Current number two, being forced out by former number two, and our number fifteen. - Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE
Taking a look at the 15th greatest Angels acquisition, according to the voters of Halos Heaven!
And so now, we officially view those who HAVE made our list.
We'll kick things off with number fifteen--he who, in the eyes of the voters, contributed enough to be a worthy member of this elected group.
Originally drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the first round of the 1997 amateur draft, this player was part of the then-infamous Jim Edmonds trade on March 23, 2000. While the player he tagged along with, Kent Bottenfield, didn't pan out much as an Angel, this player thrived in Anaheim, spending seven seasons here and even contributing to the nostalgia of the 2002 postseason. Yes folks, your 15th-greatest Angels acquisition is...Adam Kennedy!
ADAM KENNEDY, SECOND BASE
.280/.334/.398, 935 H, 176 2B, 32 3B, 51 HR, 353 RBI, 16.5 WAR (average of 2.4) (7 seasons)
Always showing bright sparks of the player he could always be, Kennedy manned second base for seven seasons before "future batting champion" Howie Kendrick arrived on the scene. A fan favorite, Kennedy's main claim to fame as an Angel came in 2002, when he batted .312--good for 7th in the AL and a career high--and also posted career highs in slugging percentage (.449), OPS+ (110) and WAR (4.4). Although his regular season stats that year were certainly shiny, it was his unexpected postseason performance that made him an Anaheim legend.
To this point, only Babe Ruth, Reggie Jackson and George Brett had ever hit three home runs in a postseason game. Game 5 of the 2002 American League Championship Series, on October 13, 2002, saw another name added to the list. Kennedy, batting ninth for the Angels as usual, blasted three of his own home runs--completely unexpected from a player who'd clubbed only a handful to that point in his career--including his dramatic third home run, a three-run jimmy jack that gave the Angels a 6-5 lead in the seventh inning, at which point they wouldn't look back, plating seven more runs to post a pennant-clinching 13-5 win. He had a chance at a fourth home run that inning, but instead singled to load the bases. Mainly based on that performance, Kennedy won the ALCS MVP, having finished the series batting .357 with a 1.357 OPS.
After the magical 2002 season, Kennedy had four more Angels seasons, none as productive as 2002, although his 2005 season was still a decently productive season by any measure, batting .300 while setting a career high with a .354 OBP. However, a 2006 season that saw him post an OPS+ of 86, coupled with the high-ceiling promise of prospect Howie Kendrick, saw Angels management make the decision to cut Kennedy after seven Halo seasons.
Kennedy went on to post two uninspiring seasons in St. Louis thereafter, before briefly resurging with Oakland in 2009, then tailing off once again with stints in Washington, Seattle and Los Angeles before declaring retirement after this past season, opting to open up his own baseball academy.
In voting, Kennedy received eight votes which totaled 25 points--one for second place, one for seventh, one for eighth, four for ninth, and one for tenth.
We as Angels fans likely remember Kennedy MOSTLY for what he did in that 2002 ALCS, but for the seven seasons he spent as an Angel, there are many things he provided for us, for which we are thankful. I certainly wish the best to AK in his venture with the baseball academy, thank him for the seven seasons he spent in Anaheim, and would particularly love to see him as an Angels coach in the near future (Kennedy as a bench coach, I think, would be great).