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Without Mo, It Has Been All Go

The Angels' best move on the road to the World Series may have been the trade of Vaughn and his bad attitude to the Mets for Appier.

October 24, 2002|Bill Shaikin | Times Staff Writer

Of all the defining moments for the Angels this season, one of the most critical days in pointing the team toward its first World Series occurred last year. On Dec. 27, 2001, the Angels traded first baseman Mo Vaughn to the New York Mets for pitcher Kevin Appier.

Vaughn had signed a six-year, $80-million contract with the Angels, the richest deal in franchise history, but injuries and controversy marked the first three years of the deal. Vaughn had worn out his welcome by last fall, when he publicly declared his desire to return to his beloved East Coast and privately told Angel General Manager Bill Stoneman and Manager Mike Scioscia that he would refuse to serve as a designated hitter.

"I think it was good to get Mo out," pitcher Jarrod Washburn said Wednesday, "just simply because he made it well known to everybody that he didn't want to be there. I don't think we really wanted a guy on our team that didn't want to be on our team.

"So, any time you can rid yourselves of a problem or possible problem like that, I think it's good for a team. Adding a guy like Appier is just an extra bonus. When you're able to get rid of a distraction and add a quality guy like Kevin Appier, I think that was a great move."

In an expletive-filled diatribe in spring training, Vaughn ripped closer Troy Percival in general and the Angels in particular. Of Percival, Vaughn said, "He hasn't done ... to lead them anywhere. I got hardware, I got playoff appearances, I got an MVP, I've been to the playoffs twice."

Of the Angels, he said, "They ain't got no flags hanging at Edison Field."

In his two playoff appearances for Boston, Vaughn failed to lead the Red Sox out of the first round. The Mets finished in last place this season.

The Mets are scheduled to play in Anaheim next season, so Percival will be able to point to the pennant hanging at Edison Field. He just might be able to show Vaughn a World Series championship ring.

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