#93 - Greg Minton, RH Reliever
If in 1989 the Divisions were aligned as they are now and the Wild Card existed, the '89 Angels and their 91 wins would have gone to the postseason. And Greg Minton would certainly rank a little higher than #93 on this list. Minton was superb in Middle Relief that season, and was practically the only good thing in the Angels' post-Donnie-Moore-Meltdown Bullpen. He gave the Angels two very good years (87, 88) and contributed mightily to Manager Doug Rader's 91-win 1989 coulda-been-contendahs with one of the greatest middle reliever seasons in franchise history.
Let Rob McMillin take us down memory lane...
"Everybody would like to have the Minton that was", Angels manager Gene Mauch said, upon hearing the news of his release. "I don't know about the Minton that is. It might be one of those things where a change of scenery, a change of leagues is all he needs. I'm sure [GM Mike Port] will look into it." For a fairly undistinguished Angels bullpen (Donnie Moore struggled following the notorious 1986 meltdown and had been removed from the closer role, and Chuck Finley was having sophomore struggles), it was a low-cost acquisition the Angels couldn't pass up. The Angels closed the deal on June 1, 1987.
The signing paid off immediately, as he didn't surrender a single run in his first six appearances (11 innings of work) and finished with a 3.08 ERA for the Halos. Having dropped 40 pounds from the previous season, remarried, and rededicated himself to getting himself back in shape, the Giants pulled the trigger too quick on the Moon
Man. Minton didn't finish with an ERA above 3.00 again in his career, and once more he was a reliable middle reliever.
Following a April 17, 1990 game against Oakland, Minton's elbow locked up and wouldn't move. Angels team physician Lewis Yocum found the problem was bone chips again and removed them. Minton came back for a pair of games against Milwaukee, allowing three runs while getting only a single out in his second appearance, a 20-7 drubbing on July 8 in which the Brewers set or tied six club records. He went back on the DL a few days later with a strained ulnar collateral ligament, came back in September to pitch effectively, and retired.
Greg "Moon Man" Minton was drafted by the Royals in 1970 and came up with the Giants in 1975. After four seasons up-and-down with the team, he really broke out in 1979, when he posted a 1.81 ERA. A sinkerballer in some ways similar to Ben Weber, he never really got a lot of strikeouts, but he did manage to get the ball to one of his infielders. His best years with the Giants were '79 through 1982; during the first three years of that stretch, he failed to give up a single home run. In 1983, he and Gary Lavelle combined to form the first National League pitching tandem to each save 20 games in a season. But successive mediocre years lost him his closer's job in 1985, the fans taunting him with increasing fervor and venom in Candlestick. Following surgery to remove a bone spur in his elbow in the 1986/87 offseason, the Giants became frustrated with his on-again, off-again performances, and released him on May 28, 1987, leading to his pick-up by the Angels.
Rob writes about our team every day at his 6-4-2 Blog.