Unable to find a job this spring after hitting just .181 in 80 games for the Dodgers last season, Garret Anderson has decided to call it a career after 17 years in the majors.
Fifteen of those years were spent with the Angels and Anderson is the franchise’s all-time leader in games (2,013), plate appearances (8,480), runs (1,024), RBIs (1,292), hits (2,368), and total bases (3,743).
At his peak he was a .300 hitter with 25-homer power whose spot in the middle of the lineup and low walk rate helped him pile up big RBI totals, knocking in more than 115 runs each year from 2000-2003.
His overall production wasn’t quite as impressive as the batting average and RBIs suggested, as Anderson failed to crack an .800 OPS in 10 seasons and finishes with a career mark of .785 that ranks just 106th among the 158 players to log at least 5,000 plate appearances since his debut in 1994.
He was a very solid hitter and underrated defensive left fielder who rarely missed games and was a big part of some very good Angels teams, including the World Series winners in 2002. That season he batted .306 with a .332 on-base percentage and .539 slugging percentage, homering 29 times and leading the league with 56 doubles while knocking in a career-high 123 runs to finish fourth in the MVP balloting.
Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports that Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax will be honored with a statue at Dodger Stadium, expected to be unveiled in 2020. Dodger Stadium will be undergoing major renovations, expected to cost around $100 million, after the season. Koufax’s statue will go in a new entertainment plaza beyond center field. The current statue of Jackie Robinson will be moved into the same area.
Koufax, 83, had a relatively brief career, pitching parts of 12 seasons in the majors, but they were incredible. He was a seven-time All-Star who won the National League Cy Young Award three times (1963, ’65-66) and the NL Most Valuable Player Award once (’63). He contributed greatly to the ’63 and ’65 championship teams and authored four no-hitters, including a perfect game in ’65.
Koufax was also influential in other ways. As Shaikin notes, Koufax refused to pitch Game 1 of the 1965 World Series to observe Yom Kippur. It was an act that would attract national attention and turn Koufax into an American Jewish icon.
Ahead of the 1966 season, Koufax and Don Drysdale banded together to negotiate against the Dodgers, who were trying to pit the pitchers against each other. They sat out spring training, deciding to use their newfound free time to sign on to the movie Warning Shot. Several weeks later, the Dodgers relented, agreeing to pay Koufax $125,000 and Drysdale $110,000, which was then a lot of money for a baseball player. It would be just a few years later that Curt Flood would challenge the reserve clause. Koufax, Drysdale, and Flood helped the MLB Players Association, founded in 1966, gain traction under the leadership of Marvin Miller.