ANAHEIM — These might be questions only trivia fanatics can answer, but they say a lot about the state of the Angel bullpen over the years:
Which Angel reliever has the record for lowest earned-run average in a season (40 or more appearances)?
Bob Lee. That's right, Bob Lee. If you've never seen Annette Funicello on the Mickey Mouse Club, you probably won't remember him. He posted that 1.33 ERA in 1964.
\o7 Who has the record for fewest runs and fewest hits given up in a season (40 or more appearances)?\f7
Ken Tatum. If you've never worn bell bottoms, you won't remember him. He gave up only 13 runs and 51 hits in 1969.
OK, here's one for those born after 1950.
\o7 Who pitched the most innings in relief in a season?
\f7 In 1987, DeWayne Buice, a screwball with a forkball, threw 114 innings of junk at American League opponents.
Lee . . . Tatum . . . Buice . . . the creme de la pen? Is there a better argument for a case that the Angels have had one of the sorriest bullpens in the history of the game?
In the early 1960s, the Angels' best relievers were often their starters. In 1962, Dean Chance picked up a 3-2, 10-inning victory in the first game of a doubleheader at Minnesota and returned to earn a save in the 7-6 nightcap.
Rookies Chance and Bo Belinsky combined to start 55 games that season. They also combined for a team-leading nine saves.
"(Manager) Bill Rigney was an innovator when it came to handling the bullpen," said former Angel Manager Buck Rodgers, who was a catcher with the Angels from 1961-69. "Lee was a big hard-throwing guy who threw one pitch, the fastball, and just came in and challenged everybody.
"He had gotten into some trouble with the Pittsburgh organization and Rigney picked him up out of A-ball and stuck him in there just because he could throw so hard.
"Tatum was pretty much the same kind of pitcher. Minnie Rojas, a guy (General Manager) Fred Haney got out of the Mexican leagues, was the most complete reliever I caught with the Angels. He relied mostly on the slider, but he had a good fastball and that little bit of ice in his veins."
After a brief respite with Lee, Rojas and Tatum in the latter '60s, the Angel Arson Squad began to build a tradition of pyromania.
In 1972--the year Nolan Ryan had a 2.28 ERA, 19 victories, 20 complete games and 16 losses--five Angel relievers made a combined 84 appearances and managed one save. Part-time starter Lloyd Allen led the team with five.
In '73, Ryan struck out a record 383, had 26 complete games and two no-hitters. It's generally accepted that he lost the Cy Young Award that year because he had 16 losses weighing against his 21 victories.
They didn't keep the statistic back then, but it's a good bet there were at least one or two blown saves that might have cost Ryan the honor.
In '74, Orlando Pena made four relief appearances and led the bullpen with three saves. In '76, Dick Drago was the "stopper." He had a 4.42 ERA and six saves.
In 1979, the Angels won their first American League West title. Mark Clear and Dave LaRoche combined for 24 saves, but the Angels won 88 games primarily because of the offense of Don Baylor (136 RBIs), Bobby Grich (30 homers) and Brian Downing (.326 batting average), to name a few.
Baltimore took a 2-0 lead in the '79 American League Championship Series when pinch-hitter John Lowenstein hit a two-out, three-run homer in the 10th inning off Don Aase, the franchise's first Orange County native and first playoff bullpen goat. The Orioles won the series, 3-1.
You want a hero? How about Dave Goltz? He gave up only one run in 4 1/3 innings on Oct. 2, 1982, as the Angels beat the Rangers, 6-5, and won the Western Division title.
Pathos on Gasoline Alley
Yes, there have been highlights breaking up the years of mediocrity, but many of those stories ended on sad or even tragic notes:
* Rojas had 22 saves, a 2.51 ERA, an American League relief pitcher of the year award and a promising career ahead in the spring of 1968.
In the spring of 1970, returning from a family fishing outing near Miami, the car he was driving collided with a truck. Rojas' two daughters were killed, his wife and infant son escaped with minor injuries and Rojas' spinal cord was severed. He was paralyzed from the neck down.
* Angel Manager Marcel Lachemann, who was pitching coach for five previous Angel managers, says Luis Sanchez was the most talented relief pitcher during his 11-year association with the club.
But Sanchez's best year with the Angels was 1984, when he had 11 saves.
"Believe it or not, Luis had the best stuff," Lachemann said. "He had a great arm. His fastball was way above average with great movement. He had a decent slider, too. But the intangibles didn't really work out for him."