The Los Angeles/California/Anaheim Angels have played almost 60 seasons of baseball. As the baseball world is suspended due to circumstances outside its control, it is time to look back at the history of this organization. There have been many talented players to put on the uniform, and we at Crashing the Pearly Gates wish to highlight the best who have ever represented the Angels. Without further ado, here we go!
#100 – Juan Beniquez, OF
Juan played for the Angels in the outfield from 1981-1985. Signed as a free agent, he accumulated 3.3 bWAR with the team. His hitting was clearly his strong suit, as his offensive WAR was 4.6 during that period. This may be why he was a DH at the end of his run with the team.
He had his best seasons in Anaheim, with 3 seasons of an OPS+ over 100, with a peak of 128 in 1984 at the age of 34. That season he finished 25th in the AL MVP race, hitting 8 home runs and posting an .822 OPS. With a .293/.342/.397 slash line, he was mostly a spray hitting OF, spending some time at DH.
Beniquez had the 34th all time Angel career OPS at .739 with the 22nd best OBP at .342. He played in the 1982 ALCS vs the Brewers but didn’t have a PA in that series. With the 7th best batting average Halo at .293, for such a short tenure, he has written himself into the Halos history wall and will be there for years to come.
Going to be fun learning about players., giving overlooked players some attention, and updating this list.
Top 100 Angel, Top 5 MLB Jeri Curl
Yay! It’s been so many years since we last launched this list. Great timing to bring it back
I remember having his 86 Topps baseball card as a kid. Funny how specific players stood out to you when you were too young to really appreciate the game, often just based on the photo on the card. For some reason I was obsessed with Urbano Lugo, mostly because his name sounded funny and interesting to me.
Even though he was a player off of the bench, Juan Beniquez was a very important member of the Angels during their first golden era. He played for California from 1981 through 1985 when the Angels were heavy hitters in three pennant races. Beniquez was mainly a fourth outfielder, but he excelled in this role, hitting over .300 three times and playing in over 100 games three times as well. He not only hit, but he was also an above average defensive outfielder, having won a Gold Glove in 1977 with the Texas Rangers.
In 1985, when first baseman Rod Carew was 39 years old and only played in 127 games, Beniquez was called upon to shift positions and fill in for the Hall of Famer. Beniquez excelled here as well, hitting .403 in 41 games as Carew’s replacement.
In the 1982 ALCS against the Milwaukee Brewers, manager Gene Mauch couldn’t find much playing time for Beniquez since the Angels already had Brian Downing, Fred Lynn, and Reggie Jackson in the outfield with Don Baylor as the DH, but Beniquez did enter the ninth innings of Games One and Two as a defensive replacement for Downing in left field. As such, Beniquez caught the final out of Game One, a fly ball to left by Jimmy Gantner that sealed an 8-3 victory for the Angels and put California up in the best of five series 2-0.
I remember him. This is a good idea.