#37 - REGGIE JACKSON, OF
Imagine if there was a player as controversial as Barry Bonds but with the fame of Derek Jeter. He would be the biggest media presence on the sports landscape. Imagine that of course he is a Yankee and he wins with them. And then imagine he signs with the Angels.
Something like this really happened. On January 22, 1982 Reginald Martinez Jackson signed with the Angels as a free agent and the media circus came to Anaheim that very day. The ticket sales paid for his contract within a week of the signing. The Angels drew more fans in each of his five seasons (1982-86) with the team than they ever had. Those marks were not broken, in fact, until the 2003 season. The Angels had to win a World Championship to outdraw Reggie.
Regggie came through right away, leading the American League with 39 home runs in his first season. At the time it was the club record for homers in a season and still ranks third most for an Angels batter. Reggie would hit 123 bombs, good for tenth on the all time club list.
Reggie made a mark with his bat, but his glove was getting worse - which is saying something for a career of a player who had NEGATIVE 17.4 Defensive Wins Above Replacement. that is historically bad but while he was hitting those dingers in 1982 and putting up 5.0 Offensive WAR he choked in the field to the tune of Negative -2.4 WAR. Of course with his legendary ego, DH was seen as a demotion and he stayed in the field for too many games. He did not appear in the field during the 1986 season but that slow progression to the painfully obvious cost the Angels as well as adversely affected what the man did while in Anaheim.
Reggie powered the 1982 division winning Angels and was the DH for the 1986 squad. He put the team in the limelight like no other single player before or since. His .343 On Base Percentage in 2,700+ Plate Appearances ranks in the team's top 20, as does his .440 Slugging and.783 OPS. What he lacked as a complete player, he made up for as a complete star and the Angels were a better organization forevermore because of it.