Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Mount Rushmore: Fish and 2002
Ah yes, the team of 1,000 names with none of them making any sense. The little brother down south of the boys who play in the light of Hollywood. The Angels, believe it or not, have been around since 1961 and have played in their home of Angel Stadium since ’66. Since then, they won the world series in ’02 and gathered plenty of exciting, yet uneventful playoff experience. Behind them, many players have put on the red and white and made their teams better as a result. Let’s see the top four who belong on the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Mount Rushmore.
Very rarely is there a moment when I comprise these lists and the best in franchise history is still an active member of the team? It’s a shame Mike Trout has never been able to appear on a World Series championship team, and by the looks of it, there doesn’t really seem to be any hope on the horizon. Trout can be compared to a Willie Mays or Mickey Mantle-type player with his overwhelming five tools. If he retired today, he’d already been a first-ballot unanimous Hall of Famer.
Let’s back up these bold statements with facts, shall we? Spanning his ten-year career, he’s hit 302 home runs, a .304 batting average, and a 1.000 on-base plus slugging. Basically, he averages per season 39 home runs and 122 runs scored as well as the .304 average and .418 on-base. As a result, he has three Most Valuable Player awards (as well as three runner-up finishes), eight all-star appearances, as well as eight silver slugger awards, meaning he’s already reached legend status. He’s still playing, go and watch him in action if he ever visits your town. It’s a must.
Here’s a player who not only has the ’02 ring on his finger but had a great career on top of it. Anderson was a fan favorite and played for the Angels from 1994-2008. During his tenure, he mashed 272 dingers, 489 doubles, and a .296 batting average. He would’ve been more recognized by the rest of the league, had his prime not came in the middle of the steroid era. His best season came in 2003 where he led the AL in doubles with 49 as well as hitting 29 home runs and driving in 116. He was a tough out. He deservedly was an all-star, but only appeared in three, hence the steroid era.
A franchise not particularly known for its pitching, Chuck Finley sticks out as the one who defied odds. He was by far the Angel’s most dependable starter between ’86-’99. He was apart of the heartbreaking 1986 Angels squad who lost to the Red Sox and Dave Henderson’s home run in the ALCS. Putting that aside, he was able to pitch 14 decent season for the Angels compiling a 3.72 Earned Run Average and 165 wins. He also appeared in four All-Star games, and received Cy Young votes in 1990. In that season alone, he had a 2.40 ERA with 18 wins. His longevity and consistency with the Angels has put him on the list. I don’t particularly see a Hall of Fame career, but nonetheless a solid starter, especially in the steroid era.
If it weren’t for Mike Trout’s prowess, Tim Salmon would be arguably the greatest right-handed hitter in Angel’s history. He also wears a ring on his finger from ’02. Salmon had a level of consistency which made him ultimately a fan favorite down in Anaheim. He played his entire 14-year career with Anaheim, hitting 299 career home runs, 1016 runs batted in, and a .282 batting average. Tim took home Rookie of the Year honors in ’93, and in 1995 recorded arguably his best season, batting .330 with 34 home runs and a 1.013 on-base plus slugging. He received MVP votes and a Silver Slugger award. He was also instrumental in the Angels championship over the Giants in 2002. Again, he isn’t a Hall of Famer, but a great ballplayer.
I know questions from people reading this are, oh where’s Nolan Ryan? Where’s Vladdy Guerrero? Where’s K-Rod? Don Baylor? I refrained from putting these players on the Angels Mount Rushmore due to these player’s success on other teams, therefore lack of loyalty to some degree. Ryan obviously had an amazing career, but only pitched eight seasons with California. Guerrero played what should’ve been a whole career for the former Montreal Expos. K-Rod played for too many teams, as well as Don Baylor. This is my list of the best.