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!
Southpaw Clyde Wright first got his shot in 1966, the very season after he had been drafted. In June, Wright debuted against Harmon Killebrew and the AL-defending champion Minneosta Twins and won, going the distance and surrendering just one run. For the first four years of his MLB career, he was used in both starting and relief.
That all changed in 1970, when Wright made an eye-popping 39 (!) starts and throwing 260.2 innings to the tune of a 2.83 ERA, enough to qualify him for an All-Star appearance and sixth place in the annual Cy Young voting. The catapult? The addition of a screwball, developed and perfected playing winter ball in Puerto Rico for Jim Fregosi. The workhorse cemented himself as a mainstay in the Angels’ rotation for the next several years, with 148 starts in just four seasons as an Angels full-time starter.
Manager turmoil and back issues eventually hampered Wright’s place with the club, and Wright was traded in a 10-player deal to the Brewers following the 1973 season.
my conversation as a kid in Palm Springs pretty much went like this when i asked for his autograph
me: “Clyde, Clyde, can i have your autograph?!? – You’re my favorite Angel!!” – (this part was absolutely true, at the time, he was my favorite. Reichardt and Fregosi were gone and Ryan had just arrived a few days earlier)
Wright: “Ah kid, I’ve heard you say that to twenty other players today!” (this part was absolutely untrue – i wasn’t saying that to anyone else and he hadn’t really seen me around at all)
a really funny guy
In 2013 I stopped by Pujols’ golf tournament. While I was looking around, there was this guy on the practice putting green wearing wild pants. If this is his clothing choices, this guy seriously needs to join the Pants Optional brigade.
Wright walks up to me and starts cracking jokes about this guy’s choice in clothing. He was hilarious. We chatted for a few minutes about golf and baseball. As he runs to make his tee time, he thanks me for laughing at his pants jokes.
I never saw him play, but he was one of the first signatures I got as a kid at some fan event with my pops in the early 2000s, along with Eckstein. I think my dad was more excited over this ball than I was, but whatever. I only knew who Eckstein was lol.
Wright is another whose ranking at #50 doesn’t do him justice. He’s definitely a top 30 guy and one of the most popular players in club history. His stats don’t show it because besides 1970, they weren’t great but his personality and his continued involvement with the club make up for it.
To add to the above, he threw the first no-hitter in Anaheim Stadium. He also holds the club record for most wins in a season at 22 (tied with Nolie, and Wright still has the most ever by a LHP).
Other fun facts – the famous All-Star play in 1970 where Pete Rose bowls over Ray Fosse to score the winning run? It was Wright who was on the mound and took the “L” in the game. Also his son Jared started G7 of the 1997 WS for the Indians (instead of Charles Nagy). Jared’s catcher that game was Sandy Alomar Jr (whose father got the last out of Wirght’s no-no in 1970.)
I didn’t know Clyde was Jared’s dad. Interesting tidbits Rex.