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No. 85: Greatest Angels of All-Time: Carney Lansford

A brief three years in Anaheim

California Angels v Baltimore Orioles

Carney Lansford

Time with Angels: 1978-1980

Stats: .280/.326/.412/.738, 42 HR, 211 RBI, 478 H, 264 R, 80 2B, 54 SB, 105 OPS+

Baseball Reference WAR: 7.1

FanGraphs WAR: 5.8

Combined WAR: 6.45

Carney Lansford spent 15 seasons in the big-leagues, with his first three coming in Anaheim.

His career got off to a hot start, as he finished third in American League Rookie of the Year voting in 1978. He played in 121 games during his rookie campaign. Lansford hit .294, finishing the season with 133 hits. He hit eight home runs, drove in 52 runs and even stole 20 bases.

Over his final 34 games that season, Lansford really made his case for being the best rookie in the American League. From August 23 through October 1, he hit .340/.377/.482/.860 with 48 hits. Now granted, it likely wouldn’t have happened, but that was a pace for 229 hits over the course of a full season. Again, it would’ve been tough to keep up that pace, but he was a hitting machine over those final 34 games.

He appeared in 157 games the following season and was an even better hitter. Lansford finished the season with 188 hits, the fourth most in the American League. His 114 runs scored were also the fifth most in the American League. The power also came for him, as he hit 19 home runs, which would be the most he’d ever hit in a season. He also drove in 79 runs, the second most of his career.

Just like the previous season, he’d have a 30+ game stretch where he was one of the best hitters in baseball. Instead of the end of the season, this stretch came right in the heart of it. From May 27 through July 4, Lansford hit .373/.437/.560/.997. He had 56 hits in only 36 games, a full-season pace of 252 hits. Yet again, he was an absolute hitting machine.

1980 would be Lansford’s final season with the Angels. It was also his worst season at the plate while with the club. His slash of .261/.312/.390/.703 were all career-worsts for him at the time. He played in six fewer games than the year prior, but he still finished with 30 fewer hits and four fewer homers. However, he did drive in 80 runs, which would be the most he’d have in a season for his career.

He was traded to the Boston Red Sox in December of 1980.

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