LA Angels: Who is the greatest starting pitcher in franchise history?

Nolan Ryan, Los Angeles Angels (Photo by Robert Riger/Getty Images)
Nolan Ryan, Los Angeles Angels (Photo by Robert Riger/Getty Images) /
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Nolan Ryan of the California Angels (Photo by Robert Riger/Getty Images) /

The Angels don’t have the deepest history of all-time great starters, but they have a few who dominated in their time. Who is the greatest starting pitcher in Angels history?

The Angels, whether of California, Anaheim, Los Angeles of Anaheim, or Los Angeles haven’t always been known for their pitching, as their recent struggles in putting together a respectable staff reminds us.

Five Hall-of-Famers have pitched for the Halos, but only one for any length of time, and that is, Nolan Ryan. While there have been several very good pitchers who called Anaheim home, compared to their Freeway counterparts in Los Angeles, the list of all-time great Angels pitchers is pretty thin.

A sobering start to an article that plans on ranking the top Angel pitchers in franchise history, but important context to consider in placing each of these players in relation to where they would rank among the best in baseball. This isn’t a perfect list, but it’s a list of pitchers who through either consistency or extreme peaks became some of the best starters in Halo history.

Older Angel fans remember the saying, “Tanana and Ryan and two days of cryin’,” which perhaps best sums up the history of Angels starters. Even when they had two of the better pitchers in baseball, it was still a question mark after that.

In evaluating the best pitchers in team history, I focused on the seasons in which they pitched for the Angels. They could have been great somewhere else, or terrible somewhere else, it doesn’t matter. The only thing used in evaluating their ranking is how they fared while calling The Big A their home ballpark.

Some honorable mentions before we get started: Dean Chance (1961-1966), John Lackey (2002-2009), Mike Witt (1981-1990). Ok, so now that you have a little spoiler alert on who is not included, let’s get to the list.