Angels great Albie Pearson died last week at the age of 88. He was Eckstein before Eckstein and ranks high in many offensive categories for the Angels.
All five feet five inches of Albie Pearson personified the gritty type of player that makes fans of a team fans for life. It is almost impossible to root against men like Pearson, who appear innocent and elfin until they are beating your team with everything they have while your talent and ability are handed back to you in the loss column.
Pearson was the fourth player taken by the Halos in the December, 1960 American League expansion draft. He immediately stuck in the Angels lineup. Having won the Rookie of the Year with the original AL Senators in 1958, he was drafted to the expansion Angels from the Orioles.
Leading off for the Angels he was encouraged to draw walks and did he ever – He had three years of more than 90 walks and never struck out more than 40 times in a season. His excellent 1962 campaign saw him lead the AL with 115 Runs Scored with 160 hits and 96 BB in 718 Plate Appearances. He was an All Star in 1963 and got MVP votes after batting .304 with a .402 On Base Percentage. Consider that the 5.5 WAR he earned that year is tied in franchise history with Troy Glaus’ monster 2001 season. Glaus had 41 HR that year. Albie had six in his stellar season. Pearson is the point where advanced stats and grit meet.
He remains historically the most difficult Angel to ever strikeout with a 14.7 AB per SO rate – number one in club history for players with more than 1500 PA in an Angels uniform.
Pearson will always be one of the most beloved Angels and established a benchmark for giving it one’s all that endeared him to the fans. One of only a few players who called Wrigley Field, Chavez Ravine and Anaheim Stadium home, he got his uniform dirty everywhere he went.
ALBIE PEARSON ANGELS FRANCHISE RANKINGS
1st place all time 14.7 ABs per K
5th place all time .379 On Base Percentage
12th place all time 369 Walks
18th place all time with 36 Sacrifice Hits
20th place all time 13.6 Offensive WAR ranks
25th place all time 374 Runs Scored
25th place 108 OPS+ (tied w/ Howie Kendrick and Albert Pujols)
25th place 997 Times on Base
26th place 13.1 WAR (tied with David Eckstein and just ahead of Albert Pujols’ 12.8 WAR as an Angel… and for $239+ Million less)
26th place 61 Stolen Bases
30th place .275 Batting Average
33rd place .745 OPS
33rd place 618 Hits
33rd place 689 Games Played
34th place 2,247 At Bats
34th place 2,668 Plate Appearances
36th place 98 doubles
37th place 822 Total Bases
43rd place 139 XBH – Extra Base Hits
Via BaseballReferenceDotCom, Rate stats require a minimum of 1,500 Place Appearances for the franchise (76 Angels qualify for 1,500 PAs).
ALBIE PEARSON SINGLE SEASON ANGELS RANKINGS:
4th place single season 17.1 At Bats per K in 1962
7th place 15.6 AB per K in 1963
8th place single season .420 On Base Percentage in 1961
9th place 718 Plate Appearances in 1962
9th place 115 Runs Scored in 1962 (tied with 1998 Jim Edmonds and 2018 Mike Trout)
11th place 96 BB in 1961 (tied with 2001 Tim Salmon and the 2021 Shohei Ohtani MVP season)
12th place 160 Games Played in 1962
14th place 95 BB in 1962 (tied with 1997 Tim Salmon)
18th place .402 OBP in 1964 (tied with 2018 Mike Trout)
19th place 5.5 Offensive WAR in 1963 (tied with 2001 Troy Glaus)
20th place 92 BB in 1963
27th place 684 PAs in 1963
29th place 614 At Bats in 1962
30th place 176 Hits in 1963 (tied with 1988 Wally Joyner)
30th place .304 batting average in 1963
43rd place 4.9 WAR in 1963
49th place 92 Runs Scored in 1961 & 1963 (tied with seven other Angels)
Via BaseballReferenceDotCom, Rate stats require a minimum of 100 Games Played in the season with the franchise.