#21 Bob Boone, C
A member of 2 A.L. Western Champions (1982, 1986) and three 90-win seasons while playing for the Angels, Bob Boone caught for 7 years under the Halo. Boone put up numbers comparable to Bengie Molina (minus perhaps some of Bengie's power, but with a better track record for health), but Bob did not join the Angels until he was 34 (Bengie is 31 this offseason). Boone was considered to be on the downside of his career when the Angels acquired him for cash from Philadelphia, but his 7 seasons here pushed him to briefly hold the all-time ML games caught record, taking over for Al Lopez before Pudge Fisk squeaked by and claimed the mantle. Boone played in 968 games as an Angel, Catching 934 of them (he DH'd once and pinch hit or ran in the others, never playing any other position).
Bob was a victim of the off-season collusion scandal, remaining unsigned as a free agent in the 1986-87 off-season, he was re-signed by the club on May 1st and played in Anaheim thru the conclusion of 1988. He then played 2 seasons for the Royals.
At one time his name was bandied about as the obvious choice for a future Angels' manager, but at some point around the collusion it appeared he'd had a falling out with management. Perhaps it was pitch he called for form Donnie Moore that gave Dave Henderson an extra tenth of a second to tee-up.
Bob had already won a World Series with the Phillies in 1980 when he arrived in his native California. His 23 Sacrifice Hits in 1982 was the 2nd most for an Angel in a single season. His 16 Sacs in 1985 was the 6th most. He wound up with 90 as an Angel, one more than teammate Dick Schofield and good enough for the franchise record.
Like Bengie Molina, Bob was a contact hitter who was difficult to strikeout (AB per K of 12.2 was a little better than Bengie's 10.3). He was an integral part of the first golden era of Angels Baseball. To have the consistency and durability from the Catcher's spot that he brought to the team was always a big piece of the puzzle solved before the game even started.
Of the 7 Top 40 voters who placed Bob Boone and Bengie Molina on their ballots, 4 ranked Boone higher than Bengie: The Chronicler, Shredder, yes we can and cupie. The Chronicler exalted Bob with a ranking of #14 All-Time Angel.
One has to wonder how different would Angel History be if there hadn't been any animosity between the front office and Bob. Would Boone hold the all-time Major League Catching record? Would he be int he Hall of Fame? Would his managerial prowess and baseball acumen delivered better Angel teams in the 1990s? While we'll never know the what ifs, the facts speak for themselves: Bob Boone behind the plate was Angel bedrock long remembered.