The Top Ten highlights of Joe Saunders on the Angels...
- April 20, 2007: Hokie Joe Pitches for Virginia Tech ... after a lone gunman shocks the nation murdering dozens of people on the Virginia Tech campus, Joe Saunders, a Virginia Tech Alum takes the mound at Angels stadium wearing the distinctive purple and orange "VT" cap of the Virginia Tech Hokies baseball team. He guts out a victory over the Orioles.
- May 9, 2009: Saundo Defeats Greinke ... Facing Zach Greinke -at the time the best pitcher in the game - Saunders pitches a complete game shutout in front of the hometown crowd. His .776 Win Probability Added that night remains as his career mark.
- April 6, 2009: Opening Day Start ... With Jered Weaver shelved for the week, Joe Saunders is handed the honor of opening the season for the Angels and he earns the W in a 3-0 triumph.
- July 15, 2008: All Star Game Appearance ... Joe is one of three Angels pitchers named to the American League All Star team and pitches the top of the 3rd inning at New York's American League park, allowing one hit.
- April 9, 2009: The Press Conference ... A few hours after learning of teammate Nick Adenhart's death, Joe and Dustin Moseley meet the media to talk about Nick and the sadness of losing him. Saunders is emotional yet composed, helping Angels fans and all of baseball through the mourning and healing process.
- September 28, 2008: Joe's W is Angels 100th of '08 ... Joe's career high high 9 strikeouts in only 6 IP caps the final game of a great season.
- April 2 - May 4, 2008: Joe goes 5-0 in April and 6-0 to start the season ... Joe makes his mark in the Angels record books with wins in April. Two of the three games in his 115 game Angels career (all starts) with a Win Probability Added over 50% occur in this stretch: April 2 in Minnesota against the Twins is a .611 WPA in 8 IP of a 1-0 win. April 29 is a 5-0 shutout of Oakland at home with Joe accruing a .507 WPA for the game.
- October 17, 2009: ALCS Quality Start ... if the Angels bats had shown up or the bullpen had not blown it in extras, this might be a little higher up the list, but in Game 2 of the '09 ALCS Joe threw 7 IP allowing only 2R on a chilly night when his rising to the occasion was most needed.
- July 25, 2010: The Tearful Goodbye ... as captured by the LA Angels Insider blog, Colonel Saunders was ready to start 115 more games as an Angel and held back tears in saying goodbye.
- August 16, 2005: A Good Debut ... Joe made his major league debut in the middle of a pennant race at home against the Blue Jays. In 7.1 IP he allowed only 2 ER. Frankie blew the save and took the loss that night, denying Joe a W, but getting rid of the butterflies early.
WHERE JOE SAUNDERS RANKS IN ANGELS HISTORY:
Joe was on the starting staff of three divisional winners, appeared in two games for another divisional winner and we will see what happens with this season. He was an All Star, an opening day starter and started three playoff games for the Angels. He was the team's first round draft pick in June of 2002.
- 54 Wins - 15th all time (tied with Jim Abbott and George Brunet)
- .628 Win % - 2nd All Time (rate stats require 500 IP or 50 decisions)
- 2.9 BB/9 - 16th all time (below Kelvim Escobar and just above Mike Witt)
- 115 Games Started - 21st all time
- 2,950 Batters Faced - 21st all time
- 104 ERA+ - Ranks 21st - Kirk McCaskill (1,221 IP) and Ken Forsch (633+ IP) also recorded ERA+ of 104
Here at Halos Heaven we called him Colonel Saunders, The Colonel and Hokie Joe.