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1 Anaheim Angels To ward off another late-season collapse, the Angels have Mo power to 'em

March 29, 1999
March 29, 1999

Table of Contents
March 29, 1999

Faces In The Crowd
1999 Baseball Preview

1 Anaheim Angels To ward off another late-season collapse, the Angels have Mo power to 'em

The first time slugger Mo Vaughn stepped into the batting cage
at the Angels' spring training site in Tempe, Ariz., he couldn't
get a pitch to hit. Everything was high and outside, in on the
wrists or down in the dirt. Vaughn, the former Red Sox first
baseman who signed a six-year, $80 million contract with Anaheim
in November, was about to explode. Then he realized the guy
pitching to him, Hall of Famer Rod Carew, the Angels' hitting
instructor, was simply testing his new pupil. So Vaughn dug in
and ripped Carew's next pitch right back at him. With that, the
two burst into thunderous laughter. Vaughn is a happy camper
again.

This is an article from the March 29, 1999 issue Original Layout

"For whatever reason, I was not wanted where I was," Vaughn says.
"Playing in Boston was like adding dog years to my life. I came
here because I wanted a real opportunity to win and improve. So
that moment in the cage, realizing the talent on this club and
the kind of guy who would be working with me and challenging me
for the next six years, it felt like a breath of fresh air. It
felt like I was finally home."

Over the last four seasons Vaughn, 31, has hit .320 and averaged
39 homers and 120 RBIs. But after their repeated late-season
collapses, the Angels needed to sign Vaughn as much for his
clubhouse presence as for his prowess at the plate. In 1995
Anaheim blew a 12 1/2-game lead over the Mariners, and last
season the team faded again, dropping a three-game series in the
final week to the Rangers, who wound up winning the division.
"What we were missing at the end of 1998 was a guy who was
willing to say, 'Get on my back, I'll take care of this team,'"
says general manager Bill Bavasi. "We want Mo to take the
leadership role; that's important to us."

The upside for Vaughn is that he gets tutored by Carew, a
seven-time batting champ who should help him cut down on his
strikeouts (144 last year), and that he'll be well protected in
the Anaheim lineup. Designated hitter and leadoff man Darin
Erstad had 19 homers and 82 RBIs last year, despite missing 39
of the last 52 games with a strained left hamstring.
Centerfielder Jim Edmonds led the team in average and RBIs, and
was second in homers. Hitting behind Vaughn in the four and five
spots are outfielders Tim Salmon and Garret Anderson, who
combined for 118 extra-base hits in 1998.

All of which sounds encouraging--as long as the Angels avoid the
freak injuries that have beset them of late. Last year
lefthander Chuck Finley was hit twice by line drives, the second
time while sitting on the bench, and, hampered by his injuries,
went a woeful 3-5 after the All-Star break. Then in February
shortstop Gary DiSarcina suffered a broken left arm when he
walked into the swing of a coach hitting grounders. After Finley
had his face smashed by a bat that slipped from pitcher Mike
James's grip two years ago, some players have insisted that the
team is jinxed because its Tempe training camp was built over an
ancient Indian burial ground. They're starting to believe that
only a personality as forceful as Vaughn's can counteract that
curse.

"This is already Mo Vaughn's clubhouse," says DiSarcina, who
will miss just the first week of the season. "Some guys worked
out with more intensity this winter knowing Mo was going to be
around. Ownership sent a very clear message when they got Mo:
This team's not going to settle for being second best."

It's too bad Vaughn can't pitch. While his acquisition made the
Angels the favorite to win the West, what they really need to
win a pennant is one more quality starter. After failing to land
free agents Kevin Brown or Randy Johnson, Anaheim had to settle
for 37-year-old righthander Tim Belcher. One of only four
pitchers to have worked 200 innings or more every year since
1991, Belcher signed a two-year, $10.2 million deal and will add
depth and a Vaughn-like purposefulness to the staff. While with
the Dodgers, Belcher once challenged umpire Ed Montague to a
fight after an extra-innings loss. "I can't wait for him to do
something like that here," DiSarcina says. "His intensity is
going to mean a lot to this club."

So will the health of starters Finley, 36, and Ken Hill, 33, who
had bone chips removed from his right elbow in June. Hill
started the season 5-1 with a 2.50 ERA before his elbow woes
began, and this winter he switched to a more compact windup to
take stress off that joint. "When he's at full strength, Ken is
hard to beat," says manager Terry Collins. "He's the key to our
staff; he can be the difference for us."

Closer Troy Percival led the relief corps with a career-high 42
saves in 1998, and righthander Rich Delucia was one of the few
Angels who improved their numbers down the stretch. In the
second half DeLucia held batters to a .187 average.

Anaheim is counting on Vaughn to prevent another September
swoon. "I want to win the World Series," says Vaughn, his voice
loud enough for everyone in the clubhouse to hear. "The fear of
failing is what brings the intensity and urgency to my game.
Anyone can see this club is very, very talented, so this year
there can be no excuses for losing. Absolutely none."

--David Fleming

COLOR PHOTO: V.J. LOVERO Vaughn is feeling wanted in Anaheim--and with good reason: His bat usually booms in September, which has been the Angels' cruelest month. COLOR PHOTO: V.J. LOVERO

By the Numbers

1998 Team Statistics (AL rank)
1998 record: 85-77 (second in AL West)

BATTING AVERAGE .272 (7)
RUNS SCORED 787 (10)
HOME RUNS 147 (11)
OPP. BATTING AVG. .267 (5)
ERA 4.49 (6)
FIELDING PCT. .983 (5)

Muscle on the Move

In his eight seasons with the Red Sox, Mo Vaughn had a .304
batting average and hit 230 home runs. Only 13 players in major
league history have reached those numbers with a single team.
Seven of them (George Brett, Roberto Clemente, Joe DiMaggio, Lou
Gehrig, Stan Musial, Frank Thomas and Ted Williams) spent their
entire career with one club. Barry Bonds was traded before
reaching those marks. Vaughn becomes just the fifth member of
the group to change teams after accumulating those numbers.

Player Team Years Games BA HR Subsequent
Team(s)

Mo
Vaughn Red Sox 1991-98 1,046 .304 230 Angels, 1999-?
Hank
Aaron Braves 1954-74 3,076 .310 733 Brewers, 1975-76
Hank
Greenberg Tigers 1930-46 1,269 .319 306 Pirates, 1947
Jimmie
Foxx Athletics 1925-35 1,256 .339 302 Red Sox, 1936-42;
Cubs, 1942, '44;
Phillies, 1945
Babe Ruth Yankees 1920-34 2,084 .349 659 Braves, 1935

Next Up...

After watching Jarrod Washburn in his major league debut in
June, many in the Anaheim organization believe the 24-year-old
lefthander could have a seismic impact on the Angels this
season. In his first game, a 7-5 victory over the Royals on June
2, Washburn gave up one earned run in seven innings. He won his
first four decisions (just one short of the club record for wins
at the start of a career) and was 5-2 before being sent to the
minors for a month with stiffness in his forearm. "Jarrod has a
good arm, a good assortment of pitches and good command," says
manager Terry Collins. "When he gets some more experience, he's
going to be an outstanding pitcher."

Projected Roster With 1998 Statistics

Manager: Terry Collins (third season with Anaheim)

BATTING ORDER B-T PVR BA HR RBI SB

DH Darin Erstad L 47 .296 19 82 20
CF Jim Edmonds L 64 .307 25 91 7
1B Mo Vaughn[1] L-R 12 .337 40 115 0
RF Tim Salmon R 52 .300 26 88 0
LF Garret Anderson L 123 .294 15 79 8
C Todd Greene R 203 .254 1 7 0
3B Troy Glaus R 191 .218 1 23 1
2B Randy Velarde R 328 .261 4 26 7
SS Gary DiSarcina R 272 .287 3 56 11

BENCH

IF Dave Hollins S-R 169 .242 11 39 11
C Matt Walbeck S-R 278 .257 6 46 1
OF Orlando Palmeiro L 343 .321 0 21 5
IF Andy Stankiewicz[1] R 402 .207 0 8 1

STARTERS PVR W L IPS WHIP ERA

LH Chuck Finley 63 11 9 6.6 1.43 3.39
RH Tim Belcher[1] 75 14 14 6.9 1.37 4.27
RH Ken Hill 98 9 6 5.4 1.65 4.98
RH Steve Sparks 145 9 4 6.1 1.46 4.34
LH Jarrod Washburn 168 6 3 6.2 1.31 4.62

BULLPEN PVR W L S WHIP ERA

RH Troy Percival 15 2 7 42 1.23 3.65
RH Shigetoshi Hasegawa 91 8 3 5 1.21 3.14
RH Mark Petkovsek[1] 224 7 4 0 1.58 4.77
RH Rich DeLucia 318 2 6 3 1.42 4.27
LH Mike Magnante[1] 333 4 7 2 1.59 4.88
RH Omar Olivares 261 9 9 0 1.53 4.03

[1]New acquisition (R) Rookie B-T: Bats-throws
IPS: Innings pitched per start WHIP: Walks plus hits per inning
pitched

PVR: Player Value Ranking (explanation on page 154)