February 17, 2011

The 50 Greatest Angels (11-20)

Today’s Orange County Register’s (OCR) list of the 50 greatest Angels take us to a place that is reserved for a very special group; those rannked 11-20. If you make this list, you are truly special in the eyes of the panelists who put the list together.

The names are: Mike Witt (20), John Lackey (19), Francisco Rodriguez (18), Wally Joyner (17), Troy Glaus (16), Frank Tanana (15), Don Baylor (14), Gene Autry (13), Darin Erstad (12) and Mike Scioscia (11).

That’s a list that’s hard to argue with. Each made significant contributions to the Angels and/or hold a place in the Angels’ record books.

Two of the individuals listed (Autry and K-Rod) did not make my top 20 although I did rank each of them in the top 50.

Our first Angel who received some first place votes finally appears in Gene Autry. Four panelists including the Angels’ Tim Mead, Vice President of Communications believe Autry is the greatest of all.

It’s really hard to argue with that sentiment. I can appreciate and understand why anyone would believe that. I really wouldn’t fault anyone for voting for Autry; after all, if it weren’t for him, the Angels may have never come into existence. What I can’t understand is why Mat Gleason of Halos Heaven didn’t vote for him at all.

It’s also clear that Mead has the highest regard for Mike Scioscia who he voted as the 4th greatest Angel of all time. Angels talk show host Jeff Biggs ranked Scioscia 3rd and the OCR’s Bill Plunkett ranked him 4th. Four other panelists ranked him 6th. I ranked him 15th.

My feeling about Scioscia is that he is easily the most important Angel within the organization today. His finger prints are all over this organization and its success or failure is mostly his responsibility. That being said, he probably doesn’t get enough credit for how good the Angels have been over the last ten years and at the same time probably receives too much of the blame when it doesn’t meet expectations.

I can’t imagine anyone else managing my favorite team, but it wasn’t enough to put him for me to put him in the top 10. Interestingly, Gleason who left Autry off his list also excluded Scioscia.

It may be interesting to some folks out there that K-Rod ranked so low on my list at 35. It’s hard to argue with his accomplishments; however, for me it was more than that. I always said that if Frankie Rodriguez wasn’t an Angel (when he was on the team), I’d hate him because of the way he carries himself. I guess you could say that feeling carried over into my voting and I was unable to separate how I felt about him from what he did as an Angel.

I also have to admit that even though I have publicly chastised John Lackey for going to the worst possible destination in Boston last year, I had to include him in my top 20.

It was great to see some old familiar names on the list in Frank Tanana, Mike Witt and Don Baylor. And who could forget Wally World (Wally Joyner). I gave Joyner high marks for his impact on the Angel fan base (ranking him 12th).

Tomorrow we get down to the nitty-gritty; the top 10.

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