Former Angels slugger Don Mincher, the first Angels player to ever wear Jersey #5 for the team, passed away at home in Huntsville, Alabama after a long illness. He was ranked #76 All Time Angel after the 2008 season.
Mincher's 1967 season was one of the great offensive seasons ever by an Angel. Although he only hit 25 HRs and batted .273, that was the 5th most HRs and the 10th best batting average in the American league that year - the summer of love was the peak of the deadball era. He was an All-Star in front of the hometown crowd of Anaheim that year.
Advanced statistical breakthroughs have been kind to Mincher and his OPS+ (a stat that levels production across different eras) of 156 in 1967 ranks 5th best in franchise history for a single season, just behind Vladimir Guerrero's MVP 2004 campaign OPS+ of 157. His 3.8 Adjusted Batting Wins ties Doug DeCinces' 1982 season for 7th best single season in franchise history. His 1967 WPA (Win Probability Added) of 4.6 ranks 5th single season in franchise history, tied with Vlad's 2005 mark.
The oft-traded Mincher was a unique player in the expansion era. He played for the Senators/Twins - debuting for the Washington Senators in 1960, their final season before becoming the Minnesota Twins. He was traded to the second, expansion Washington Senators and played for them in their final season in DC and played for them when they became the Texas Rangers. He was a member of the expansion Seattle Pilots, and was traded by them after they became the Milwaukee brewers but before he had ever played for them.
In December of 1966, the Angels sold high on Dean Chance, trading him and a prospect to the Twins for Mincher and two other major leaguers. After two years on the Angels, he was left unprotected in the expansion draft and was taken by the Pilots prior to their 1969 season.
He leaves behind his wife, three children, six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Mincher played in 267 games as an Angel with 1,020 Plate Appearances. He played 255 games at 1B and passed away the day before the Angels debuted their new first baseman Albert Pujols, who like Mincher, mans 1B wearing Jersey #5. Your number's in good hands, Don. Godspeed.