#96 - George Brunet, LHP, almost exclusively a starter
George played for the Angels from 1964 until he was sold to the expansion Pilots in the middle of the 1969 season. He racked up some impressive accomplishments in that time. His 2.56 ERA in 1965 ranks 7th all time. His Angel ERA of 3.13 ranks 6th in franchise history. He is 4th all time in lowest WHIP, 1,202 per 9 innings and tied with Chuck Finley for 4th in shutouts as an Angel with 14, 5 of which came in one season, 1968.
So with all of these stratospheric placements in the Halo recordbook, why isn't he ranked higher than #96? Might be a few of his other records as an Angel, such as losing 19 games and 17 games in 1967 and '68 respectively. Losing 69 games in 5 and a half seasons took a little bit of the glow off his accomplishments as well. Sadly, Brunet died in 1991 at age 56 coaching baseball in Mexico.
Here is a Surreal Interview with Brunet's Left Arm in Heaven. Who says baseball geeks don't smoke crack?
Crack-Free Rob McMillin fills in the cracks:
Brunet hadn't done much of anything for any of the previous four teams he'd pitched with, but the Angels must have seen something they liked. His first outing, a five-inning appearance where he gave up three runs, the Angels beat the Tigers 4-3 anyway. But he settled down, and by season's end, had picked up three quality starts (in six total) and lowered his ERA to 3.61. Better was yet to come: in 1965, he had a 2.65 ERA on the season, and turned into one of the Angels' most reliable starters in 1967 and 1968, logging 212, 250, and 245.1 innings from 1966 through 1968. Thanks to poor run support, he ended up with losing records in those seasons.
One of his best games, ironically but typically for the Angels of that era, was a 5-3 defeat by Minnesota on September 24, 1968 following a 10-strikeout, seven-inning performance that preceded a bullpen collapse. He had numerous complete game two-hitters (five), and four complete game three-hitters with California. His Angels career came to an end with a trade to the one-year Seattle Pilots following a poor showing in 1969, including a dreadful game against Oakland in which he gave up a grand slam to Rick Monday. He would be out of the major leagues two years later.