The Angels wasted no time turning their backs on 1971 as they traded Alex Johnson and Jerry Moses to the Indians for Vada Pinson and Alan Foster on October 5. But the big trade of the off-season was one of the most lopsided in baseball history, and certainly the best return on a trade the club has ever got. They traded veteran Jim Fregosi to the Mets. Fregosi was only 30 years old. In return they got Don Rose and Frank Estrada. These two would have scant impact on the team. But they also got Leroy Stanton, who would be a mainstay of the outfield for five solid seasons. Now, at this point the trade is a win for the Angels, a big win. But what makes it the slaughter of the half-century is that the Angels got yet a FOURTH player in exchange for Fregosi. The player was Nolan Ryan. The rest is history.
On February 9, Angel infielder Chico Ruiz died in a car crash in San Diego. He was 33. The Angels had already acquired veteran Shortstop Leo Cardenas for Dave LaRoche a few days prior to trading Fregosi, so it is uncertain which veteran would have had the playing time, although Cardenas was by far the more seasoned major leaguer. Cardenas batted 3rd in the Angels opening day lineup.
211. Leo Cardenas
212. Vada Pinson
213. Leroy Stanton
In the same game, new Angels Vada Pinson batted 6th and Leroy Stanton 7th. None were involved in the only score of the game, a 9th inning wild pitch that scored Sandy Alomar from 3rd base. A walk-off wild pitch.
214. Nolan Ryan
In his Angel debut on the night of Tuesday, April 18, in front of 5,191 fans at the Big A, Nolan Ryan pitched a 4-hit shutout of the Minnesota Twins, striking out 10. Talk about a glimmer of things to come!
215. Andy Kosco
216. Bob Oliver
217. Steve Barber
218. Don Rose
There was no pressure on Andy Kosco when he pinch hit in the ninth inning of a 12-2 blowout loss to the Orioles on April 28 and he responded with a base hit. On May 5, the Angels traded veteran pitcher Tom Murphy for Bob Oliver, who went 2 for 4 with 2 runs scored in the first of his 395 games as an Angel on May 7. The Braves released veteran pitcher Steve Barber on May 11 and he was signed by the Angels on May 16, appearing that night in 1/3 of an inning, inducing a groundout. Part of the Fregosi/Ryan trade, pitcher Don Rose made his Angel debut with a inning of scoreless relief on May 19.
Pitcher Alan Foster was part of the Alex Johnson Vada Pinson trade, but he didn't hold up his end of the bargain in his May 21 debut at old Comiskey Park. He came into a game with 2 on and the Angels up by 2 in the bottom of the 9th. He got a fly out and then served up a three-run homer to Carlos May.
219. Alan Foster
220. Curt Motton
221. Tom Dukes
Veteran 4th Outfielder Curt Motton came to the Angels in a midseason trade with the Brewers and started in Left Field on June 23. One-Fourth of the Fregosi/Ryan trade was backup catcher Frank Estrada, who played a grand total of 4 innings in the major leagues. He never appeared on a game as an Angel and was traded on May 29 to the Orioles for pitcher Tom Dukes, who would appear in 7 games as an Angel, the first on June 25.
222. Dave Sells
223. Chris Coletta
224. Doug Howard
225. Dick Lange
FOUR ML DEBUTS
Pitcher David Sells made his major league debut as an Angel, giving up 3 runs in 2 innings of relief in a loss to the White Sox on August 2. Chris Colletta started a game on August 15 in Left Field for his major league debut. Outfielder Doug Howard made his major league debut starting in Left Field on September 6. The Angels' 7th round pick from 1970, Dick Lange, was the starting pitcher on September 9, making his major league debut. He went 5 and a third, giving up 2 earned runs, including an RBI single to White Sox Third Baseman Ed Spiezio. Players picked in the 1970 draft after Lange: Phil Garner, Goose Gossage and Ray Knight. They went in the 8, 9 and 10 round respectively. Go Angels!