Top 100 Angels #73 Bengie Molina

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!

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#73 – Bengie Molina

The eldest of the Super Molina Brothers, Bengie was the Angels catcher from 1998 to 2005, gaining two gold gloves and placing 4th in the 2000 AL ROY. His defensive first mindset was a great presence as the early 2000’s Angels had plenty of bats that could deal with a black hole GG winning catcher. In fact his 6.7 Defensive BWAR is 11th all time, a full win in front of Mathis and he was a better hitter than him too.

He did have some offense, accumulating 65 home runs over his career for the Halos, 29th all time in team history. While over a longer period of time, his 175 extra base hits is the same as Napoli, 32nd all time for the team. It is because of this offense that his BWAR total is 7.4, 47th all time for the Angels.

What Bengie is most remembered for is being number 1, as no one has dared wear that number since he left the team in 2005. In all seriousness, he is a beloved Angel and caught for the World Series run in 2002, getting 6 hits against the Giants, catching all 7 games and hitting a game tying double in Game 7 to win it all.

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Jeff Joiner
Editor
Legend
3 years ago

Have to agree with Frost here. While I don’t love intangibles often I also don’t overlook them.

Benjie was our field general and many of his hits were of the huge variety. He called a great game, too.

JackFrost
Super Member
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeff Joiner

The thing with catcher’s is that so much if what they do can’t be captured by statistics. I mean CERA is such a limited way of trying to measure a catcher’s value defensively, or in short his game calling skills.

The various relationships they have and nurture with their staff ( if they are great like Benguela was) are just so important and impossible to measure. All the little conversations they have in the dugout between innings, the things they may notice and convey that can fix a pitcher’s mechanics, or simply adjust a strategic approach on a particular hitter etc.. The great ones are like having an extra pitching coach, except that he is IN the game.

I have so much respect for really great catchers. And the thing with Bengie was that he did it BOTH offesndively AND defensively. I would have valued him greatly even if he had been a .230 hitter with poor peripherals, but he wasn’t a poor hitter like so many “defensive” catchers are.

WallyChuckChili
Legend
3 years ago

Speaking of Molina Brothers. Why didn’t we Draft Yadier?

Looking at our 2000 Draft, it was pretty bad. Did we scout him and not think he was worth a 4th round pick?

Guest
3 years ago

The thing I remember about Bengie is that even though he was highly regarded for his defense, he always came up with the clutch hit when the game was close. I checked his splits over at b-ref to verify my memory, and here are his career slash lines:

High Leverage: .295/.321/.459
Medium Leverage: .274/.307/.406
Low Leverage: .263/.300/.393

JackFrost
Super Member
3 years ago
Reply to 

Yep. Great point. And part of my thinking in my comment above was that Bengie came up with soooo many clutch hits and RBI’s for us. Alot of them were with two outs and two strikes as well.

Designerguy
Super Member
3 years ago

In 2010, he started the season with the Giants and gets traded to Texass. Both teams make it to the World Series and both teams voted him a full share, regardless if he won or loss.

The dude was loved.

JackFrost
Super Member
3 years ago
Reply to  Designerguy

Indeed. And he was a lot more valuable than pure numbers would indicate. Without him we surely would not have won it all in 2002, and not to mention a bunch of division titles. He’s got to be waaay higher than 73.

I probably would have Bengie in the Top 30. I am saying off the top of my head somewhere between 23-27 or thereabouts.

Jim Atkins
Super Member
3 years ago

Have there ever been three brothers playing the same position for as long as the Molinas in MLB? Amazing family of ballplayers.

...Rev Halofan
Editor
Trusted Member
3 years ago
Reply to  Jim Atkins

Off the top of my head the Alous but not sure about the positions or durations. Molinas truly fantastic baseball story.

Guest
3 years ago
Reply to  ...Rev Halofan

There are also the three DiMaggio brothers, Joe, Dom, and Vince, who were all pretty terrific outfielders with lengthy careers.