LA Angels: Who is the greatest first baseman in franchise history?
By Jeffrey Bellone
5) Darin Erstad
Darin Erstad would be higher up on the list had he played more games as a first baseman. Of his 1,320 games in an Angels uniform, he appeared at first base in just about half of them (580). His primary seasons at first were in 1997, 2004, and 2005. He roamed centerfield during the team’s 2002 World Series championship.
Erstad’s best defensive season wearing a first base mitt came in 2004 when he won the Gold Glove Award, proving he could be an elite fielder at multiple positions, after winning the award two previous times for his handiwork in the outfield.
Between 2004-2005, Erstad was a solid contributor at the plate, batting .283 with a .384 on-base percentage. His power was down a bit at this point of his career, but he accumulated 312 hits over 278 games while manning first base for the Halos in those two seasons.
The left-hander from North Dakota was a clutch hitter throughout his career for manager Mike Scioscia. Focusing on the seasons when he played first base, he batted .500 in the 2004 ALDS against the Red Sox. He was a tough out the following postseason, too, when he hit .300 against the Yankees, helping the Halos advance to the ALCS.