LA Angels: Who is the greatest starting pitcher in franchise history?
3) Chuck Finley
Chuck Finley never won a Cy Young Award, never led the league in wins or strikeouts, and his four All-Star appearances while wearing an Angels uniform were scattered over 14 seasons in the American League West.
The left-handed power pitcher’s resume doesn’t jump out at you, but if you look closely at his peak years, and follow his consistency over a long tenure with the Halos, he was good enough to cement his name atop many of the franchise’s all-time leaderboards.
Finley is the club’s all-time leader in career wins above replacement (52.0), along with traditional measures such as wins (165) and innings pitched (2675). He reached double-digit wins in ten of the 14 seasons he pitched for the Halos. From 1988-1999, he was the team’s Ace, taking the mound each year on Opening Day.
A 15th round pick from the 1984 draft, Finley’s best seasons came between 1989-1991, when he went 52-27 with a sparkling 2.93 ERA, pitching 20 complete games and striking out nearly seven batters per nine innings. In ’89 and ’90 he finished second in the American League in run prevention, his ERA over those two seasons the best in baseball, ahead of premier pitchers, such as Bret Saberhagen and Roger Clemens.
Finley might not have been elite enough to win a Cy Young Award in any given season, but for a few years in the late eighties and early nineties, he was one of the top pitchers in baseball. Combining his peak years with his long record of consistency confirms his case as one of the Angels greatest starters.