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!
#48 – Bob Boone
Lance Parish? Nope. Bengie Molina? Nope. Mike Napoli? Nah. If you are searching for the best catcher to don Halo red, then look no further than Bob Boone. Boone was a Boon to the Angels (sorry) after the Phillies traded him in 1982. He was a 3-time All Star with the Phillies and 2-time Gold Glove winner, but after a down year at age 33, they handed him off to the Angels.
Boone would surge with the Angels, earning an All-Star nod as well as 4 more Gold Gloves (including one at age 40). Boone threw out 21 of the first 34 steal attempts against him in 1982 and threw out 58% of all runners (a career high) on the way to the Angels’ 1st place finish in the AL West.
As if Boone’s defensive prowess was not already noteworthy enough, he also made history when he caught Mike Witt’s perfect game against the Rangers. Just the 11th such game in MLB history at the time, the pitching gem happened to end the 1984 season in front of a mere 8,375 fans in Arlington (I hear someone once claimed it was not a baseball town). This was the first and only perfect game for the Angels.
While not so much known for his offensive skills, Boone holds the highest fWAR (13.1) of any Angels catcher in history – largely attributed to his assets behind the plate. Boone also holds the Angels record among catchers for total games (961), innings, (8008.1), and a 47% caught stealing rate – all numbers that won’t be passed up any time soon.
Boone spent some time managing after his retirement and now is the Assistant General Manager and Vice President of Player Development for the Washington Nationals.
The Boone family (whose lineage traces back to American pioneer Daniel Boone) boasts many MLB alumni, including Bob’s father and two of his three sons. One of those sons, Aaron, is the current manager of the New York Yankees.
Whenever Boone came to the plate, broadcasters for opposing teams always had to include a disclaimer — they’re not booing, they’re saying BOOOOOOOOONE!
Boone was awesome. On July 27th, 1982, he threw out Rickey Henderson three times on stolen base attempts, and this was the year Henderson had his career best 130 SBs. Over the course of Boone’s career, he threw out Henderson 56% of the time (19/34).
When he retired, Boone held the MLB record for the most games caught by a catcher (2225). Fisk and Rodriguez have since passed him.
He wasn’t known for his offense, but he was an excellent bunter (finished second in the AL in sac bunts in 82 and 85). He also was great with the bat in the 1982 ALCS and the 1986 ALCS. He played in 12 games during those two series and hit .368 (14-for-38) with two home runs, six RBI, and seven runs scored.