#82 - BUCK RODGERS - C
The day in and day out backstop for almost an entire decade, Buck Rodgers was a touchstone of order and reliability in a decade fraught with division and transformation. He was drafted as a minor leaguer in December of 1960 in the AL expansion draft from the Detroit Tigers, made his major league debut ten months later with the Angels in their first season of 1961 and played his last game as a professional baseball player with the Angels on October 1, 1969.
Here is the stretch of time that encompassed: He went to his first spring training the month the Beatles started playing regularly at Liverpool's Cavern Club and took his final trip to the plate on the day they released Abbey Road in the United States. Eisenhower was President the day the Angels chose him in the expansion draft and Nixon was in his first term the day he finished.
In that time Buck Rodgers played in 932 games, starting 815 of them at Catcher. He played one inning in Left Field in 1967 and that was the only blemish on his record - he was the Catcher or pinch hitter and that was all he was. After 44 seasons since his last game have passed, he still ranks in the top ten of three Angels franchise categories:
His 27 Sacrifice Flies ranks 10th all time in club history
Hist 45 Intentional Walks ranks 6th all time in the Angels ranks
His 6.7 Defensive Wins Above Replacement rank 9th all time among Halo players.
He is one of 22 Angels players with more than 3,000 Plate Appearances for the team... but that is where the ranking of #82 starts to become apparent. Other than his defensive wizardry behind the plate for a decade, Buck Rodgers was a big hole in the Angels lineup.
Rodgers scored 259 Runs as an Angel... that is 13 more runs than Mike Napoli scored as a Halo, but Napoli had a little more than half the number of PA that Rodgers did.
Buck hit 114 doubles - Scott Spiezio hit 110 in 1,300 fewer PA.
To sum it up best, consider this: of his 704 hits as an Angel, 541 were singles. That is not good.
Of course, being on the receiving end of Dean Chance's Cy Young season makes up for some of that. But it doesn't make up for all of it. Rodgers had a good glove and was a veteran of the club. The Top 100 list is players-only but he did manage the club in the early 1990s, helping with his status among the fans, but there were a few catchers here for a shorter period of time who had more positive impact on the club. But Bob "Buck" Rodgers has his place in Halo hearts for being our Rock of Gibraltar while the rest of the world turned upside down.