Dealing Their Drawing Card

March 28, 1997

When the Angels sent J.T. Snow, a Gold Glove-winning first baseman, to the Giants for pitcher Allen Watson, it wasn't the first time the franchise had taken the risk of trading a popular player. Here are some of the club's prominent deals, with mixed results:

1964: Bo Belinsky

As well known for dating Mamie Van Doren as for pitching a no-hitter as a rookie in 1962, Belinsky was the Angels' first glamour boy. He was traded to the Phillies after a 9-8 season in 1964 but could manage only a 7-23 record in five National League seasons before retiring. Rudy May, who came to Anaheim in the deal, took time to develop, but averaged nearly 200 innings per year as a member of the Angel rotation from 1969-73.

1966: Dean Chance

Two seasons after winning a Cy Young Award, Chance was 12-17 and sent to the Twins for a pair of power hitters, Don Mincher and Jimmie Hall. Chance rebounded to win 36 games, completing 33 of his starts, over the next two seasons. Mincher and Hall combined for 55 home runs over the same period, after which both had left the Angels.

1971: Jim Fregosi

One of the Angels' first home-grown stars, Fregosi was only two years removed from his fifth All-Star game appearance when he was traded to the Mets for four players. Fregosi lasted only a year and a half in New York, where he batted .233. One of the players acquired, Nolan Ryan, went on to provide Angel fans with thrills for the next eight seasons, with 138 victories, 2,416 strikeouts and four no-hitters.

1972: Andy Messersmith

Messersmith had won 59 games in five seasons--including 20 in 1971--when he became the focal point of a seven-player deal with the Dodgers. He won 53 games the following three seasons, helping the Dodgers into the 1974 World Series. In return, the Angels received a future Hall of Famer in Frank Robinson, who hit 30 home runs in 1973; Bill Singer, who won 20 games his first year in Anaheim, and promising young hitters in Billy Grabarkewitz and Bobby Valentine; by the end of 1975, none of them were still with the Angels.

1975: Mickey Rivers

The mercurial Rivers dazzled with his speed, leading the league in triples and stolen bases in 1975, and bemused the media with his malapropisms, before heading to the Yankees with pitcher Ed Figueroa in exchange for All-Star outfield Bobby Bonds. Rivers and Figueroa helped the Yankees to three league titles and two World Series championships from 1976-78. Bonds had 37 home runs and 115 RBIs in his second season in Anaheim, but was sent to the White Sox in early 1978 in a deal that brought Brian Downing, Chris Knapp and Dave Frost to the Angels.

1980: Carney Lansford

Lansford was well on his way to becoming an All-Star third baseman when he was sent with outfield Rick Miller and pitcher Mark Clear to the Red Sox for shortstop Rick Burleson and third baseman Butch Hobson. In his first year in Boston, Lansford led the league in batting with a .336 average and went on to play in three World Series with the Athletics, batting .290 over a 15-year career. Hobson played only one season with the Angels, and Burleson, after being named to the All-Star team in 1981, was held back by injuries through the rest of his career.

1980: Frank Tanana

The hard-throwing left-hander had 102 victories in eight years and appeared to be just past his prime when the Angels dealt him to Boston with Joe Rudi for Fred Lynn and and Steve Renko. But who could have guessed he would last another 13 seasons, winning 233 games and pitching more than 4,000 innings in his career? The Red Sox got little out of the deal; Tanana and Rudi each played only one season in Boston. Lynn, in four seasons in Anaheim, was a three-time All Star and helped the Angels to a division championship in 1982.

1992: Jim Abbott

Abbott had won 47 games in four seasons before being dealt to the Yankees for three prospects. He had marginal success in New York, pitching a no-hitter in 1993 but winning only 20 games in two seasons. He returned to the Angels in a midseason trade with the White Sox in 1995. One of the players acquired was J.T. Snow, who drove in 102 runs in 1995 and won two Gold Gloves at first base before becoming the latest fan favorite to be traded.

Los Angeles Times Articles