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!
Pitcher Ken Forsch was one of the few strong arms on the staff of the 1982 A.L. Western Division Champion Angels. The cream of that team’s key players are represented much higher on this list, but that squad as a whole has been almost absent from the Top 100 so far.
The Angels acquired Forsch in 1981 on April Fools’ Day from Houston for Dickie Thon. He promptly tossed ten complete games (four of them shutouts), led the rotation in ERA, the staff in wins, and garnered an All Star selection in that weird, strike-shortened season.
In 1982 he pitched nearly 200 innings and won 13 games in a season that was crucial to the Angels – after assembling a free-agent juggernaut commencing with the 1977 season, all Gene Autry had to show for it was the 1979 divisional championship. 1980 and 81 were injury-marred campaigns with even bigger gaffes committed by the front office. That the Angels got to the 1982 post-season and within two innings of the World Series reaffirmed The Cowboy’s commitment to winning, at least for a few more seasons.
While he was in the twilight of an outstanding career for his stint as an Angel, Forsch was a big name, the type of marquee veteran that sells tickets through an implied franchise stability. For all of the intangibles of veteran leadership that stat-heads scoff at, the fact remains that for four seasons, Forsch anchored a staff that included a rookie Mike Witt. He is one of 31 Angels pitchers to toss over 600 innings and is in the top 25 for Pitching bWAR. His 34 complete games and nine shutouts are both ranked eleventh most for the club but his highest ranking achievement is fifth-place all time Angels BB/9 of 2.24 among the 41 Angels pitchers who have logged 500 or more innings pitched.
Ken also served for many years as the Angels’ Assistant General Manager under Bill Stoneman and Tony Reagins.