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Leon Wagner - Top 100 Angels #36

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LA Angels Outfielder Leon Wagner
LA Angels Outfielder Leon Wagner
TOPPS

#36 - LEON WAGNER, OF

The 1961 season saw the Angels make their first trade less than 48 hours after their first official game - they traded Lou Johnson to the International League's Toronto team for outfielder Leon Wagner.

It was a genius move. Wagner would play in 442 of the team's 486 games in their first three seasons. He played almost exclusively in Left Field and did so quite poorly. He had (negative) -4.3 Defensive Wins Above Replacement in the field for the Halos over three seasons. But his bat made up for it. He gave the expansion Angels 8.7 Offensive WAR and many of his marks still rank in the club's top ten.

His .490 Slugging Percentage ranks 6th best in club history and no player bested it for thirty years. His .831 OPS (On Base % Plus Slugging %) is tied with Mike Napoli for 5th best in Angels history. His 37 Home Runs hit in 1962 was the club's single season mark for fifteen years until Bobby Bonds tied it in 1977 and lasted until Reggie Jackson broke it twenty years later. And he hit them playing home games in Dodger Stadium in the depths of the deadball-era 1960s.

Leon's 124 OPS+ is tied with Bobby Grich for 5th best in Angels history and his 17.7 AB per HR is 17.7, third best, just behind Napoli. In fact Napoli had 1,804 Plate Appearances as an Angel and Wagner 1,801. Both were traded after becoming unpopular with the club's brain trust, too. Leon went to the Cleveland Indians before the 1964 season and had some good years - including his statistically best one in 1965, but his mark on the young Angels, whom he represented twice in the All Star Game still holds deep.