#11 JOHN LACKEY - STARTING PITCHER (2002-Present)
The numbers compiled by John Lackey (thru the completion of the 2008 campaign) match up well to those of Angel great Frank Tanana's. While Tanana's 1600+ Innings pitched as an Angel is about 300 more IP than John's, Tanana was throwing the era of the Complete Game. Meanwhile, Lackey's numbers have to be construed as having been brushing up at least part of the Big Steroid Era (leaving John with a 3.81 ERA compared to Frank's 3.08 ERA).
Tanana and Lackey are within 10 Wins of each other, ranking 4th and 5th (Lackey with 91, Frank with 102). Lackey's W-L % of .591 is the franchise standard, but shouldn't mike Scioscia get some ofthe credit. Meanwhile a struggling Angels team gave Frank a .567 mark, good for 5th place. Lackey's K/9 is 7th place all time, ahead of Tanana's 10th place rate. Lackey is one of 6 Angel pitchers with over 1,000 strikeouts and is less than 200 away from Frank's hold on 4th place.
But we will never know how Frank Tanana would have performed as the starting pitcher in Game 7 of the World Series a few weeks shy of his 24th birthday. He would have been great no doubt, but we do know that one of the ten guttiest performances by an Angel ever assured the once-cursed franchise on the banks of the 57 Freeway would finally get a ring.
And that is why John Lackey ranks ahead of Frank Tanana on the countdown of the Top 100 Angels, illustrating that poignant aphorism: The saddest truth that can be spoken is that many are called but few are chosen.