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Angel Debuts - 1968

Helter Skelter

When the start of your team's afternoon game on Opening Day is delayed due to Martin Luther King Junior's funeral... perhaps it is an omen of the lousiness that is to come.

142. Chuck Hinton
143. Tom Burgmeier
144. Sammy Ellis
145. Bob Heffner
146. Marty Pattin
147. Bobby Trevino
148. Tom Murphy

The big offseason trade was kind of mild - Jose Cardenal sent to Cleveland for Chuck Hinton. The new right fielder went 1 for 4, one of only 4 Angel hits on the day, a 1-0 shutout in the Bronx. Tom Burgmeier made his major league debut in the opener as well with a scoreless inning of relief. Right Hander Sammy Ellis started the 5th game of the season on April 15 in Washingotn DC. He got shelled in 4 and two-thirds innings.

Reliever Bob Heffner had not pitched in the bigs since his appearance in 5 games in September of 1966. In his first appearance as an Angel on May 2, he allowed a run to score without getting any outs and was relieved. His ERA that day: Infinity. His stats got better, a little better, but he only appeared in 7 games as an Angel to complete a parts-of-five-seasons big league career.

May 14 saw the major league debut of promising rookie Right Hander Marty Pattin threw 84 innings in 52 games with a 2.79 ERA but was drafted by the expansion Seattle Pilots after the 1968 campaign, eventually ending up as part of the late-1970s Royals mini-dynasty. Backup outfielder Bobby Trevino entered his first bog league game wearing a halo on May 22. He batted .225 in 17 major league contests. His contract had been purchased from the Mexico City Reds by the Angels. The Angels' first Tom Murphy was a first round pick in the 1967 draft out of Ohio University. The Right Hander started the first game of a doubleheader in Fenway Park on June 13, throwing 6 innings of 2 run ball, and striking out 7.

Realist - Angel # - Purist
Vic Davalillo - 149 - Bill Harrelson
Larry Sherry - 150 - Andy Messersmith
Andy Messersmith - 151 - Vic Davalillo
Wayne Causey - 152 - Larry Sherry
Bill Harrelson - 153 - Wayne Causey

Vic Davalillo was traded from Cleveland for Jimmie Hall on June 15, well, wait a minute, the stat sites have him playing for the Angels on June 13 in Boston - wait, he was playing on June 13 in Cleveland too. Huh? Hmmm, he played as a defensive substitute in the 9th inning of the 2nd game of a doubleheader in Boston for the Angels, whereas earlier in the day he had played in Cleveland. Is it possible that he got traded after the Cleveland game and flew to Boston, arriving late into a doubleheader only to be needed to appear in the game by his new team? Perhaps I had discovered an instance of a player playing for two teams in one day. Well, nope, I had discovered that the 2nd game of the June 13 doubleheader in Boston had been suspended (rain? Darkness? It does not say). Play was resumed on August 4. By then Davallillo had long been ensconced as the Angels' centerfielder.

For baseball purists, the boxscore's original date stands (as was the notion earlier this season that A-Rod's 299th homer might become his 300th when a suspended game was resumed later in the season - Had A-Rod homered in the innings comprising the resumed game, the homer would have been credited to the earlier date, therefore making each subsequent homer one place higher on his career tally. Rodriguez was thankfully homerless in those few innings comprising the finishing up of the suspended game, damning the purists). For you purists, then, Davalillo debuted on June 13 in the bottom of the 9th inning in Boston as a defensive replacement with the bases loaded and none out. From the outfield, he saw one pitch - it was hit for a grand slam and the ballgame was over. Since that finishing up of the June 13th contest took place on August 4th, though, the real Davalillo debut occurred on Sunday, June 16 in Anaheim where Vic D struck out as a pinch hitter for Clyde Wright in the 8th inning.

The veteran Larry Sherry signed as a free agent on July 1, debuted on July 2nd and pitched in relief in 3 games before retiring. Too bad he didn't stick around until August 4th so he could have made his Angel mark by screwing this whole thing up even more!

One of the all-time impact players on and off the field, Andy Messersmith debuted on July 4 or June 13. He surrendered a grand slam to the one batter he faced in the bottom of the 9th in Fenway park on August 4th to complete a game that had begun on June 13, IF you are a purist. In reality he made his major league debut on the 4th of July in Tiger Stadium as the 5th pitcher to appear in the bottom of the 2nd inning, Detroit having scored 9 runs off of the starting pitcher and three relievers. Messersmith induced a pop fly to strand 2 runners and pitched 5 more innings of the game.

Infielder Wayne Causey was traded by the ChiSox for Woodie Held and debuted for the Angels on July 21. He was sold to the Braves 9 days later. He was 0 for his Angel 11 but played a flawless 2nd Base. That makes two players who signed with the team and left before the June 13 suspended game could be made up on August 4.

On July 31, Bill Harrelson pitched a complete game that was a 1-1 tie until he surrendered 3 runs in the 8th (walk, single, HR). For you purists, though, he made his debut in that June 13 game (in reality it was August 4th, his 2nd major league appearance), throwing 2 innings of shutout relief in a 1-1 tie, but in the 9th inning he walked 3 and was removed from the game. 1968 was his only season in the majors.

154. Dennis Bennett
155. Chuck Cottier
156. Winston Llenas
157. Jim Spencer

Lefty Dennis Bennett had been purchased from the Cubs midseason and made his Angel debut on August 3, starting the second game of a doublehehader. He surrendered three earned runs and got the loss. Backup Third Baseman Chuck Cottier debuted on August 7 and would go on to bat.194 in 33 games that season.

24-year old utilityman Winston Llenas had been in the Angels' system since 1962 and made his debut on August 15. He doubled and scored in his first Major League at-bat and would go on to appear in 300 games as an Angel thru the 1975 season. On September 7, Jim Spencer, our 1965 first round pick (11th overall) finally made it to the show, and would play parts in 7 seasons as a First Baseman. Fifth outfielder Jarvis Tatum made the first of 10 appearances in the major leagues on September 7. He would eventually be part of the deal that brought Tony Conigliaro to Anaheim.

158. Jarvis Tatum
159. Steve Kealey

On September 9, the final debut of the year occurred when Steve Kealey gave up a run in 2 innings as a middle reliever at home in front of 10,299 fans. Across the Atlantic on the very same night, the Beatles recorded Helter Skelter.