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No. 74: Greatest Angels of All-Time: Don Baylor

He won MVP in 1979

MLB Photos Archive Photo by Rich Pilling/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Don Baylor

Time with Angels: 1977-1982

Stats: .262/.337/.448/.785, 141 HR, 523 RBI, 813 H, 481 R, 824 G, 1,390 TB, 118 OPS+

Baseball Reference WAR: 6.2

FanGraphs WAR: 7.8

Combined WAR: 7.0

Don Baylor spent six seasons of his 19-year big-league career with the Angels. During his tenure, Baylor was an All-Star and won the 1979 American League Most Valuable Player award.

He was solid during his first two seasons in Anaheim. Baylor played in nearly every game, as he missed only 12 games during his first two years. Overall, he hit .253 with an OPS of just under .800. He totaled 59 homers with 174 RBI. In addition, he added 48 stolen bases and nearly had 300 total hits.

Baylor finished seventh in MVP voting after the 1978 season. He had more than 150 hits, scored more than 100 runs and hit 34 home runs, which at the time was a career-high for him. For good measure, because this is an awesome stat, he led all of baseball with 18 hit-by-pitches, and had the most sacrifice flies in the American League with 12. Hey, he truly did it all!

1979 was the best year of his career, as he took home the A.L. MVP. Baylor hit a career-high 36 home runs, and pretty much had career-highs all across the board. He scored 120 runs, which led all of baseball. Baylor also drove in 139 runs, leading all of baseball.

Baylor was named the American League Player of the Month in May and July that season. For the month of May, he hit .354/.431/.667/1.098. He hit seven long balls and drove in 23 runs. Baylor had 35 hits in 27 games and scored 21 runs too. For the month of July, he was even better. He hit .349/.409/.725/1.134 with 11 home runs and 34 RBI. All in one month! Baylor also scored 28 runs.

His production dropped over his final three seasons with the Angels. He was averaging only 116 games played a year, and his power dropped to where he was averaging only 15 homers a year. After hitting a career-high 36 homers in his MVP season, Baylor hit only 46 more over the next three seasons.

In December of 1982, Baylor signed a free-agent contract with the Yankees.

Here’s where Don Baylor ranks in Angels franchise history:

  • 141 home runs (10th)
  • 523 RBI (12th)
  • 481 runs (16th)
  • .785 OPS (16th)
  • 813 hits (19th)
  • 824 games (23rd)

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