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!
I have faint memories deep in the recesses of my brain of Kelvim Escobar taking the mound in the late-2000s, sporting glasses that I thought were incredibly cool (I had just gotten glasses around that time). He threw some nasty, nasty pitches, and there was always a hope that when he took the mound, he would put on a show.
The numbers are decent, but what really stood out about Escobar was his potential. Here’s what Jeff Sullivan had to say about him at the beginning of 2013: “Kelvim Escobar, today, is perhaps the most delicate arm this side of Mark Prior. He occupies the level above unusually injury-prone. But the promise that Escobar possesses, that he’s always possessed — that’s still in there, virtually unchanged. It isn’t Escobar’s stuff that’s eroded…Kelvim Escobar has always made it easy to dream.”
Mind you, this is 2013. Escobar last appeared in 2009 for one start, after having missed the 2008 season with a shoulder injury. Before that, he had injury problems in 1998 and 2005, the latter cutting short his second season with the Angels. But when he was healthy, he was a very talented pitcher.
Escobar first came up through the Blue Jays organization and signed with the Angels before the 2004 season, part of an impressive free agency haul that included Vladimir Guerrero. He made 33 starts in 2004 in a rotation that featured himself, Bartolo Colón, John Lackey, Jarrod Washburn, and Aaron Sele, and the Angels recovered after a lackluster 2003 to win the division. Escobar had a six-start run of quality starts, and he was looking forward to a successful 2005. But while Colón (controversially) won the AL Cy Young award in 2005, Escobar was limited to just sixteen appearances, seven starts.
One appearance that didn’t show up in the regular season stats but is ingrained in all of our hearts is this gem of a call. We…don’t have to talk about it.
He rebounded in 2006 and 2007 to make thirty starts apiece, re-upping with the Angels before 2007. But as aforementioned, it all came crashing down in 2008, and Escobar made just one start in 2009, never to reach the Majors again after that.
From 2004-2009, Escobar compiled a 43-36 record with a 3.60 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP. His ERA+ was 125, and he could be counted on to deliver six innings most of the time for a lot of that stretch. While Escobar’s career was cut short, his time with the Angels was largely successful, marked by three separate seasons of 4+ fWAR. Whenever he was healthy enough to make thirty starts, he reached that threshold. And that is definitely an accomplishment.
Man. I LOVED Escobar.
When he came up with Toronto I wanted to Halos to trade for him and let him start. (Toronto screwed around with him as closer when he was young and damn unhittable).
I loved watching his splitter. It was a thing of beauty.
I loved how he battled back to be the 8th inning guy late in 2005 after an arm injury.
I just loved him. A bit irrational, but he was big, strong, threw hard, had a killer off-speed pitch, and was a team player.
Nice to spend a few minutes thinking about him again.
Fuck (June) Doug Eddings.
And fuck (June) A.J. PureShitSki as well.
Myspacecobar one of the gems of our Golden Age. Good times.