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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
1988: Catcher Bob Boone #8 of the California Angels looks to throw from home plate during a 1988 season game. (Photo by Louis DeLuca/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

1) Bob Boone

It seems strange to consider someone as the best backstop in franchise history when he didn’t arrive in Anaheim until he was 34-years-old and had already played ten seasons with another ballclub, but Bob Boone defied the aging curve in staying behind the plate for 19 seasons in total.

The San Diego native arrived in California after acting as the Phillies representative during the 1981 Major League Baseball players strike. Whether that contributed to the team deciding to trade him is unclear, but he was also coming off an unproductive season at the plate where he batted a career-worst .211.

At 33-years-old, turning 34, it was easy to believe the All-Star catcher was near the end of the road in the Big Leagues.

However, he found new life with the Halos. In 1982, he improved his batting average to .256, cracked seven home runs, and won his first Gold Glove Award since 1979.

Over the next seven years, he would continue to defy the odds as a catcher in his late thirties, and early forties, winning four more Gold Gloves behind the plate for the Angels. He had the best caught stealing percentage among catchers in 1982, 1985, and 1987. He also led the league in double plays turned from behind the plate in 1983, 1985, and 1986.

Helped by his defensive mastery, he is the franchise’s all-time leader in wins above replacement as a catcher (13.1).

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Boone was more of a steady compiler (he ended up playing in the 14th most games in club history) than a don’t-leave-your-seat-in-case-you-miss-something kind of player, but his longevity and consistency make him deserving to be listed atop the list of all-time great Halos catchers.

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