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Angel Debuts - 1977

Jeopardy Contestant: I will take "Impactful 8-Day periods in Angels Franchise History" for $500, Alex.
Alex Trebek: The answer is, "Gene Autry opened up the saddlebags and signed free agents Don Baylor, Joe Rudi and Bobby Grich."
Jeopardy Contestant: What is November 16-24, 1976?
Alex Trebek: Correct!

The 1977 season opened with a rosterful of changes. The expansion draft saw the Seattle Mariners draft Gary Wheelock, Dave Collins, Carlos Lopez and Leroy Stanton from the Angels on November 5. Gene Autry made his move into free agency with a bang ten days later.

305. Bobby Grich
306. Don Baylor
307. Wayne Simpson
308. Joe Rudi

Opening Day saw the first major league game ever played by the Seattle Mariners franchise on the evening of April 6 at the Kingdome. In the top of the first inning, Bobby Grich struck out with a man on board, but with two outs, DH Don Baylor doubled to right and plated the Jerry Remy, the first run allowed in Mariner history. Baylor also had two walks and scored a run. On April 9, pitcher Wayne Simpson allowed 3 ER in less than 4 innings to ex-Angel Wheelock and the Mariners, at 2-2, were at .500 for the first time in franchise history. Free Agent blockbuster Joe Rudi was well enough to debut on April 11 as the starting Angel Left Fielder in Oakland and hit a sac fly in the 1st inning for his first Angel RBI.

309. Mike Cuellar
310. Gil Flores
311. Willie Aikens

Veteran hurler Mike Cuellar had an era of infinity when he gave up a run without getting an out in a blown save in his Angel debut on April 26, the 2nd to last appearance of his illustrious major league career. Gil Flores was the starting Angel Center Fielder on May 8 and went 3 for 4 in his major league debut. Just a week before Star Wars debuted in theaters and the Sex Pistols released their God Save The Queen single, Willie Aikens appeared in his first major league game on May 17. Wearing a halo, he had a hit and a stolen base.

312. Dyar Miller
313. Ken Brett
314. Gary Nolan
315. Rance Mulliniks

On June 13, pitcher Dyar Miller was traded by Baltimore to the Angels for Dick Drago He debuted on June 14 and got the win simply by relieving starter Paul Hartzell with the score 9-8 in the FOURTH inning. When pitcher Ken Brett arrived after his June 15 trade to the Angels from the White Sox, he started on June 17, pitched 6 and a third and would have gotten the win - but the reliever blew the save! It was Dyar Miller, who got yet another W when the Angels broke the tie the following half-inning to seal the victory. On June 18 in Milwaukee, Gary Nolan (who had been acquired from the Reds on June 15), was the losing pitcher in his Angel debut as a starter. In that same game Rance Mulliniks made his major league debut, pinch hitting into a groundout in the 7th inning.

316. Tom Walker
317. Mike Barlow
318. Thad Bosley
319. Fred Kuhaulua

On June 23, Tom Walker appeared in his one and only game as an Angel, allowing 2 runs in 2 innings. It was his final game as a major leaguer. On June 27, Mike Barlow faced 7 batters and gave up 2 Earned Runs. Starting in Center Field on June 29, Thad Bosley went 2 for 4 with 3 RBI in his Angel debut. Pitcher Fred Kuhaulua made his major league debut on August 2 versus the Yankees. In 2.3 IP he allowed 3 earned runs.

320. Dave Kingman
321. Balor Moore
322. John Caneira
323. Ken Landreaux
324. Carlos May

Slugger Dave Kingman debuted as an Angel on September 7, his 3rd teams in 1977. But it would not be his last, as he played only 10 games with the Angels before being traded to the Yankees. Pitcher Balor Moore debuted as an Angel on September 9 with 1 inning of scoreless relief. On September 10, John Caneira made his major league debut against the White Sox, tossing 7 innings of 1 run ball for the win. This was also the game where White Sox starter Wilbur Wood tied the major league record for hit batters in an inning with 3 (Kingman, Chalk, Baylor). In the first game of a Sunday, September 11 doubleheader, Ken Landreaux struck out 3 times as the starting Center Fielder. Carlos May (purchased from the Yankees on Sep 16) debuted with a pinch hit single in the 8th inning of the September 18 contest at Comiskey in Chicago.

Despite all of the big moves, the Angels finished at 74-88, 28 games behind the Kansas City Royals, but 10 games ahead of the Mariners and Athletics.