#78 - JOHNNY RAY, 2B
Late in the lost 1987 season, the Angels traded two pitchers who wouldn't amount to anything for a 2B that the Pittsburgh Pirates thought was past his prime. The old (at age 30) guy actually had a season or two left in him and the Angels benefited to the tune of 7.5 Wins Above Replacement in only 1,802 Plate Appearances under the Halo.
Johnny made the All Star team for the Angels in 1988, a season where he batted .306 with a .773 OPS. He had 184 hits that year, still in the Angels single season top 20, and his 42 doubles that year tied the team single season record set by Doug DeCinces in 1982 - it ranks seventh now.
Johnny Ray is tied with Garret Anderson for the third highest batting average (.296) as an Angel for players with at least 1,500 PA. Of course, G.A. had over 8,000 Plate Appearances, hence his ranking much higher on this list. His .724 OPS as an Angel ranks 35th all time in club history... just beneath Adam Kennedy's .732; his OPS+ as an Angel of 104 ranks 35th in club history, and so ranking him 78th greatest Angel seems fair overall. Should he be higher?
But is it really Johnny's fault that he landed in Anaheim after the big wave of Angels baseball had crashed late in 1986? Nobody knew the beach would be dry for sixteen years, then, oh no, most Angels fans thought Johnny was an integral building block to the next division title, the one that seemed to be right around the corner. The one that would make a guy trade Mike Witt for Dave Winfield, that silly feeling, really, as history would reveal. Of course, the guy who made that trade is the same guy (GM Mike Port) who scored big time for the Angels with the acquisition of Johnny Ray. Right player, wrong era.