When Kendry Morales broke his fibula celebrating a walk-off Grand Slam on Saturday, some of us long-time Angels fans bit our tongue. Here is the story I wanted to publish preseason. The Angels jersey #8 is cursed. I did not want to jinx Kendry with this article. Now that this break has occurred, it is imperative that he find another jersey.
You want statistical evidence? First examine the list of players who have worn Jersey #8 for the Angels and read on...
1961 - 1980: The jersey is worn by an Angel in every season save for 1970 and the team accomplishes very little, save for a division title in 1979. Backup infielder Merv Rettenmund, who appeared in only 35 games in 1979, wears jersey #8 in the ALCS that and the Angels lose. So far not much evidence, but curses are always born in small places. Read on...
1981: All-Star Fred Lynn takes jersey #8 in the strike-shortened 1981 season and has the worst year of his career. He promptly ditches it and within a season and half he has been named the ALCS MVP and hits the first ever All Star Game Grand slam.
1982-88: Angel great Bob Boone signs as a free agent after great years as a Phillie. He brings his #8 with him. Boone has an outstanding career as an Angel despite wearing the cursed jersey... but that does not mean the curse is not felt. Bob Boone, wearing jersey #8 is behind the plate calling for the pitch in the 1982 ALCS where the Angels are denied a trip to the World Series being only a few outs away form the fall classic and then to be one STRIKE away from the world series in the 1986 ALCS with two more games to play and to lose, the two greatest meltdowns in club history, let alone baseball history.
1989-1995: Low-impact players of no import pass the cursed 8 amongst themselves. Anyone recall Hubie Brooks?
1996-99: The Angels hype machine is in full gear telling us that Todd Greene is the stud of the future. With the #8 jersey on his back, Greene is a bust for the Angels.
2000: Justin Baughman is a bust
2001, 2002: Jose Nieves is a utility infielder of little to no impact. But it is important to note that when the Angels acquire Alex Ochoa and Sal Fasano for Jorge Fabregas, they DFA Nieves. They go on to win the World Series having unceremoniously dumped jersey #8. This is getting too suspicious.
2003: Jersey #8 returns with Eric Owen. You see how that went...
2004, '05: Another great debacle in the ALCS occurs in 2005 when backup catcher Josh Paul, wearing jersey #8, catches a low strike from Kelvim Escobar. Umpire Doug Eddings is conned by AJ that the ball hit he ground, Josh Paul and jersey #8 never tag him ... still difficult to talk about.
2006: Dallas McPherson switches from jersey #23 to jersey #8. That ended that.
Three consecutive division titles follow without any player wearing the dreaded ocho.
2010: Wearing jersey #8, Kendry says "Ouch!" - in the prior season, Kendry had garnered MVP votes wearing #19.
Is there a solution? Short-term, Kendry needs to don another jersey #. Long-term, the obvious solution here is for the Angels to retire #8 in honor of Angels great Bob Boone, who should be a hall of famer anyway. This is a win-win situation.
Why is the #8 cursed: Angels are infinite beings and it insults the natural order of the cosmos to stand the number infinity upright and assign it to one Angel. If that isn't valid analysis of the numbers, send your complaint to the astral plane.