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The 100 Greatest Angels: #12 Rod Carew

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#12 Rod Carew, 1B

Career Stats

When it comes to Angels 1Bmen, Wally Joyner has only one rival in Angel lore, and it is not gold-glover Darin Erstad.

First Baseman Rod Carew was an integral piece of the Angels first golden era. One, it could be argued, that Waly Joyner inherited after Carew and company had done the heavy lifting.

When the Angels traded for Carew in February of 1979, it was classic Autry saddlebagging - grab the player, grab the headline, cut the check, sell the tickets. One thing lost in the history of the franchise is the role that pre-cable over-the-air subscription television channel ON-TV played in the team's fortunes. ON-TV broadcast Dodger and Angel home games to its subscribers - at the time this was a radical concept - conventional wisdom asserted that ticket sales suffered from too many telecasts. So ON-TV charged viewers for premium sports games and films just recently departing theaters (this was back when only rich people had VCRs and there were no movies to be rented anyway) and in turn, the Angels and Dodgers grew richer. This revenue stream coincided nicely with the Angels picking up Rod Carew in a trade with the Minnesota Twins for some promising prospects.

By 1986, ON-TV had merged with Selec-TV, was focused much more on the Kings and Lakers as video rental stores were populating the earth, and Rod Carew had retired. But after two division championships and finishing on the high note of a 90-win 1985 campaign that concluded days after his 40th birthday, Rodney Cline Carew knew Cooperstown was his next stop and he made a classy, gracious exit.

While his name among the annual league-leader board lists noticeably falls off coincident with his arrival in Anaheim, the buzz he created among the Angel faithful and the victories to which he contributed - not needing to carry a team alone when Baylor and Reggie were along for the ride - it all makes for a great Angel legacy.

Statistically, Carew was an All-Time Angel leader in some of the bigger categories:
Batting Average: 1st (.314)
On Base %: 1st (.393)
Hits: 8th (968), 9 more than Joyner in 204 fewer Plate Apperances.
With a 6th place Angel Career OPS+ of 119, Carew sits tied with Jim Edmonds and Troy Glaus, and just behind Joyner's 120.

Carew's consistency at the plate and in the field during the ON-TV years built up and solidified the Angels fan base. It is neck and neck with Wally until Carew's one considers the built-in appeal of the veteran All-Star personifying your team. Rod Carew was the gold standard - the Angels could not be questioned with the certainty of excellence his presence on the roster provided.

And then there is the little matter of the voting for the Top 40 being skewed just a bit with yeswecan selecting Carew as his #2 All-time Angel. Quite the compliment! Sorry, Wally, that's democracy.