#33 - DICK SCHOFIELD, SS
Richard Craig Schofield was the son of John Richard Schofield. They were both major league shortstops known as Dick Schofield. Dick Sr., known as Ducky, won a World Series with the Pirates over the Yankees in 1960 but was primarily a backup shortstop and occasional utility infielder. His son was something of an iron horse.
Selected in the first round of the 1981 draft with the third pick (Tony Gwynne was taken in the third round, 58th overall), he made his major league debut for a month of September baseball with the Halos two years later at age 20. Perpetually batting eighth or ninth, he delivered 0.8 of defensive WAR in his first full season, 1984. He would play in 715 games for the club from 1984 thru 1988, accruing 6.5 dWAR in that time while picking it up offensively to excellent major league levels for an everyday shortstop with a great glove.
Injuries kept Dick from appearing in over a hundred games for two years in row. he played in 91 games in 1989 and 99 in 1990 but he bounced back for 134 games in 1991, albeit with the weakest offensive numbers of his career. The ANgels traded him after one game of the 1992 season. He revisited the club in 1995 as a backup, following in his dad's footsteps and played in 13 games in 1996 with a Halo before retiring.
In an odd coincidence, Schofield's 1,086 games played as an Angel is tied for seventh all time with Gary DiSarcina. Both players had a reputation for being all glove and no bat and defensively, advanced statistics show that in almost exactly the same amount of playing time DiSarcina was 2 WAR better than Schofield in games as an Angel (Dick played career-average seasons in '92-94 with the Mets and Blue Jays). But Schofield was by far the more well-rounded baseball player. He had a stolen base percentage of 75% (76.7%, fifth best ever by an Angel), and almost double the number of SB as DiSar (99 for Dick, 47 for Gary). While DiSarcina's Offensive Wins Above Replacement is not even in the club's all time top 50, Schofield had 12.8 Offensive WAR, 21st best all time for an Angel. Schofield ends up 5.0 WAR better on the all time Angels list than DiSarcina. Dick is in the Top 20 at #19 with his 16.3 Wins Above Replacement.
And of course, no discussion of Schofield is complete without mentioning his August, 1986 Walk Off Grand Slam in the greatest uphill comeback victory in team history, one which coalesced the fan base into believing that it was indeed the Angels year. Not only was this game the biggest comeback in club history, with eight runs scored in the bottom of the ninth inning to win by one run, but of over 100 walk off home runs in Angels history, this is the only game where the walk off home run - a grand slam - came with the team down by three runs. And if that is not enough - it came with two outs.
This game defined the 1986 Angels at the time, indelibly so, we all thought, until a month and a half later a huge playoff defeat stained what was otherwise one of the greatest seasons in Angels baseball. And yet decades later, for those who were there and for those who saw it on television and for those who listened to it on the radio, this was a stunning, magic moment like no other. Compare it to the Scott Spiezio World Series home run... it was about that awesome for the previous generation.
And the fact that it came off the bat of the workmanlike Schofield, not a star, not a power threat, a good glove with a functional bat, made it a little more awesome ...and it made me rank him #32 All Time among Angels players.