#54 RICH REICHARDT, OF
We ranked Rick #62 in our Top 100 Angels posted after the 2005 season (LINK) and #51 all time in our countdown posted after the 2008 season. We ranked him #38 in our BOOK (AMAZON LINK) Top 50 Angels - The 50 Greatest Angels From the First 50 Seasons, published after the 2010 season.
The reason there is a major league draft is because of stud prospects like Rick Reichardt. Imagine open season on every high school and college ball player. That is how it once was. A bidding war broke out for Reichardt. He had played in the Rose Bowl for the University of Wisconsin in 1963. The Yankees offered him a quarter-million dollars. The Angels offered him less, $225K to be exact ($3.1 Million in today's money), but he signed with them as he saw the likelihood of making the bigs quicker with the young expansion team.
Money outlays like this inspired the lords of baseball to organize the amateur draft almost exactly as it exists today.
He signed on June 24, 1964 and made his major league debut with the team on September 1 of that year. He had cups of coffee in 64 and 65 and a longer stretch in 1966 but stuck with the club for good in 1967. He was the starting Left Fielder in 411 games in 1967, 68 and 69. While America was in turmoil, Left Field in Anaheim was stable. Advanced stats developed decades after his retirement show him to be one of the American League's top left fielders by a variety of measurements. His RangeFactor/9 led the AL in 1967 and his 6 Total Zone Runs in 1968 were second in the league. WAR is not as generous, rating him just below defensive replacement throughout his years as an Angel.
His best season as an Angels as 1968 where his 21 HR and 20 Doubles were impressive in the depths of the deadball era. His .749 On Base Percentage + Slugging translated into an OPS+ of 131. His 4.7 WAR that year is still one of the single season fifty best performances in club history.
Reichardt was traded to the Washington Senators early in the 1970 season for infielder Ken McMullen. He finished his Angels career with 10.9 Wins Above Replacement (30th best by a position player in club history) in 2,192 Plate Appearances. His 68 HR as an Angel ranks 25th in club history. His OPS+ of 118 as a Halo is tied with Don Baylor for fifteenth best by an Angel all time.