#35 - Dick Schofield, SS
For 1,086 games over two tours of duty with the Angels (one quite long, the other not), Dick Schofield was a mainstay all-glove shortstop. Of the thirty two Angels with more than 2,000 career Plate-Appearances, he is near the bottom of almost every averged Statistic and in the middle of the pack in the counting stats by default of his many games played.
But Dick's glove and range were superb and with a collection of big bats, the team could put up with a little less pop in exchange for the leather. But it wasn't a nonexistent plate presence - Dick is 2nd all time in Sacrifice Hits as an Angel - he came in handy all around and is 9th in Power/Speed Number in franchise history - 64.7.
Dick played on three Angel teams that amassed over 90 wins, including the A.L. West Champions of 1986. His role in the greatest regular-season comeback game in team history during that late-August playoff push was the moment that changed most attitudes - this was our year. Just look at the box score for August 29, 1986 and read the Angels half of the Ninth inning. Now, this was only one game out of 162 that season but it was one that coalesced in the Halo Nation's soul, and it was only one game out of 1,086 as an Angel for Dick but it came to epitomize Schofield as a can-do Angel.
Prior to the 1988 season, he avoided arbitration by reaching an agrement on a contract that met the Angels halfway between the $600,000 he was seeking and the half-million they were offering. He got an extra two grand plus in honor of his own uniform number, 22, receiving $552,222 that season.
In the final analysis, since little outside of the glove and occasional basepath speed was really ever asked of him, Dick Schofield rarely disappointed in his time as an Angel. In that he met or exceeded these lowered expectations, Dick Schofield was the 35ht greatest Angel of all time.
In the Top 40 Ballot Count, Dick was ranked 29th all-time by Matt Welch, 30th by yours truly Reverend Halofan and 31st by Shredder.
Rob McMillin of the 6-4-2 Southern California Baseball Blog has more on Dick...
Dick Schofield, the son of utility infielder of the same name who played for seven teams including the Dodgers and the uncle of present-day Dodger Jayson Werth, spent nine seasons and one game with the Angels. Hitting 16 homers at Edmonton in 1983 on a .284 average, and knocking in 94 RBIs -- at the tender age of 20! -- Schofield was easily on the team's short list of untouchables. Making the jump from single-A Danville, where he hit .360 the year before, his success at AAA led to a September callup in 1983, where he only hit .203 in 54 at bats. But the concensus in baseball was that, in the words of Orioles scout Jimmy Driscoll, "He's going to be a tremendous hitter, and he may be ready next year. He can play short in the big leagues right now."
First, though, he had to avoid becoming part of a 1982 trade for Floyd Bannister. "We'll make it very simple for [Executive Vice President Buzzie Bavasi]," Seattle VP Dan O'Brian said. "We'll take one player, a minor leaguer at that, and he can forget the money." Bannister, who had been interested in going to the Angels as part of a trade -- he was about to become a free agent at the end of the season anyway -- ended up leaving the Mariners anyway, without a trade. The Angels' front office being what it was in those days, speculation ran rampant that the youthful Schofield was still on the block anyway, especially since he was blocked by Tim Foli and Rick Burleson. "Yeah, there are a lot of good players in front of me," he said when confronted with the situation at the big club. "I try not to think about the future right now."
The situation cleared up shortly into December, when Foli was traded to the Yankees on December 7, 1983. Burleson, who had been the team's starting shortstop in 1981 but injured his rotator cuff, was unable to hold down a starting position. Schofield had the starting job fall into his lap. Once the "of the future" designation fell off, Schofield became a good, not great, offensive shortstop, although it should be mentioned that he played in an era when little was expected of shortstops at the plate. Nonetheless, he had some spectacular moments, including two four-hit games and a September 1, 1986 game in which he knocked in a pair of triples, and an August 29, 1986 game which he hit a walkoff grand slam against Detroit after the Angels entered the inning with a 12-5 deficit.
Entering the 1992 season, Schofield was no longer the Angels' starting shortstop. Replaced by Gary DiSarcina, the Angels traded Schofield to the Mets, for the moderately successful Julio Valera. Valera had one reasonably good year, 1992, in which he went 8-11 with a 3.73 ERA, but only pitched 53 innings the next year. Schofield continued to play in the majors through 1996, when he signed as a free agent after traveling through Toronto and Los Angeles. Missing most of the season due to "personal reasons", he came back in August, playing in eight more games before retiring.