This is the fourth article in a series that looks at the five best players at each position for the Los Angeles Angels. In this installment are the outfielders.
This list doesn’t include any of talent from the 1994 movie Angels in the Outfield, this group of Angels outfielders includes its fair share of power hitters, run producers and defensive stars. The group is led by a Hall of Famer with a cannon for an arm, the entire starting outfield from the 2002 championship season and arguably the game’s best player in the 21st century.
The Best Outfielders in Los Angeles Angels History
Honorable Mentions – Joe Rudi was a three-time All-Star, a three-time gold glove winner, a three-time champion and a two-time MVP runner-up in 11 seasons with Oakland before signing with California. His best season with the Angels was 1978, when he had 17 home runs and 79 runs batted in. Over four seasons with California (1977-80), Rudi had 359 hits, 57 homers and 246 RBIs in 391 games. He was sent to Boston in the trade the brought Fred Lynn to the West Coast.
Luis Polonia played four seasons with the Angels (1990-93), stealing more than 30 bases each year with a high of 50 in 1991. He ranks fourth in franchise history with 174 stolen bases and sixth with a .294 average and had 300 runs, 628 hits and 149 RBIs in 560 games. Polonia won a title with the Braves in 1995 and the Yankees in 2000 and spent two seasons in Mexico in between.
Juan Rivera played six seasons with Los Angeles (2005-10), batting .277 with 270 hits, 595 runs, 102 doubles, 92 home runs and 337 RBIs in 595 games. He posted seasons with at least 20 homers and 85 RBIs in 2006 and ’09. In the playoffs, Rivera appeared in 22 games and amassed six runs, 17 hits one home run and four runs batted in. The 2001 MLB Futures Game participant as part of the Yankees organization led the league in outfield assists in 2006.
Justin Upton showed some power during his five-year stint with Los Angeles (2017-21), but he never got to the levels he did earlier in his career. His best season in California was 2018, when he hit 30 home runs and drove in 85 runs. With the Angels, “J-Up” scored 200 runs and had 305 hits, 75 homers and 203 RBIs in 366 games. The 2007 MLB Futures Game participant (with the Diamondbacks) spent the 2022 season with the Mariners and is currently a free agent.
5. Rick Reichardt – He played seven seasons with the Angels (1964-70) including four as a full-time starter. Reichardt’s best year was 1968, when he hit .255 and set career highs with 62 runs, 20 doubles, 21 home runs and 73 runs batted in. Overall, he batted .261 with 243 runs, 451 hits, 91 homers and 276 RBIs in 442 games. He also led the league in double plays by a left fielder three times.
4. Darin Erstad – He spent parts of three seasons in left field, but his only full season as a starter came in 2000. That year, he earned All-Star, Gold Glove and Silver Slugger honors and finished eighth in the MVP voting after leading the league with 240 hits (tied for 13th-most in major league history) and setting career highs with a .355 average, 121 runs, 240 hits, 39 doubles, 25 home runs, 100 RBIs and 28 stolen bases. Erstad switched spots with center fielder Garret Anderson the following year and went to first base on a full-time basis in 2004.
3. Leon Wagner – He was an original Angel who was named to three All-Star Games in three seasons (1961-63), including both contests in 1962. That season, Wagner finished fourth in the MVP voting after setting career highs with 96 runs, 168 hits, 37 home runs and 107 runs batted in. He also was named the MVP of the second All-Star Game with his 3-for-4 performance and two-run home run leading the American League to a 9-4 win.
Wagner batted .279 with 243 runs, 451 hits, 91 home runs and 276 RBIs in 442 games. He had four solid seasons with the Indians, and he also played with the White Sox and Giants before retiring in 1969.
2. Brian Downing – While he earned his only All-Star selection as a catcher in 1979, he spent most of his 13 seasons with the Angels (1978-90) in left field, batting either in the leadoff or cleanup spots in California’s lineup. During his six full seasons at the position, Downing had at least 20 home runs and 80 runs batted in four times and won three fielding titles. His best season was 1982, when he batted .281 with 109 runs, 28 homers and 84 RBIs and set career highs with 175 hits and 37 doubles.
Nicknamed the “Incredible Hulk” for his power, Downing overcame ankle and knee injuries during his career and ranks third in games played (1,661) and walks (886), fourth in runs (889), hits (1,588), doubles (282), RBIs (846) and total bases (2,580) and tied for fourth in home runs (222) while batting .271. In the playoffs, he appeared in 16 games and totaled seven runs, 12 hits, one home run and eight RBIs, with seven coming in the 1986 ALCS. Downing spent the final four years of his Angels tenure as a designated hitter, then played two seasons with the Rangers before retiring in 1992.
1. Garret Anderson – He is one of the most gifted offensive players in franchise history and one of the best run producers of the early 2000s. Anderson played 12 of his 15 seasons (1994-2008) in left field (with the other three in center), earning three All-Star selections and two silver sluggers. He was the Rookie of the Year runner-up in 1995 after batting a career-best .321 with 16 home runs and 69 runs batted in.
Anderson had four straight seasons with at least 80 runs, 185 hits, 25 home runs and 115 RBIs, with the best coming in 2002, when the finished fourth in the MVP voting and batted .306 with 93 runs, 195 hits, 29 home runs, 123 RBIs and a team-record 56 doubles (which also led the American League). The following year, he batted .315, led the league with 49 doubles and posted a career-high 201 hits, his final in a run of seven straight seasons with at least 180. He also was the 2013 All-Star Game MVP and won the Home Run Derby the day before the game.
Anderson is the all-time franchise leader in games (2,013), hits (2,368), doubles (489), RBIs (1,292) and total bases (3,743) and ranks second in runs (1,024), third in home runs (272) and strikeouts (1,117), tied for fourth in average (.296) and fifth in triples (35). He produced some timely hitting in the playoffs as well, with 17 runs, 36 hits, five doubles, five home runs and 22 RBIs in 36 postseason Games. Anderson had nine hits and drove in six runs during the 2002 World Series, including a bases-clearing double in the third inning of Game 7 that broke a 1-1 tie and propelled John Lackey and the Angels to their first title. Anderson played one year each with the Braves and Dodgers before retiring in 2010.
Honorable Mentions – Albie Pearson split his six-year Angels career (1961-66) between center and right field but played more games in center. The 1958 Rookie of the Year with the Washington Senators (later the Twins) was a starter with the expansion Angels. He led the league with 115 runs scored in 1962 and earned his lone All-Star selection the following year, when he had 92 runs, and set career highs with 176 hits, 47 runs batted in, 17 stolen bases and a .304 average. Overall, Pearson batted .275 and had 374 runs, 618 hits, 24 home runs and 167 RBIs in 689 games.
While he was known for winning two titles with the Yankees in the late 1970s, John “Mickey” Rivers began his career with the Angels. The speedy center fielder played six seasons in California (1970-75), leading the league in triples twice and setting a team record with 70 stolen bases in 1975. Rivers ranks eighth in franchise history with 126 steals and posted a .280 average with 220 runs, 466 hits and 122 RBIs in 457 games. After a four-year stint in New York, he finished his career in Texas and retired in 1984.
Gary Pettis was another speedster who won a pair of gold gloves and went over the 40-steal mark three times in six years with the Angels (1982-87). He had 56 steals in 1985 (third-most in team history) and had his best offensive campaign the following year, when he posted career highs with 93 runs, 139 hits and 58 RBIs to go with 50 more steals. Pettis ranks third in franchise history with 186 stolen bases as well as 296 runs, 451 hits and 143 RBIs in 584 games. He batted .346 (9-for-26) with four runs scored, a home run and four runs batted in. Pettis played with the Tigers, Rangers and Padres before retiring in 1992.
Darin Erstad played three seasons in center field (2001-03), with his best season during the team’s run to the World Series in 2002. That season, he won a gold glove and batted .283 with 99 runs, 177 hits, 10 home runs, 73 RBIs and 23 stolen bases. In the postseason, he had 14 runs, 25 hits, five doubles, two home runs, seven RBIs and three steals in 16 games.
5. Devon White – He was another speedy, slick-fielding outfielder who won two gold gloves in six seasons with California (1985-90). After brief call-ups his first two years, White came up for good in 1987 and had his best offensive season with 103 runs, 168 hits, 24 home runs, 87 RBIs and 32 stolen bases. He earned his only All-Star selection the Angels two years later when he set career highs with 13 triples and 44 steals.
White is tied for tenth in franchise history with 123 stolen bases and had 337 runs, 551 hits, 59 homers, 241 RBIs in 612 games. He went 1-for-2 with two runs scored during the 1986 ALCS. White played for five more teams during his 17-year career and won two titles with the Blue Jays (1992-93) and another with the Marlins (1997).
4. Fred Lynn – He was a six-time All-Star, a four-time Gold Glove and the first player to be named Rookie of the Year and MVP in the same season (in 1975) during his seven-year run with the Red Sox. After being traded to the Angels, Lynn earned three All-Star selections in four years (1981-84) and posted 20 home runs and 70 RBIs three times.
Despite the Angels losing to the Brewers in the 1982 ALCS, Lynn was named MVP after hitting .611 (11-for-18) with four runs scored, one home run and five RBIs. The following year, he hit a grand slam in the third inning of the American League’s 13-3 win in the All-Star Game that earned him MVP honors. Lynn batted .271 with 257 runs, 456 hits, 71 home runs and 270 RBIs in 473 games with the Angels. He played with the Orioles, Tigers and Padres over the next six seasons and retired in 1990.
3. Jim Edmonds – He was known for his solid run production and highlight-reel catches as a member of the Cardinals, but he began his career with seven seasons with the Angels (1993-99). Edmonds went over 20 home runs and 60 RBIs in four straight seasons, with his best coming in the first year of that run. In 1995, he earned his first All-Star selection after posting a .290 average, 120 runs, 162 hits, 33 home runs and 107 runs batted in.
Three years later, Edmonds had 115 runs, 25 homers and 91 RBIs and set career highs with a .307 average, 184 runs and doubles. He ranks tenth in franchise history with a .290 average with 464 runs, 768 hits, 161 doubles, 121 homers, 408 RBIs and 1,316 total bases in 709 games.
Edmonds played in two World Series with the Cardinals and won a title in 2006. He sat out the 2009 season due to leg injuries and spent time with the Padres, Cubs, Brewers and Reds before retiring in 2010.
2. Torii Hunter – Another of the many in a long line of star defensive players who manned center field in Anaheim, he won two gold gloves in five seasons with the Angels (2008-12). Hunter hit the 20-homer and 80-RBI marks four times each, with his best season coming in 2012, when he had a career-high .313 average to go with 81 runs, 167 hits, 16 home runs and 92 runs batted in. In addition to his defensive prowess, he was a two-time All-Star, a two-time silver slugger and won the Branch Rickey Award for community service in 2009.
Nicknamed “Spider Man” (because he “scales walls and catches flies”), Hunter batter .286 with 396 runs, 768 hits, 147 doubles, 105 home runs and 432 RBIs in 713 games. He appeared in 13 postseason games with the Angels, recording four runs, 16 hits, on home run and 10 RBIs. After his time in Los Angeles, Hunter spent two seasons with Detroit before returning to Minnesota to end his career in 2015.
1. Mike Trout – Few players have ever put together a run of dominance like the “Millville Meteor.” In 2012, Trout nearly joined Fred Lynn and Ichiro Suzuki in an exclusive club of players who won Rookie of the Year and MVP in the same season. He hit .326 with 182 hits, 30 home runs, 83 runs batted in and league-leading totals of 129 runs (a team record) and 49 stolen bases to win Rookie of the Year and finish second in the MVP voting behind Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera, who became baseball’s first Triple Crown winner in 45 years. He also was an All-Star, a silver slugger and won both the Wilson Defensive Player of the Year in center field and Overall Defensive Player awards.
Trout has finished in the top 10 in the MVP race 10 times in his 13-year career (2011-present) and earned baseball’s top prize three times. He finished second again in 2013 before finally winning the award the following year after batting .287 with 173 hits, 36 homers and league-high totals of 115 runs, 111 RBIs and 338 total bases. Trout also took home the honor in 2016 (.315-29-100 with 30 steals and league-leading marks of 123 runs and a .441 on-base percentage) and 2019 (.291, 110 runs, 104 RBIs, a career-best 45 home runs to go with a .438 on-base percentage and a .645 slugging percentage, which both led the league).
In an eight-year stretch from 2012-19, Trout hit at least 25 home runs each year, scored at least 100 runs seven times (leading the league in four of those seasons), drove in more than 80 runs and amassed more than 300 total bases six times, batted better than .300 and had more than 170 hits five times and smacked more than 30 doubles four times.
During his illustrious career, he has earned 11 All-Star selections, nine silver sluggers, three fielding titles, two Hank Aaron Awards (2014 and ’19) and won back-to-back All-Star Game MVP Awards (2014-15). His only All-Star misses were 2011, when he was called up in early July, and the COVID-shortened 2020 season, when there was no game (although he was on the list of “unofficial” All-Stars MLB released in late August).
Trout is the all-time franchise leader in runs (1,106), home runs (368), on-base percentage (.412), slugging percentage (.582) and strikeouts (1,458). He ranks second in stolen bases (206), total bases (3,142) and walks (964), third in average (.301), hits (1,624), doubles (310), triples (52) and RBIs (940) and fourth in games (1,489). Although he didn’t win the MVP award in 2018 (he again was a runner-up), he set team records with a .460 on-base percentage and 122 walks.
While he is arguably the team’s greatest player, Trout has gotten the “injury-prone” label in each of the past three seasons. He missed most of 2021 with a right calf strain, suffered multiple back injuries in 2022 and missed nearly half of this past season after fracturing the hamate bone in his left hand in July.
Honorable Mentions – Leroy Stanton came to California as part of what is arguably one of the most lopsided trades in Major League Baseball history. Stanton went west with Nolan Ryan and two other prospects for star shortstop Jim Fregosi, who lasted only one season with the Mets. Stanton started for the Angels for five seasons (1972-76), amassing 212 runs, 443 hits, 47 home runs and 242 RBIs in 594 games. His best year was 1975, when he posted a .261-14-82 stat line and added career highs with 67 runs and 18 stolen bases. Stanton also won the fielding title in 1972 and led all American League outfielders in assists three years later.
Taylor Ward is the team’s current starter, although he moved over to left field in favor of Hunter Renfroe in 2023. Ward had 200 runs, 339 hits, 52 home runs and 167 RBIs in 391 games with the Angels. His best season was 2022, when he posted career highs with 135 games, 73 runs, 139 hits, 22 doubles, 23 home runs, 65 RBIs and 234 total bases. Ward missed considerable time this past season after suffering multiple facial fractures when he was hit in the face by a pitch on July 29.
5. Bobby Bonds – Barry’s dad followed Stanton in right field after solid seasons with the Giants and Yankees. Bonds played just two years in Southern California and did not make an All-Star team despite a 1977 season in which he totaled 103 runs, 156 hits, 37 home runs and a career-high 115 runs batted in. He played for five teams in his final four seasons and retired in 1982 after being released from the Yankees minor league system.
Bonds was a coach with the Indians in the mid-1980s, but his near-lifelong drinking problem was beginning to take over. After getting sober, his friend and former neighbor Dusty Baker gave him a job coaching the Giants from 1993-96, which reunited Bonds and his son. Bonds died from lung cancer and a brain tumor on August 23, 2003, at age 57.
4. Kole Calhoun – Although his average decreased and his strikeouts increased throughout his eight-year tenure with the Angels (2012-19), he was a solid run-producer who won a gold glove in 2015 and set career highs with 161 runs and 83 runs batted in. Calhoun posted career-bests with 92 runs and 33 home runs in 2019.
Calhoun totaled 530 runs, 884 hits, 167 doubles, 140 home runs and 451 RBIs in 966 games. He led the American League outfielders in putouts and double plays twice each and batted .333 (5-for-15 with a run scored in his only playoff experience, a loss to the Royals in the 2014 Division Series. Calhoun spent two years with the Diamondbacks and on each with the Rangers and Guardians.
3. Bobby Abreu – The strong-armed right fielder spent parts of four years with the Angels (2009-12). Although Abreu did not make an All-Star team during his run in Los Angeles, his best year was his first, when he hit .293 with 96 runs, 165 hits, 15 home runs, 103 runs batted in and 30 stolen bases, and he also led the league with double plays by a right fielder.
Abreu batted .267 with 239 runs, 443 hits, 103 doubles, 43 homers and 246 RBIs in 456 games. He was released in April 2012 and spent the rest of the season with the Dodgers. After taking a year off to work on his business interests in his native Venezuela, Abreu spent 2014 before retiring.
2. Vladimir Guerrero – He came to the Angels after an eight-year stint with the Expos that included four All-Star selections, three silver sluggers, two top-10 MVP finishes and a slew of impressive highlights of him throwing out runners from long distances. Guerrero won the elusive MVP Award in his first season with his new team, batting .337 with 206 hits, 39 home runs, 126 runs batted in and league-leading totals of 124 runs scored, 366 total bases and 14 outfield assists.
During his six-year run in Los Angeles (2004-09), “Vlad the Impaler” earned four All-Star selections, four silver sluggers, finished in the top 10 of the MVP vote four times and won the All-Star Home Run Derby in 2007. Even though he dropped off during his final season with the Angels, the rest of his time in Southern California he had at least 85 runs, 160 hits, 25 home runs, 90 RBIs and a .300 average.
Guerrero is the all-time franchise leader with a .319 average, and he ranks third in slugging percentage (.546), seventh in home runs (173), eighth in RBIs (616), ninth in total bases (1,767) and tenth in doubles (194) to go along with 544 runs and 1,034 hits in 846 games. In 29 playoff games, he has 13 runs, 32 hits, two homers and 14 RBIs.
Although his strategy of swinging at pitches in just about every location would not work for most players, Guerrero had the natural power and reflexes to hit the ball a long way. He finished his career playing one season each with the Rangers and Orioles, appearing in his final big-league game in 2011. Guerrero spent more time with Montreal than Los Angeles, but he went into the Hall of Fame in 2018 with an Angels cap on his plaque, the first player to do so. He now devotes himself to his family, including his son, Vladimir Jr., who plays first base for the Blue Jays.
1. Tim Salmon – When he was at his peak, few could match his raw power. Salmon spent his entire 14-year career with the Angels (1992-2004) and, despite never being selected as an All-Star, he was one of the most feared hitters for a decade. He recovered after being hit in the face by a pitch in the minor leagues and earned Rookie of the Year honors in 1993, hitting .283 with 93 runs, 31 home runs and 95 runs batted in.
Salmon smacked more than 20 home runs eight times, scored and drove in at least 80 seven times each and had 150 or more hits four times. He earned his lone silver slugger in 1995, when he had 105 RBIs and set career highs with a .330 average, 111 runs, 177 hits and 34 home runs. Two years later, he posted a .296-33-129 stat line, with the RBI total setting a career-best.
He tore the rotator cuff and biceps tendon in his left shoulder in 2004 and the surgery (plus another on his left knee) kept him out the following season. “Kingfish” returned to play 76 games in 2006 before retiring. He batted .282 and is the all-time franchise leader in walks (970) and ranks second in games (1,672), hits (1,674), doubles (339), home runs (299) and RBIs (1,016) and third in runs (986) and total bases (2,958).
Salmon was a key piece of the team’s championship run, batting .288 in 16 playoff games and totaling 10 runs, 17 hits, four home runs and 12 RBIs. He went 9-for-26 (.346) with seven runs, two homers and five RBIs in the seven-game win over the Giants in the World Series.
In addition to his offensive prowess, Salmon led American League outfielders in putouts five times and double plays twice, and he won the Hutch Award for “fighting spirit and competitive desire” in 2002. He was elected to the Angels Hall of Fame alongside pitchers Dean Chance and Mike Witt in 2016
Los Angeles Angels Catchers and Managers
Los Angeles Angels First and Third Basemen and Designated Hitters
Los Angeles Angels Second Basemen and Shortstops
Los Angeles Angels Outfielders
Los Angeles Angels Pitchers – coming soon
A look back at the Kansas City Royals
Kansas City Royals Catchers and Managers
Kansas City Royals First and Third Basemen and Designated Hitters
Kansas City Royals Second Basemen and Shortstops
Kansas City Royals Outfielders
Kansas City Royals Pitchers
A look back at the Houston Astros
A look back at the Detroit Tigers
A look back at the Colorado Rockies
A look back at the Cleveland Guardians
Cleveland Guardians Catchers and Managers
Cleveland Guardians First and Third Basemen and Designated Hitters
Cleveland Guardians Second Basemen and Shortstops
Cleveland Guardians Outfielders
Cleveland Guardians Pitchers
A look back at the Cincinnati Reds
A look back at the Chicago White Sox
Chicago White Sox Catchers and Managers
Chicago White Sox First and Third Basemen and Designated Hitters
Chicago White Sox Second Basemen and Shortstops
Chicago White Sox Outfielders
Chicago White Sox Pitchers
A look back at the Chicago Cubs
A look back at the Boston Red Sox
A look back at the Baltimore Orioles
Baltimore Orioles Catchers and Managers
Baltimore Orioles First and Third Basemen
Baltimore Orioles Second Basemen and Shortstops
Baltimore Orioles Outfielders and Designated Hitters
Baltimore Orioles Pitchers
A look back at the Atlanta Braves
A look back at the Arizona Diamondbacks
Arizona Diamondbacks Catchers and Managers
Arizona Diamondbacks First and Third Basemen
Arizona Diamondbacks Second Basemen and Shortstops
Arizona Diamondbacks Outfielders
Arizona Diamondbacks Pitchers