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!
Tony Phillips had a whirlwind experience in two separate stints with the Angels in the ’90s. After producing huge numbers with the Athletics and Tigers for more than a decade, Phillips made his way to the Angels in ’95. His impact was immediate and apparent.
In a shortened ’95 season (the strike wiped out the first 18 games), Phillips was a lethal weapon in the leadoff spot. In his age-36 season, Phillips produced 3.7 fWAR in 139 games. Phillips had a .261/.394/.459 line, 27 home runs, 113 walks, and 13 stolen bases. By fWAR and wRC+ (124), Phillips was a top-50 position player in baseball. Phillips, along with other offensive stalwarts like Tim Salmon, Jim Edmonds, Chilli Davis, and Garret Anderson, helped lead the Angels offense to the second-most runs scored (801) in baseball. Obviously, Angels fans would like to forget the epic collapse of the ’95 squad but Phillips was very good that year.
After spending the ’96 season and beginning of the ’97 season with the White Sox, Phillips found himself back in Anaheim. While he posted respectable numbers in his second stint (99 OPS+), his biggest story came off the field. In August, Phillips was charged and arrested for possession of cocaine. Phillips, however, had the charge dropped in ’99 and finished the rest of the season with the Angels. He admirably stayed clean after that point and continued to stick around the baseball world.
Phillips is an oft-underrated player when looking at his whole career. While not quite Hall of Fame material (46.6 fWAR), he had a superb career spanning nearly two decades. Phillips died in 2016 from an apparent heart attack.