The best Angels player to wear number 26

 Mrs. Gene Autry holds her team jersey
Mrs. Gene Autry holds her team jersey / Donald Miralle/GettyImages

The Los Angeles Angels have retired number 26 for Gene Autry, the first owner in franchise history. Autry owned the franchise for 36 years and served as the Vice President of the American League for 15 years.

Autry had his number retired in 1982. Number 26 was retired at the request of the players in his honor because he was the honorary 26th man. Of course the roster size is 26 now so it doesn't make as much sense, but the gesture was a nice one nonetheless.

Autry passed away in 1998. The last Angels player to ever wear number 26 was Joe Travers in 1981. Nobody will ever wear it again. We do ask though, since Autry never played, who's the best player to ever wear number 26 in Angels history?

Joe Rudi is the best player to wear number 26 in LA Angels history

Only ten Angels players have worn number 26 in the franchise's history, and none of them were superstars. Joe Rudi was a three-time all-star, a three-time Gold Glove winner, and even a two-time AL MVP runner-up during his first ten-year stint with Oakland.

While Rudi wasn't the star he was for the A's, he was a decent player when healthy for the Angels.

Rudi's best season came in 1978 when he slashed .256/.295/.416 with 17 home runs and 79 RBI. He hit 27 doubles and had a 102 OPS+ in 133 games. While those weren't all-star numbers, he was a serviceable outfielder for the Angels.

Rudi slashed .249/.297/.425 with 57 home runs and 246 RBI during his four-year tenure with the club. He played in just 391 games with the Angels during those four seasons. He ended up being part of the trade package that sent the best player to wear number 19 to Anaheim.

The number 26 will always be remembered for Gene Autry, but Joe Rudi is the best player to wear the number in Angels history.

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