#88 - Roger Repoz, OF and a little 1B
If you are in the top 40 of a team in # of games played and the top 25 of its all time homerun hitters, you're probably going to rank around #88 all-time on the list of their 100 best players. Looking at Repoz' Angel career I think that if Casey Kotchman had hit one game-winning hit in the postseason, this guy would be off the list. Oh well, maybe if we do this list next off-season he will be!
Looks like Rob McMillin is just as unsympathetic to the cause:
His last name better known these days as the pen name of Darren Viola at Baseball Think Factory, Roger Repoz came up with the Yankees in 1964 after a much-heralded minor league career in which he hit 20 homers at age 22 in the Sally League, and 23 in the Southern League for New York's Columbus affiliate. At the time, he was considered the heir apparent to Mickey Mantle, playing alongside him for three years after he came up in 1964.
But a string of disappointing seasons led to a June, 1966 trade with the then-Kansas City Athletics, a struggling team in their last year before moving to Oakland. The A's in turn booted him to the Angels, almost exactly a year after they acquired him. With California, he started three of the five full years he was with the club. Shuffling him around in '67, the Angels settled him batting third in 1968, where he hit eight of his 13 homers.
Repoz wasn't particularly notable offensively -- unless you count the league-leading eight sac flies he hit in 1968, one of the Angels' dreariest seasons. It was a year so bad, with clubhouse rancor so unbearable, that players actually started bringing guns and knives into the dugout. In this poisonous environment, Repoz found himself increasingly relegated to first base and right field, and was never allowed to hit against lefties throughout his Angels career. In fact, Repoz is widely known throughout baseball as a classic example of a failed prospect.
Maybe his most embarrassing game as a player came on September 29, 1971, the next to last year of his career. In the Angels' half of the fourth during a scoreless pitcher's duel between Clyde Wright and Bert Blyleven, with Repoz on third, Mickey Rivers hit what should have been a sac fly -- only Repoz failed to touch home plate and was declared out, despite Twins catcher Phil Roof having dropped the ball prior to the tag.
By 1972, the Angels were already eyeing replacements, Lee Stanton in particular. An extremely weak spring training didn't help his cause, hitting only .043, and so the former Yankee prospect found himself demoted to Salt Lake. He came back to play three more games in June, after which Angels GM Harry Dalton traded Repoz to Baltimore for Jerry DaVanon, Jeff's father. Repoz never played a single game for them, retiring from the majors. He played five more years in the Japanese leagues, where he spent one year with the Taiyo Whales (now the Yokohama BayStars), and four with the Yakult Swallows, hitting career marks of .262, with 122 home runs, 76 doubles, and 290 RBIs.
Check out more of Rob's baseball writing at his 6-4-2 L.A. Baseball Blog.