I promise that not every other article will be about Hall of Fame snubs (however, we do have 2 more lined up that are Hall of Fame related). Today I make the case for the greatest Angel of all-time, Garret Anderson.
After an impressive 17 year career that featured 2,529 hits, 522 doubles, 1,365 RBI and 8 consecutive seasons with 150+ games played, Garret Anderson received one Hall of Fame vote. Honestly, it was one more than I thought he was going to get. Still, I’d like to see him enshrined in Cooperstown.
Growing up an Angels fan, it was hard not to love Garret. He was the model of consistency and played the game “the right way”. I felt comfortable about our chances of winning each day knowing #16 was going to be out in left field.
As mentioned earlier, Anderson is the greatest Angel of all-time. Well, that is until Mike Trout shatters all of his records with both hands tied behind his back (that’s the only way to make it fair at this point). As of now, Garret is the franchise’s all-time leader in games played, at-bats, hits, singles, doubles, total bases, extra-bases, runs and RBIs. He also made it to 3 All-Star Games (including 2003 when he won the All-Star Game MVP and Home Run Derby, a feat only matched by Hall of Famer Cal Ripken, Jr.) and won 2 Silver Sluggers towards the end of the ‘Steroid Era’.
However, it will be for Game 7 of the 2002 World Series that Anderson will be most remembered. At-bat with the bases loaded in the 3rd inning of a 1-1 game, Garret ripped a double down the right field line that scored all 3 runners. With young stud John Lackey on the mound, that’s all the Angels would need to secure their first and only World Series title in franchise history.
However, there are two big knocks against Garret’s career: 1) due to the likes of Troy Glaus and Vladimir Guerrero, he was never really considered to be the best player on the team and 2) he had zero plate discipline. You know how Vladimir Guerrero swung at almost everything? Well Garret swung at literally everything. In his 17 year career he only averaged a measly 25 walks per season. This led to Garret owning a slightly above average .324 on-base percentage. (This is also a common knock against Ichiro, however, he is a Hall of Fame lock.)
I will admit, my longing for Garret Anderson to make the Hall of Fame is rooted in my fandom, but come on, literally no one enshrined in Cooperstown is wearing an Angels’ hat. That might change next year with Vladimir Guerrero who is a likely first ballot Hall of Famer and is deciding between the Angels and the Expos. If not, we’re going to have to wait another 20 some years for Mike Trout, assuming he doesn’t leave for somewhere like New York or Philadelphia (which he definitely will.) Ugh.