Angels’ All-Time Strikeout Leaders
The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have been a franchise since 1961, and have also been known as the California Angels and Anaheim Angels. The team has one world championship, in 2002, and has been very competitive over the past decade. The Angels have also fielded some amazing pitchers, starting with Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan, and here is a list of the team’s all-time top 10 in strikeouts to date:
Nolan Ryan (2416)—After coming over in a trade from the Mets, Nolan Ryan suddenly blossomed. He had a great fastball before, but he seemed to get his control problems settled after the trade and was just awesome during his tenure in California, from 1972 to 1979. Ryan struck out 327 batters or more in five of his first six seasons with the Angels and ranks first all-time for the team with 2416 K’s in all. His best overall season was probably 1973. That year, Ryan went 21-16 with a 2.87 ERA and career high 383 strikeouts (still a “modern day” record).
Chuck Finley (2151)—Chuck Finley spent most of his career with the Angels, from 1986 to 1999, and he ranks second all-time for the franchise with 2151 strikeouts. Finley struck out a career high 215 batters in 1996, but his best overall season was 1990. That year, Finley had career best numbers in wins (18-9) and earned run average (2.40) with 177 strikeouts.
Mike Witt (1283)—Mike Witt pitched for the Angels from 1981 to 1990, and he ranks third in the team’s history with 1283 strikeouts. Witt had his best season in 1986 when he finished third in the AL Cy Young voting, with career best numbers in wins (18-10), ERA (2.84) and K’s (208).
Frank Tanana (1233)—Frank Tanana pitched for six major league teams, and his tenures with the Angels and Tigers were the longest, 8 years each. Tanana, who pitched for California from 1973 to 1980, ranks fourth all-time for the Angels with 1233 strikeouts. He had a career high 269 strikeouts (led the AL) in 1975, but Tanana’s best overall season with the team was 1976, when he had career best numbers in wins (19-10) and earned run average (2.43) with 261 K’s.
John Lackey (1155)—John Lackey has pitched his entire career for the Angels, from 2002 until now (as I write this in 2009), and already ranks fifth in team history with 1155 strikeouts. Lackey had a career best 199 K’s in 2005, but his best overall season so far was 2007. That year, Lackey had career best numbers in wins (19-9) and ERA (3.01, led the AL) with 179 strikeouts.
Mark Langston (1112)—Mark Langston pitched for the Angels longer than for any other team, from 1990 to 1997, and he ranks sixth in franchise history with 1112 strikeouts. Langston had a career high 262 strikeouts while with Seattle in 1987, and his high with the Angels was 196 in 1993. But his best overall season in an Angels’ uniform was 1991, when Langston went 19-8 with a 3.00 earned run average and 183 K’s.
Dean Chance (857)—Dean Chance pitched for the Angels from 1961 to 1966 and ranks seventh in the team’s history with 857 strikeouts. Chance had his best overall season while with the Angels in 1964, when he had career best numbers in wins (20-9) and ERA (1.65), with 207 strikeouts. Both the wins and ERA led the American League that year as well.
Rudy May (844)—Rudy May pitched for the Angels for seven seasons, from 1965 to 1974. May ranks eighth in franchise history with 844 strikeouts, and his best season with them was probably 1972. That year, May went 12-11 with a 2.94 earned run average and career high 169 K’s.
Andy Messersmith (768)—Andy Messersmith began his career with the Angels and pitched for them from 1968 to 1972. Messersmith mostly made his mark with the Dodgers, going 20-6 for them in 1974. But he ranks ninth in Angels’ history with 768 strikeouts and his highest tally with them was 211 K’s in 1969, when Messersmith also went 16-11 with a 2.52 ERA.
Kick McCaskill (714)—Kirk McCaskill pitched for the Angels from 1985 to 1991, and ranks tenth in their history with 714 strikeouts. McCaskill had his best overall season in 1986, with career highs in wins (17-10) and strikeouts (202), with a 3.36 earned run average.