Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Short Term Stops: The All-Angels Team (Pt. 1)

I've been waiting to write this post for a while now.

Well over a month after I announced the revival of my somewhat forgotten "Short Term Stops" theme, I'm finally getting around to writing the first official post of its rebirth.

I have no idea what took me so long.

In this series, we'll be taking a trip through the unfamiliar stars each big league franchise has employed over the years, nominated by yours truly.

For the most part, I consider a "Short Term Stop" to be a year or less of playing time with one particular team. However, as these posts roll on, you'll see a few exceptions to that rule.

The first roster we'll be browsing through is that of the Los Angeles/California/Anaheim/Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. (Deep breath.)

In case you missed my "revival" post, each franchise will include three "Short Term Stops" nominations at pitcher, one at catcher/first base/second base/shortstop/third base, three outfielders, and, if an AL club, one at DH.

Each post will be divided into two parts. The first will feature the three pitchers, the catcher, first baseman, and second baseman on any given roster, while the second will feature the shortstop, third baseman, outfielders, and DH. (If necessary.)

If you're as big of an "unfamiliar uniform" nut as I am, I invite you to come along for the ride throughout the revival of this theme.

Fittingly, the Angel roster kicks off with the subject of my absolute favorite player collection.


1969 Topps #565 Hoyt Wilhelm

"Short Term Stops" Angels Accolades:

Hoyt Wilhelm (1969 California Angels, 44 games, "half-year" stint)

The Hoyt-ster is our first official "Short Term Stops" roster nominee.

As the man behind my favorite and possibly most prolific player collection, I couldn't be happier about that.

Wilhelm would suit up in 44 games for the Angels in 1969, the sixth of nine different stops he'd enjoy throughout his 21-year Hall of Fame career. (He was dealt to California from the expansion Royals earlier in the season, prior to playing a single game in Kansas City.)

I use the term "half-year" rather loosely in Hoyt's case, as the knuckleballer was dealt to the Braves in September of '69, a trade that would send future speedster Mickey Rivers to the Angels.

Either way, though, he earned his spot on this "Short Term Stops" roster.

Welcome to the club, Mr. Wilhelm.

1983 Topps #178 Luis Tiant

Angels Accolades:

Luis Tiant (1982 California Angels, 6 games, "sunset" season)

This roster slot goes to a man I've collected for as long as I can remember.

Luis Tiant, known for his quirky antics and sidewinding delivery on the mound, is cemented in the minds of most baseball fans as a member of the Red Sox.

After his time in Boston ended following the '78 season (a tenure that included three 20-win seasons), "The Pride of Havana" would play for three different teams during the final four years of his career.

Following his 1979 and '80 seasons with the rival Yankees, he latched on with the Pirates for nine games in 1981. (I'm betting he'll make an appearance on that "Short Term Stops" roster when the time comes.)

Tiant's memorable career closed out with a rather mediocre six-game stint with the Angels in 1982, one where he posted a 2-2 record and bloated 5.76 ERA.

Because of its sheer unfamiliarity, this is one of my favorite cards from the '83 Topps checklist.

2012 Topps Update #US-139 Zack Greinke

Angels Accolades:

Zack Greinke (2012 Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, 13 games, "half-year" stint)

I'm pretty sure this was the only card Zack Greinke ever had as an Angel.

I know it's the lone one sitting in my Angels binder right now. With my collection, "one card wonders" like Greinke are the stuff of legend.

Looking to make a pennant push at the 2012 trade deadline, the Brewers dealt the star hurler to the Angels in return for top prospect Jean Segura. Greinke went 6-2 with a 3.53 ERA in 13 games in Anaheim (or Los Angeles?), but the Angels failed to make the playoffs.

Shortstop sensation Jean Segura is an All-Star for the Brewers this year, one who will most certainly see playing time in tonight's contest. (For what it's worth, I voted for him to start the game.)

Years from now, we may be looking at that swap as one that tipped the scales in the Brewers' favor.

At the time, though, it was one that the Angels needed to make.

Honorable Mentions:

Terry Forster (1986 California Angels, 41 games, "sunset" season)
Jeff Weaver (2006 Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, 16 games, "half-year" stint)
Jason Isringhausen (2012 Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, 50 games, "sunset" season)


1998 Fleer Tradition #518 Phil Nevin

Angels Accolades:

Phil Nevin (1998 Anaheim Angels, 75 games)

A former "Dime Box Dozen" need, this is the only card I own of Phil Nevin as an Angel.

His largely forgotten 75-game stint with the franchise in 1998 was followed by a nice seven-year run in San Diego, one that I'm sure most Padre fans remember.

Had I not made this particular piece part of a past "impulse buy", I'm not sure I would've ever tracked it down. 

Mid-to-late '90s issues are funny that way.

First Base

2009 Upper Deck #177 Mark Teixeira

Angels Accolades:

Mark Teixeira (2008 Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, 54 games, "half-year" stint)

Unlike the Greinke trade, this was a deadline deal that ended up paying big dividends for the Angels.

After parts of two seasons with the Braves, Atlanta dealt "Tex" to Anaheim for my main man Casey Kotchman and pitching prospect Steve Marek. Kotchman had a fairly mediocre stint with the Braves, and Marek has yet to pitch a game in the big leagues. 

Teixeira, on the other hand, hit a stellar .358 down the stretch that year, clubbing 13 homers in just 54 games on the West Coast. He played a major part in pushing Angels into the playoffs that year.

While they'd lose to the Red Sox in the '08 ALDS, chances are they wouldn't have even been there in the first place without "Tex". This time, the famous "rent-a-player" scheme worked out well for the Angels. 

Teixeira, of course, would go on to earn the big bucks in the Bronx during the 2008 offseason. 

That's why his 2009 UD issue is a particular favorite of mine. As you can see, he's receiving a pickoff throw against the team with whom he'd sign an eight-year/$180 million contract just a few months later.

Foreshadowing was in full flight here.

Honorable Mentions:

Ted Kluszewski (1961 Los Angeles Angels, 107 games, "sunset" season)
Bill Buckner (1988-89 California Angels, 76 games)

Second Base

1994 Fleer Update #U-21 Harold Reynolds

Angels Accolades:

Harold Reynolds (1994 California Angels, 74 games, "sunset" season)

Once a great speedster, Harold Reynolds was on his last legs by the time he latched on with the Angels in '94.

His "sunset" season was largely unspectacular, as he racked up a horrid .232 average in 74 games that year. He stole just 10 bases (while being caught seven times) and knocked in just 11 runs.

Knowing his "old school" mentality from the hours I've spent watching MLB Network, those are the numbers Reynolds himself would want me to look at, I'm sure.

Despite his sometimes baffling stances on certain aspects of the game, I'd still consider myself somewhat of a Reynolds fan. If you have access to the MLB Network and you're not watching MLB Now, I advise you to set it for the ol' DVR.

While his final season wasn't much to write home about, Fleer still did a nice job in sending him off into the sunset. Their 1994 release was one of their absolute best, if you ask me.

For better or worse, though, it's almost always outshadowed by their LSD-infused '95 checklist.

Well, that closes out Part 1 of the all-time Angels "Short Term Stops" roster.

I hope you'll tune in for Part 2 later tonight.

If you're not too busy watching the All-Star Game, that is.


The Pack Prodigy said...

i posted my email on the blog where you commented your derby pick

petethan said...

Love this concept. Looking forward to the series. That Tiant card is a real favorite of mine, too.

Jeff said...

The Teixiera deal "worked out well for the Angels" as you say, but for another reason entirely. The used the draft pick they received from the Yankees as compensation to draft Mike Trout. I would trade Teixiera for Trout for any day of the week.