When Chone Figgins was acquired in a deal with the Rockies in 2001, most didn’t bat an eye. In what turned out to be Figgins for a quick-to-bust outfielder Kimera Bartee, GM Bill Stoneman was on the favorable side of one of the more lopsided deals in Angels history.
Angels fans didn’t give Figgins, a 5’8″, 180-lb. middle infielder a second thought. Once on the field in front of their eyes, Figgins wouldn’t let them have any other thought.
Summoned by the Angels brass during the 2002 postseason, Figgins pinch ran several times, stealing a base against the Yankees in the ALDS and scoring four runs that October. He even laced a hit.
Soon, Figgins began playing all over the field: third base, shortstop, second base, and outfield were all no problem as Mike Scioscia took advantage of Figgy’s superutility abilities. Angels broadcasters would even ask Where’s Figgy Tonight? before announcing the game’s lineup.
Not only did Figgins’ versatility let him be all over the field, his baserunning did that, too. In the six full seasons Figgins spent with the Angels, he raced to a monstrous 265 stolen bases and stole a league-leading 62 bags in 2005, causing havoc like few Halos had before him.
Figgins struggled with plate discipline, striking out over 100 times in four different seasons during his career, but with Figgins’ baserunning prowess, these were acceptable during his Angels years. He got on base at a .363 clip, and found holes in opponents’ defense with a whopping .341 batting average on balls in play. No doubt, this helped him hit at a tinge-above league average mark (103 wRC+) despite a 15% strikeout rate.
Figgins racked up an excellent 22.2 fWAR over his career, putting up 3.2 fWAR/year between 2003 and 2009, an incredible mark for one who wasn’t expected to be anything more than a speedster. Figgins turned on the jets a little extra in 2009, slashing .298/.395/.393, scoring 114 runs, making the AL All-Star team, and amassing an elite 6.6 fWAR that placed him among the league’s best.
Among the miraculous, Figgins hit for the cycle in 2006.
And he even got 6 hits in a game, including a walk-off!
In free agency, Figgins left for a hearty payday with the Seattle Mariners, who inked him to a 4-year, $36 million contract that turned out to be disastrous. Away from Anaheim, Figgins struggled mightily and was cut before the contract ended, slashing a terribad [redacted] and drawing the ire of Seattleites that still lives on to this day.
Of course, that’s a win to us Angels fans, along with the unbridled joy we felt watching Chone Figgins share his gift with us on the baseball diamond every single night for the better part of a decade. He was nothing short of incredible.
My favorite player for years especially when at the games, Figgy was special.
Another player I always enjoyed watching. I’d forgotten that six hit night. Wow!
Probably my favorite Angels player of all-time. Man, he was so much fun.