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The 100 Greatest Angels - #71, Sandy Alomar

#71 - Sandy Alomar, - IF

Career Stats

By playing 795 games, Sandy ranks 18th all time in Angels taking the field. His 148 singles in 1971 is 3rd most single season in franchise history, with his 47 in 1970 holding 4th place. He played (primarily at 2B, but also at 3rd and Short) almost every game possible in his five seasons as an Angel and his 689 at-bats in 1971 is a single season team record.

Rob McMillin of the 6-4-2 L.A. Baseball Blog gives us the whole picture...

Like a lot of names on the Rev's list to date, Sandy Alomar wasn't a career Angel, but he did spend most of five seasons with California in the late 60's and early 70's. A switch-hitting second baseman who came up with then-AL Milwaukee, he broke the AL record for at bats by a switch hitter (since broken). He also led the league in errors by a second baseman in 1968 and 1969, but it was an instance of Bill James' famous observation that better fielders often have worse error rates.

After stints with Atlanta, the Mets, and the Chisox, Alomar became an Angel following a May 14, 1969 trade with the White Sox, which sent Bobby Knoop to Chicago. Knoop was "disappointed" and "shocked" to find he was traded from the only team he had known, but the club needed a leadoff hitter, and they thought they'd found one in Alomar. "If we're going to do it with singles, then we might as well do it with speed, too," Bill Rigney said. Angels coach Rocky Bridges, who had managed Alomar in Puerto Rico, was even more direct: "Sandy can run. He'll create excitement. The fans will be looking for him to go every time he's on first. He has the flair of a Lou Johnson. His edge is that he is 10 years younger." Sure enough, the next year he was an All Star for the Angels who had stolen 35 bases. He also appeared in 162 games, a feat he would repeat in 1971 while swiping another 39 bases, leading the league with 689 at bats.

After a disappointing 1972 season, manager Bobby Winkles called out Alomar in 1973 spring training for reporting to camp "out of shape" and for his "nonchalance". It came as a surprise to Alomar, who nonetheless needed more rest than he did even two years prior, partly because he continued to play winter ball in Puerto Rico. He then started a decline both in games played and offensive numbers that continued into 1974, a year that would see Winkles ejected from the club in favor of Dick Williams. The Angels sent him to the Yankees just after the All Star break, for whom he played three very mediocre years, and from there went to Texas. After he finished his playing career, he became a manager in Puerto Rico, and coach for the Padres, the team that signed both of his sons, Roberto and Sandy, Jr., both of whom went on to have fine careers of their own.