – 1990s: California Angels Manager Buck Rodgers talks to a a member of the Angels at Anaheim Stadium in Anaheim, California. Buck Rodgers managed the Angels from 1991-1994. (Photo by Angels Baseball LP/Getty Images)

3) Buck Rodgers

Buck Rodgers. The first catcher. While Earl Averill was technically the first full-time catcher in Angels history, starting 115 games in 1961, Rodgers was the first backstop to make an imprint on Halo history.

Beginning in 1962, he caught 895 games over nine seasons for the Angels. Only Bob Boone has caught more games for the franchise.

The switch-hitting Rodgers was best known for his defense, back in a a time when catchers were really only known for what they did behind the plate. Other than Joe Torre and Tom Haller, nobody really hit like a slugger while calling a game in the mid-sixties.

Rodgers took care of his pitchers as a backstop who could throw out base runners, turn double plays, and keep the ball in front of him. He led the American League in catching attempting base thieves three times over his career, finishing in the top five six times. And from 1962-1964 he committed the least number of errors among catchers.

Rodgers played his entire nine years in the majors with the Angels. He was a career .232 hitter and never hit more than 7 home runs in a season. But he held his own at the plate, finishing in the top ten several times for sacrifice flies, and even smacked the fifth most doubles in the American League in 1962.

The Delaware, Ohio native ended up managing the Angels several decades after retiring when he took over for Doug Radar in 1991. He was seriously injured in a team bus accident in 1992 that forced him away from the dugout for most of the season as he recovered from a broken right elbow, right rib and left knee injury.

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