Top 100 Angels #79 Brendan Donnelly

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!


#79 – Brendan Donnelly

Brendan Donnelly was one of the rookies in 2002 that helped the team win the world series. While not remembered nearly as much as the other rookie pitchers that year, his time from 2002-2006 with the Angels was a good one. He did not play enough innings to qualify for rate stats, but his 2.87 ERA would have been 3rd all-time in Angels history if he did. Add that to an ERA+ of 154, and he would easily be the second best in team history behind Percy.

One area in which he does show up quite highly is accumulative advanced stats. His 7.1 BWAR is the 27th best for a pitcher, which makes his rate amazing considering he did so in only 295 innings pitched. His Adjusted Pitching Runs, Adjusted Pitching Wins, Base-Out Runs Saved, Win Probability Added, Situational Wins Saved, and Base-Out-Wins Saved are all very high at 15th, 16th, 14th, 15th, 16th, and 15th best in team history respectively. These show that despite his low innings count, his impact was immense.

We can’t mention 2002 and not talk about his time in the playoffs. While he was rocked in his outings in the ALDS and ALCS, in his 7 and 2/3 innings in the 2002 World Series, he was lights out, with a 0.00 ERA, WHIP of 0.65, 6 strikeouts, 4 walks, and only 1 hit allowed. It was also Brendan that pitched the 8th inning in game 6, getting the win in the biggest game in Angels history. Game 7 saw him pitch 2 scoreless innings in the 6th and 7th, quieting the Giants bats and squander their hopes. For his performance in 2002 and 2003, he ended up on the 2003 All Star team, where he pitched a perfect 8th.

2002 was a year when rookie pitchers stepped up and won the World Series for the Angels. While the other ones that will be higher on this list are much more recognizable and remembered, Brendan Donnelly was the best that World Series, and he pitched the 4th-most innings while doing it.

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2 years ago

Loved watching that dude pitch, with his herkey-jerkey motion and thick glasses.

Favorite memory was him throwing at Benito Santiago twice in one at bat in the 2002 WS. Didn’t hit him, but knocked him on his ass to send a message. This was after Giants pitchers had twice knocked down Troy Glaus, the Angels young 3rd baseman who had already homered twice and driven in several key runs in the first 3 games. For my money, that alone made Donnelly an Angel for life.

Fun fact: In the Disney movie, The Rookie, about pitcher Jim Morris making it to the majors, when Morris was promoted to AAA for Tampa on his way to the big team, Donnelly was the guy they released to make room for Morris. Wonder if Brenden has that movie in his DVD collection.

2 years ago

Hard to believe he was considered a 1995 scab and therefore was not considered an official roster member by the players union. Official WS merchandise that had the team listed did not include Donnelly. Seems pretty ridiculous to me.

Super Member
2 years ago
Reply to  Fansince1971

As I remember, they didn’t even have him in the official team World Series Winner photo.

2 years ago
Reply to  steelgolf

Yep – that’s correct regarding the photo. I seem to recall the players did an unofficial photo with Donnelly and pitched in to give him an unofficial playoff share.

By the time 2002 came along, 7 seasons had passed since the strike. The Union’s position on the issue seems pretty outrageous – particularly for a player who was within the MVP discussions for the WS.

Super Member
2 years ago

Donnelly to Frankie to Percy. Teams needed to scored their runs in the first six innings, cuz they sure weren’t getting any after that.

Trusted Member
2 years ago

That period when our bullpen had Percival, K Rod, Donnelly and Shields may never be topped. Donnelly also had that ridiculous 2003 season where he had an ERA of like 0.38 at the All Star Break