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Mike Witt - Top 100 Angels #22

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...at times he was perfect...

Witt... and that's it!
Witt... and that's it!
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#22 - MIKE WITT, P

He made his major league debut three months before his 21st birthday less than three years after being drafted. Michael Atwater Witt was a hometown boy selected in the fourth round of the 1978 draft out of Servite high school. He started 21 games in the strike-shortened 1981 season and was a rotation fixture in Anaheim for a decade.

His claim to fame is his perfect game, thrown in Arlington against the Rangers on the last day of the 1984 season. But he is also the only player in baseball history to throw a perfect game and also be involved in a combined no hitter. In April of 1990 Mike Witt, converted to a reliever after three below average seasons, relieved Mark Langston after the new ace on the block had pitched seven no-hit innings. Witt got the final six outs without allowing a hit and celebrated one last time in front of the home town faithful. He would be traded to the Yankees a few weeks later for future Hall of Famer Dave Winfield.

Besides these spectacular benchmarks, Witt had a three-season run as one of the best pitchers in baseball - He accrued over 14 Wins Above Replacement in 1984, 85 and 86. He was the undisputed ace of the 1986 Western Division staff with an ERA of 2.84 in 269 Innings, with an ERA+ of 144 (Twelfth best single season by an Angels arm) and 6.2 WAR (15th best ever by an Angels pitcher in one year). He won Game 1 of the ALCS against Boston, handily beating Roger Clemens (who would every award for his amazing season). In Game 5 manager Gene Mauch took Witt out of the game in the ninth inning with the lead and the sky fell.

The Angels re-signed Witt to a big free agent contract before the 1987 season but he was never the same and pitched below league average into the fourth season of the contract. He ended up pitching the third most innings of any Angels pitcher ever (1,965 IP) and ranks third in team history with 1,283 strikeouts. He threw 70 complete games (third most by an Halo starter) in the regular season but Angels fans will always wonder what might have been had he been allowed to attempt a Complete Game on October 12, 1986.