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Ken Forsch - Top 100 Angels #73

Right Man, Wrong Seasons.


The Angels traded infielder Dickie Thon to the pitching rich Houston Astros for veteran pitcher Ken Forsch right as spring training was ending and the 1981 season was about to start. Forsch didn't pitch in any shock - he put up an ERA below 3 and posted a 126 ERA+ - amazing numbers, but 1981 was the baseball player's strike-shortened season and a lost year for Angels baseball that saw the terrible front office of Buzzie Bavasi fire manager Jim Fregosi over a situation in which Bavasi was to blame.

But the trade for Forsch was not one of those things. He was a decent number three starter behind Mike Witt and Geoff Zahn on the division winning 1982 Angels and was league average, like so much else in Anaheim during the lackluster 1983 campaign at age 36.

Forsch made his mark on the Angels record book, though. For pitchers who threw more than 600 Innings for the Angels, he has the lowest BB per 9 IP of anyone at 2.244. His 1.588 BB/9 in 1981 ranks fourth all time in Angels team history. That is the kind of pitcher he was - pitching to contact. It is no coincidence he averaged a hit per inning pitched.

His 8 WAR ranks 24th among Angels pitchers all time and his 3.81 ERA on the mound for the Halos is tied with John Lackey and Ken McBride for 22nd best in club history. His .529 Winning% is tied with Dean Chance for 19th best by a Halo arm. His WHIP of 1.247 ranks 9th all time among Angels pitchers with at least 600 IP for the club.

If he had an undoing it was a complete lack of strikeouts. For Angels pitcher with more than 500 IP he ranks 35th out of 38 qualifying arms with 3.295 K/9 but he made up for it with control that allowed him to pitch 34 complete games as an Angel (including 12 in 1982) and 9 shutouts!

It was a New Wave era of Angels baseball where the entertainment dollar competed with the Star Wars sequels for the family entertainment dollar but for the Angels, despite some challenging years, the Forsch was with them!