The Los Angeles Angels have had 32 different players wear number 22. David Fletcher has worn it since the 2020 season and figures to wear it for at least a few more years if he's not traded before then.
Fletcher is a hard-nosed player who's very easy to root for. The Angels need him to have a much better season in 2023 than he has in the last two seasons for them to truly be an improved ball club.
Fletcher is important to discuss when talking about the best player in Angels history to wear number 22 because he can be seen as a similar type of player to the actual best player to wear the number.
David Eckstein is the best player to wear number 22 in LA Angels history
Toward the end of the 2000 season, the Angels made one of the best waiver claims in franchise history when they claimed David Eckstein off of waivers from the Boston Red Sox. Eckstein did not play for the Angels in the 2000 season but earned the starting job at shortstop the following season.
Eckstein is similar to Fletcher as he hit for a high average and didn't strike out much but lacked power. He was a very scrappy player who played hard and always made the right baseball play.
Eckstein led the league in hit-by-pitches and sacrifice bunts in his first season. He hit .285 with a .355 OBP which is good, but the four home runs and 89 OPS+ would make him a fringe starter in today's game. Regardless, Eckstein was really solid for his time and finished fourth in the AL Rookie of the Year balloting.
Eckstein followed that solid rookie campaign up with his best season as an Angel. He'd slash .293/.363/.388 with eight home runs and 63 RBI. He led the league in hit by pitches and sacrifice bunts once again, stole 21 bases, had a 101 OPS+, and finished 11th in the MVP voting. The Angels, of course, had their best season of the Eckstein era.
Eckstein's regular season was really good, but his performance in the postseason was even better. In the World Series he hit .310 and got on base 36.4% of the time. He scored six runs in the seven games. He hit .294 over the course of the entire postseason. The Halos leadoff man showed up when it counted most.
The middle infielder ranks third in franchise history in hit by pitches and eighth in sacrifice bunts. He'd be at the top of both, easily, if he played for more than just four seasons in Anaheim.
He wasn't a star, but he was a player fans adored and was a key piece of the 2002 team. Eckstein is an Angels legend forever because of that season.