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No. 77: Greatest Angels of All-Time: Bengie Molina

One of the best catchers in franchise history

ALDS: New York Yankees v Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim - Game 5 Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

Bengie Molina

Time with Angels: 1998-2005

Stats: .273/.309/.397/.705, 65 HR, 392 RBI, 678 H, 250 R, 716 G, 985 TB, 84 OPS+

Baseball Reference WAR: 7.4

FanGraphs WAR: 6.5

Combined WAR: 6.85

On May 23, 1993, the California Angels signed Bengie Molina as an amateur free agent. Molina was the primary catcher for the Angels for the first eight seasons of his major-league career. His career didn’t really get going until 2000. Through his first two seasons with the Angels, Molina appeared in only 33 games. He didn’t impress much, either, as he hit .255 with an OPS of .642.

When he finally got a full-time shot, he took advantage of it. During his official rookie campaign, Molina hit .281/.318/.421/.739 with 14 homers and 71 RBI. He did all this while missing more than 30 games, too. Molina finished fourth in American League Rookie of the Year voting.

He struggled with the bat over the next two years, hitting only .254 with 11 home runs over the course of 218 games. In addition to winning the World Series with the Angels in 2002, it was the first of two years in which Molina was named a Gold Glove winner. He’d win his second Gold Glove the following year in 2003.

2003 was when his bat really began to heat up, and it remained that way over his final three seasons in Anaheim. Through the end of the 2005 season, Molina hit .285/.318/.433/.750. Although his production was the best it ever was during his Angels tenure, injuries cost him a significant amount of games. Molina played in only 69 percent of possible games, playing an average of 111 games a season.

He became a free-agent following the 2005 season.

Here’s where Bengie Molina ranks among catchers in Angels history:

  • 716 games (3rd)
  • 65 home runs (2nd)
  • 362 RBI (1st)
  • 678 hits (3rd)
  • 250 runs (3rd)
  • 108 doubles (3rd)
  • .705 OPS (5th)

Get caught up on the rest of the “All-Time Angels” lists!