The 100 Greatest Angels - #62, Rick Reichardt

#62 - Rick Reichardt, OF

Career Stats

Angels Outfielder Rick Reichardt hit the first homerun in Anaheim Stadium, had his HBP single season record of 18 tied by Don Baylor and broken by David Eckstein and is 10th all time in franchise history with a 117 Adjusted OPS+ (again, tied with Baylor). Reichardt played 563 games as an Angel in the mid 1960s, tied with Roger Repoz for 33rd most with the club.

Rob McMillin of The 6-4-2 L.A. Baseball Blog looks back:

A projected superstar when he came out of the University of Wisconsin, Reichardt got the largest bonus ever when he signed for a reported $175,000, one which expanded to $225,000 when the team offered to pick up his tuition. A football player for that university who had appeared in the 1963 Rose Bowl, he had fielded bonus offers as high as $250,000 (from the Yankees, who, like Roger Repoz, was another guy they figured could take over for Mickey Mantle in center), he chose the Angels principally because he felt his prospects of getting to the majors was best "with a young club like the Angels," he said upon signing the deal. "It just seemed to me that by casting my lot with this club that I could most rapidly further my progression into the big leagues."

Reichardt came up that same year, and though he didn't do much -- hitting .162 in 37 AB -- he finally arrived for good in the majors two years later. Despite questions about his glove, manager Bill Rigney waxed enthusiastic about the young player, comparing him to Willie Mays, Orlando Cepeda, and Jim Fregosi. A handsome player, Joe Garagiola once said of him "The first time I saw him I thought he fell off a Wheaties box." His first full season went well offensively, hitting 16 homers in 1966, but a kidney blockage that he had since childhood worsened, causing dizziness, high blood pressure, and headaches. The team sent him to the Mayo Clinic, whereupon he was operated on. He played only one more game that year, but despite it, actually managed to appear in the MVP balloting, though very, very distantly (21st in the AL).

Reichardt never did shake the bugs out of his glove, nor did he live up to the promise of his early billing, posting only 21 home runs in his 1968 season. His Angels career ended after a trade to the Washington Senators for third baseman Ken McMullin shortly after the 1970 season started.

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