Angel Debuts - 1976

Four new Angels appeared on Opening Day, 1976, a Friday night game at home on April 9 against the A's. A groundout was fielded in the top of the first by Catcher Ed Herrmann, who had been purchased from the Yankees in the offseason. He would be traded to the Astros on June 6. In the bottom of the 1st inning, DH Bill Melton, acquired in December from the White Sox, had a base hit and an RBI to begin his Angel career. In the bottom of the 2nd, Rusty Torres, who had come to the Angels in 1974 in the Frank Robinson trade, made his debut with fly out. Dick Drago pitched the game's final 2 innings of relief in the loss.

286. Ed Herrmann
287. Bill Melton
288. Rusty Torres
289. Dick Drago
290. Paul Hartzell
291. Steve Dunning

In the second game of the season on April 10, pitcher Paul Hartzell made his major league debut, surrendering 3 runs in a close game in relief of losing pitcher Nolan Ryan. Hartzell would later end up a piece of the Rod Carew deal with the Twins. In the same game, Steve Dunning pitched an inning of relief - acquired from the CWS at the Winter Meetings, he would be sold to the Expos in May.

292. Bobby Bonds

On April 19, offseason big bat acquisition (from the Yankees for Mickey Rivers and Ed Figueroa) Bobby Bonds debuted as an Angel at home, going 3 for 5 with 2 runs scored in a win over the Orioles. It was not his first Angel Plate Appearance, but in his first game as an Angel on May 13, Orlando Alvarez hit a 3-Run HR in the 5th inning as the starting DH. Bob Jones was selected off waivers from Texas on May 17 and was 0 for 3 as the starting Left Fielder on May 20.

293. Orlando Alvarez
294. Bob Jones
T-295. Tommy Davis
T-295. Mario Guerrero

Former Dodger hero Tommy Davis debuted as an Angel on June 2. He hit a bases loaded single in the 8th, driving in 2 runs in a 5-3 victory over the Twins. In the same game, Mario Guerrero ( traded to the Angels on May 29 by the Cardinals), entered game as pinch runner, scored a run, and stayed in at SS. Here is the thing, though - Davis was announed as a Pinch Hitter (for Ron Jackson) and Guerrero replaced Joe Lahoud on the basepaths - these moves are recorded simultaneously - so who debuted first? We have our first tie.

297. Terry Humphrey
298. John Verhoeven
299. Tony Solaita
300. Mike Overy

The Astros traded Terry Humphrey to the Angels on June 6 and he entered the June 18 game as a Pinch Hitter. He struck out and stayed in the game at Catcher. Pitcher John Verhoeven made his major league debut on July 6, pitching 3 and a third, allowing 1 earned run on 3 hits. Tony Solaita - The Samoan Swat - was selected off waivers from KC on July 14 and debuted as an Angel on July 16, going 2-3 with 2 runs scored. The 300th Angel debut occured on August 14 and was it ever forgettable. In his major league debut, pitcher Mike Overy blew a save, surrendering 2 of the 3 runs that scored in the top of the 9th to put the Brewers ahead of the Angels and lead to a 4-3 loss. Overy's major league career was shorter than that sentence. Bummer.

301. Mike Easler
302. Tim Nordbrook
303. Carlos Lopez
304. Gary Wheelock

On September 3, Mike Easler made his Angel debut as the starting DH - he went 0 for 3. Tim Nordbrook was sold to the Angels by the Orioles on September 9. He entered the September 13 game in the 11th inning as a pinch runner and stole a base, but was stranded. Carlos Lopez made his major league debut on September 17, drawing a walk as a pinch hitter. In the next inning of the same game, pitcher Gary Wheelock made his major league debut and gave up 4 earned runs in 1 inning pitched - but it was already a blowout loss to the Twins, so what the hey.

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