Angel Debuts - 1964

Opening Day, 1964, was on Monday, April 13 in Washington DC against the expansion Washington Senators (currently the Texas Rangers). Pitchers Ken McBride and Julio Navarro combined for a 1-HIT shutout! In fact the only Senator to get a hit that afternoon was pitcher Claude Osteen. Debuting as Angels that afternoon were a veteran and a rookie. Veteran Joe Adcock had arrived in the offseason as the player to be named later in the deal that sent Leon Wagner to Cleveland. On April 13 he had a single in his first plate appearance with a Halo and finished the day going 3-4 with a double, a ribby and a run scored. Adcock had 3 hits in 15 at bats in the 1957 World Series, helping Hank Aaron and the Milwaukee Braves to a World Series championship over the Yankees. Taking the field in the bottom of the inning was Angels rookie Second Baseman Bobby Knoop who would commit an error in his debut but also successfully squeeze home Buck Rodgers with a sac bunt in the 8th inning. Knoop would go on to play 801 games at 2nd Base, surpassed only by Adam Kennedy and Bobby Grich in franchise history for games on the keystone. In addition to being a Top 100 Angel player, Knoop would later serve as an Angel base or bench coach from 1979 thru 1996.

In addition to Adcock, veteran pitcher Barry Latman was part of the Wagner to Cleveland trade and he started Game 2 of the 1963 season with a 1-2-3 first. By the time the 10th man came to the plate in the bottom of the 2nd, though, Latman had been relieved by Don Lee and would be charged with 6 runs in 1 and 1/3 innings. The Angels lost 6-4, and part of the evening's stellar bullpen effort was an inning-long debut by Bob Lee, soon to be the most dominant closer in the American League and an unsung Top 100 Angel.

On April 28, the Angels traded pitcher Julio Navarro to Detroit for Willie Smith, a player who could pitch and play outfield and would eventually bat .301 with 11 homeruns for the Angels in 118 games that season. He faced 134 batters in 1964 and had a 2.84 ERA as well. In his Angels debut on May 3, he grounded out to first as a pinch hitter. The Angels traded Lee "Mad Dog" Thomas to Boston on June 4 for outfielder Lou Clinton. On June 5th, Lou hit a 2-run homer in his 2nd at-bat as an Angel off the Yankees' Ralph Terry in front of 29,711 West Coast baseball fans at Chavez Ravine. The Angels won 3-2.

75. Joe Adcock
76. Bobby Knoop
77. Barry Latman
78. Bob Lee
79. Willie Smith
80. Lou Clinton
81. Lenny Green
82. Vic Power

Centerfielder Lenny Green was acquired in three-team trade with Minnesota and Cleveland and started in Centerfield for the Angels on June 13 in Detroit, batting leadoff. Also acquired in that trade was First Baseman Vic Power, a perennial gold-glover. He started at First Base in the second game of a doubleheader on June 14 and hit a 2-run homer off of Denny McClain in his 2nd at-bat as an Angel.

The third Angel to debut in four days was pitcher Bob Meyer, purchased from the Yankees on June 12, pitching in his first game for the Angels on June 16 - he started the game in Washington, induced a grounder, surrendered a homer, walked the next two batters and was yanked from the game. Meyer was sold to the KC Athletics on July 29 having started 5 games and relieving for 5 innings in another. Two days after the sale, July 31, Right Hander Bill Kelso made his first pitch wearing a Halo on the mound, relieving Aubrey Gatewood in the 5th inning of a home game against Boston.

Three Mainstays
83. George Brunet
84. Rick Reichardt
85. Paul Schaal

On August 18th, the Angels purchased Lefthander George Brunet from the Houston Colt 45s and he started for the team on August 20 in old Tiger Stadium, allowing 3 runs in 5 innings of an eventual 4-3 Angel victory. It was the first of 194 games Brunet would appear in as an Angel, primarily as a starter. On September 1st, Angel fans got another first look at a player who would be around for most of the rest of the decade as Rick Reichardt started the game in Centerfield, batting 6th. Reichardt would go on to play 516 games in Left Field for the Angels (second only to Brian Downing and Garret Anderson in club history) before being traded in 1970. On September 3rd, Paul Schaal was the team's leadoff hitter, playing Third Base. He would be a mainstay over the next three seasons until he was drafted after the 1968 season - but not for Vietnam, no, worse - in the expansion draft for the Kansas City Royals. He was traded back to the Angels for 51 more games at the hot corner in 1974, compiling 490 games at 3B in an Angels uniform, 4th all time behind Troy Glaus, Doug DeCinces and Jack Howell.

86. Jack Hiatt
87. Ed Sukla

On the afternoon of Monday, September 7, newly called-up utility infielder Jack Hiatt was thrown right into the fire - bottom of the 11th of a tie game at home. With the bases loaded and 1 out, Hiatt, pinch-hitting for Reichardt, lined a single into Let Field for the game winner. On September 17 Ed Sukla made his major legue debut as an Angel on the mound in Yankee Stadium in relief. With Joe Pepitone on First and one out with a run already across in the inning, Sukla stranded the runner by surrendering a hit in between two strikeouts.

The highlight of 1964 will always be Dean Chance's Cy Young season and these were some of the players who were there to assist and witness it.

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