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Monday, November 27, 2006

Today's Birthdays

Billy Moran LAA b. 1933, played 1961-1964, All-Star: 1962. An original Angel who played mostly second base, and some third in 1964, he hit 17 homers in a career year in 1962 that also got him to the All Star game. He went back to Cleveland whence he came in 1964 in a three-way deal that sent Vic Power to the Angels.

Johnny Schmitz BRO b. 1920, played 1951-1952, All-Star: 1946, 1948. Schmitz started his career as a very good pitcher for a few years, turned into a garbage-time mopup man, and somehow had a late-career renaissance, but that was after he was a Dodger. His All-Star appearances were both with the Cubs.

Mike Scioscia LAN b. 1958, played 1980-1992, All-Star: 1989-1990. A Top 100 Angel who would also certainly be in the top 100 Dodgers (or the top 40 list if I ever got that started again), former Dodger vice president Al Campanis said he was the best plate blocker he ever saw. Bill James said he was

6-foot-2 and had arms like a blacksmith, but hit 7 homers a year anyway. He wasn't the quickest guy in the world behind the plate, but he could throw, had good hands, could find a popup and would rank with Parrish and Ed Bailey as the best I ever saw at blocking the plate. Had the reputation of being a very good handler of pitchers, also the best strikeout/walk ratio of any catcher since World War II, even better than Berra an Smoky Burgess. Ver slow, but did not ground into a lot of double plays because of exceptional bat control.
As a batter, he is in the top ten in two franchise career categories, walks (10th, 567) and intentional walks (2nd, 101), and won World Series rings with the 1981 and 1988 teams.

After his playing days, he was in line to become the Dodgers' next manager, but that didn't happen; the Angels picked him up after the end of the disastrous 1999 season that cost both the GM Bill Bavasi and manager Terry Collins their jobs. Scioscia led the Angels to their first World Series title in 2002 despite his apparent belief in voodoo.


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