Top 50 Los Angeles Angels

In 1951, Los Angeles had no Major League Baseball teams.

In 1961, they had two.

The Los Angeles Angels came into existence in 1961 as an expansion team, and while they were (and are) still secondary to the Dodgers, the constant name changes didn't help.  They went from the Los Angeles Angels (1961-65) to the California Angels (1965-96), Anaheim Angels (1997-2004), Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (2005-15), and back to the Los Angeles Angels.

The team did not go to their first postseason until 1979, and in 2002, they won their first Pennant, which is, to date, the only one they have captured.  They made the most of their lone World Series appearance, winning it all.

This list is up to the end of the 2021 season.

Note: Baseball lists are based on an amalgamation of tenure, traditional statistics, advanced statistics, playoff statistics, and postseason accolades.

Mike Trout is the most underappreciated baseball player ever. That is a bold statement, yes, and anyone who follows baseball has mad respect for Trout and that he is the player of the 2010s.  Saying that, even though he is an unassuming person who does not seek media attention, his skills should be far more celebrated than it has been.  As it stands, we can give him as much love as we can and state that as we are writing this, Trout, who is still an Angel, will be the greatest Angel all-time 100 years from now. Trout debuted in 2011, playing…
Nolan Ryan was one of three players who the New York Mets traded to get Jim Fregosi.  With all due respect to Fregosi, his best years were behind him, and Ryan, however, was about to break out. The Ryan Express came to California in 1972, where he went to his first All-Star Game and had first in leading the league in Strikeouts (32) and H/9 (5.3).  Eager to prove that it was no fluke, Ryan fanned 383 batters in 1973, one more than Sandy Koufax did in 1965, and breaking the modern mark.  Finishing second for the Cy Young that year, Ryan was…
Chuck Finley played most of his career with the Angels, beginning from being a First Round January Secondary Draft choice in 1985.   The southpaw first made the Angels roster in 1986, and he came out of the bullpen for his first two years before becoming a part of California's roster in 1988.  Finley did not do well in his first year, but he was an All-Star the next two years with ERAs under 2.60 and at least 150 Strikeouts. Finley would struggle in 1992, but he returned to ace status with the Angels, going to two more All-Star Games (1995 &…
Frank Tanana would be on the first ballot if there were a Hall of Fame for underrated Pitchers. Tanana played the first eight years of his 21 with the California Angels, and if you were paying attention, you were seeing one of the best hurlers in the American League.  The southpaw was easy to overlook, as the Angels were only in the playoffs once when Tanana was there (1979), and he was on the same staff as Nolan Ryan, so ace status was not bestowed upon him.   Debuting in 1973, Tanana was in the rotation the following year, going 14-19, but…
Winning both the Golden Spikes Award and Dick Howser Trophy at Long Beach State in 2004, Jered Weaver was the 12th Overall Pick in that year's Amateur Draft, debuting two years for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, the team that took him.  High expectations were on Weaver, and he did well, warning his spot in the rotation and finishing fifth in American League Rookie of the Year voting.   Weaver’s best seasons were between 2010 and 2012, where he went to three straight All-Star Games.  Leading the AL in Strikeouts (233) in 2010, Weaver had fewer Ks in 2011, but his ERA dropped…
The California Angels were no powerhouse in the 1960s, and bluntly, they were pretty bad.  However, if there were a team MVP for the decade, it would have to be Shortstop, Jim Fregosi. Before he reached the Majors with the Angels, he was in the Red Sox system.  The Angels took him in the expansion draft, and he was on the main roster in 1961 and a regular at short by 1963.  Named to six All-Stars, including five consecutive (1966-70), Fregosi was an excellent hitting infielder for his day, showing occasional power (four years with double-digits in Hone Runs). He had at least…
Tim Salmon played his entire Major League career wearing the Halo, and while it may not have been a spectacular or flashy career, it was consistent. Salmon first played for the Angels in 1992 for 23 Games, and the following season he smacked 31 Home Runs with a .283 Batting Average to win the American League Rookie of the Year.  While this might have been a springboard to greatness, it was more a reflection of what Salmon would provide over the next decade as their Rightfielder. A Silver Slugger in 1995, Salmon had five 30 Home Run seasons, with another three…
After seven seasons with the Baltimore Orioles, one of the most revered men amongst sabremetricians signed with the California Angels as a Free Agent after the 1976 season. Playing mostly at Second Base, Grich brought his strong defensive skills and patient batting to the Angels.  A three-time All-Star with Baltimore, Grich would go to three more in California.  He would have his best power numbers with the Angels, blasting 30 Home Runs with 101 RBIs in 1979, and he was eighth in MVP voting.  In the strike-shortened 1981 campaign, Grich had 22 Home Runs, which was enough to co-lead the American League.  That year,…
If you were a fan of the Montreal Expos in the 90s and early 00s, you knew that if you had a star, they would eventually leave for greener pastures because your team could not afford to keep them.  Such was the case for Vladimir Guerrero, who, after four All-Star appearances and 234 Home Runs as an Expo, joined the Halos in 2004.   You could say (and we are) that Guerrero saved his best performance for his debut campaign with the Angels.  Guerrero captured the MVP on the strength of 39 Home Runs, 126 RBI, .337/.391/.598 performance and it ushered in a…

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In 1995, the California Angels made the number one pick Darin Erstad, a former Golden Spikes Finalist from Nebraska.  Erstad debuted for the Angels the following season, and he was arguably the first building block that would see the team win it all in 2002. Erstad would twice to go the All-Star Game (1998 & 2000), and in his latter All-Star year, the Outfielder had career highs in Batting Average (.355), Home Runs (25), RBIs (100), and led the American League in Hits (240).  Erstad was a crucial part of Anaheim's 2002 World Series Championship, a three-time Gold Glove winner, collecting 25…
Brian Downing joined the Angels via trade from Chicago in 1978, and the Catcher would go to his first and only All-Star Game in 1979. Downing moved to the Outfield at the start of the 1980s, and he remained with the Angels until 1990.  While he never gained a second All-Star Game appearance, Downing brought a nice balance of power and plate patience.  From 1982 to 1990, Downing had at least 14 Home Runs, peaking with 29 in 1987, which coincided with his league-leading 106 Walks.   As an Angel, Downing had 222 Home Runs and 1,588 Hits and was inducted into the…
One of the most tenured players in Angels history, Garret Anderson suited up for the franchise in 2,013 Games, which at present is a franchise record. Anderson first appeared with the Halos in 1994, four years after he was drafted.  Following that brief call-up, Anderson settled in at Leftfield, where he was one of the better and consistent offensive players at his position for the next ten years.   His peak coincided with the Angels march to the World Series, which they won in 2002, with Anderson going to his first of three All-Star Games that year.  He was also a Silver Slugger in…
Mark Langston was Seattle's best Pitcher, but the Mariners were struggling, and they traded him in his contract year to the Montreal Expos (who sent them a young unknown named Randy Johnson) for their attempt to make the playoffs.  The Expos plummeted (through no fault of Langston) and the flamethrower they rented left to return back to the West Coast, as he signed with the California Angels as a Free Agent in 1990. Langston may not have had the same Strikeout numbers as a Mariner, but he still had a potent fastball.  In his first season with the Angels, he was not…
John Lackey’s Major League debut was in June of 2002 where he became a member of the Angels’ starting rotation.  The timing could not have been better for Lackey, who was about to become part of a World Series Championship team.  Lackey won a game in both the ALCS and World Series, and he entered 2003 as a permanent starter.   The hurler was up and down but always showed flashes of greatness and could eat a lot of innings.   Lackey had his best season in baseball in 2007, where he went 19-9, led the American League in ERA (3.01) and ERA+ (150), and…
Troy Glaus was the power man of the Angels in the early 2000s, and his role in their 2002 World Series win should be forever celebrated in Southern California. After he was chosen Third Overall in the 1998 Amateur Draft, Glaus made the Angels and was the regular Third Baseman as a sophomore, where he belted 29 Home Runs.  Over the next few years, Glaus was the top power-hitting Third Baseman in the American League, winning the Home Run Title in 2000 (47) and posting an even 1.000 OPS.  In 2000 and 2001, Glaus was both an All-Star and Silver Slugger, and…
Howie Kendrick was one of the most highly touted prospects in the early 2000s, and while it can be argued that he did not live up to the hype, it can’t be disputed that his long career is the envy of most who ever made it to the Majors. The Angels nabbed Kendrick with their 2002 First Round Pick, and he made the roster in 2006, predominantly playing at Second.  Kendrick was not a defensive star, but he was versatile and often played at First or in Leftfield when needed. Offensively, Kendrick got into a groove, never batting lower than .279 in…
Dubbed "K-Rod," Francisco Rodriguez established himself as a top reliever when he was a rookie and barely one at that.   Rodriguez was called up in September of 2002, and due to injuries, he was given a vital role in the Angels' postseason, where he had 11 appearances, won five Games, and had a sub 1.000 WHIP in all three of Anaheim’s series.  The Angels won the World Series, and it is hard to imagine this happening without Rodriguez. Proving his performance was no fluke, Rodriguez was a set-up man in 2003 before moving to the closer's role in 2004.  K-Rod was an…
You didn't need a name or number on the back of Dean Chance’s jersey to know it was him who was pitching.  After obtaining the sign from his catcher, Chance rotated his body so that his back and head were looking towards second.  It worked for him, as one year, he was considered the best on the mound. Chance debuted in the Majors in 1961 and made the starting rotation the following season, where he was third in Rookie of the Year voting with a respectable 14-10 record with a 2.96 ERA.  Chance slipped a bit in 1963, but he came back with…
The Colorado Rockies drafted Chone Figgins, but before he made it to the Majors, he was traded to the Angels, which worked to his benefit. Figgins made it to the bigs in 2002, playing a small role in the Angels' World Series Championship. Playing mainly at Third, Figgins was a regular starter in 2004, and through the rest of the decade, he was one of the top base-stealers in Baseball.  Figgins swiped at least 30 bases annually from 2004 to 2009 for the Angels, including a league-leading 62 in 2005.  He did not bring much power but did spray the ball often,…