Angels' Top 5 third basemen: Bollinger's take

April 13th, 2020

No one loves a good debate quite like baseball fans, and with that in mind, we asked each of our beat reporters to rank the top five players by position in the history of their franchise, based on their career while playing for that club. These rankings are for fun and debate purposes only … if you don’t agree with the order, participate in the Twitter poll to vote for your favorite at this position.

Here is Rhett Bollinger’s ranking of the top 5 third basemen in Angels history. Next week: Shortstops.

Angels' All-Time Team: C | 1B | 2B

1) , 1998-2004
Key fact: 2002 World Series MVP

Glaus packed plenty of power as a third baseman, as his 182 homers with the Angels are the sixth most in club history and he owns the franchise record for homers in a season with an American League-leading 47 in 2000. He was an All-Star in '00, '01 and '03 while also winning Silver Slugger Awards in '00 and '01. From '00-02, Glaus averaged 39 homers and 107 RBIs per season, establishing himself as one of the premier offensive third basemen in the game.

Glaus also came up big when it mattered the most, as he played a pivotal role in leading the Angels to their World Series title in 2002. He hit .344/.420/.770 with seven homers and 13 RBIs in 16 games that postseason, including three long balls in the AL Division Series, one in the AL Championship Series and three more in the Fall Classic en route to World Series MVP honors. He also clubbed two more homers and hit .364 in the '04 ALDS against the Red Sox.

A local product who attended UCLA, Glaus played seven of his 13 seasons with the Angels but saw injuries derail the end of his tenure with the club. He played in 91 games in 2003 and just 58 in '04 after undergoing shoulder surgery. All told, he batted .253/.357/.497 with 182 homers and 515 RBIs in 827 games with the club. The Angels decided not to retain him once he hit free agency, opting to go with rookie Dallas McPherson, who became one of the club’s all-time biggest busts, and the Angels struggled for years to replace Glaus. Glaus, though, still has a good relationship with the club and visited Angels Spring Training this year with his son.

2) Douglas DeCinces, 1982-87
Key fact: His 129 homers as a third baseman are the second most in club history

The Angels acquired DeCinces in a trade with the Orioles before the 1982 season, as Baltimore was looking to make room for future Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. It paid immediate dividends for the Angels, as DeCinces had the best season of his career that year, hitting .301/.369/.548 with 30 homers and 97 RBIs in 153 games. He finished third in the balloting for the AL MVP Award that campaign and also won the Silver Slugger Award. He was an All-Star in '83 and was 11th in the voting for the AL MVP Award in '86, when he batted .256 with 26 homers and 96 RBIs in 140 games.

DeCinces helped lead the Angels to the postseason in both 1982 and '86, hitting a combined .294 with a homer and three RBIs in 12 playoff games. He was later released by the club late in the ’87 season and finished his Major League career by playing four games with the Cardinals to close out that year. DeCinces, also a local product who attended Pierce College in Woodland Hills, Calif., batted .265/.336/.463 with 130 homers and 481 RBIs in 787 games with the Angels.

3) , 2002-09
Key fact: Holds the all-time club record for stolen bases with 280

Figgins was far from a prototypical third baseman, but he was a strong defender at the position and served as a sparkplug atop the lineup with his ability to get on and steal bases. He was acquired from the Rockies as a Minor Leaguer in July of 2001 and made his debut late in the '02 season, mostly serving as a pinch-runner but remained on the postseason roster as the Angels won the World Series. He became a regular in '04 and showed off his versatility, as he played every position except pitcher, catcher and first base that year. But he played third base most often, and his 527 games at the position is the fourth most in Angels history.

was one of the best base stealers of his era, leading the AL with 62 swipes in 2005 and averaging 44 stolen bases a season from '04-09. He received MVP Award votes in '04, '05, '07 and '09, finishing a career-best 10th in the balloting in '09, which was his best season with the club. Figgins led the league in walks that season, hitting .298/.395/.393 with 114 runs scored and 42 stolen bases. It helped Figgins land a four-year, $36 million deal with the Mariners, which ultimately didn’t work out for Seattle. But Figgins signed a one-day contract with the Angels in '16, allowing him to officially retire with the club. He also played in 10 postseason series with the Angels, making the playoffs in '02, '04, '05, '07, '08 and '09 but hit just .172 with four stolen bases in 35 games.

4) Jack Howell, 1985-91, '96-97
Key fact: One of 19 batters to reach 100 homers with the club

Howell had two stints with the Angels, beginning his career with the club and then returning in 1996 after playing four seasons in Japan, including winning NPB's Central League Most Valuable Player award in '92. Howell had some power, hitting 23 homers in '87 and 20 in '89. In his nine seasons with the Angels, he batted .241/.319./.428 with 100 homers and 313 RBIs in 822 games. He ranks third among all Angels third basemen in both homers and RBIs. He remains in the organization as the manager of Class A Burlington.

5) Carney Lansford, 1978-80
Key fact: Finished third in AL Rookie of the Year Award voting in 1978

Lansford is known more for his time with the Red Sox and A’s, but he broke in with the Angels and had immediate success, hitting .294/.339/.406 with eight homers and 52 RBIs as a 21-year-old rookie in 1978. In his three seasons with the Angels, he batted .280/.326/.412 with 42 homers, 54 stolen bases and 211 RBIs in 429 games. He also helped the Angels to the playoffs in '79, batting .294 with three RBIs in four games of the ALCS against the Orioles. He went on to win a batting title in '81 with the Red Sox after being traded and later won a World Series with the A’s in '89.

Honorable mentions
Ken McMullen played with the Angels from 1970-72, hitting a career-high 21 homers in '71 and garnering MVP votes in '72, when he hit .269 with nine homers and 34 RBIs in 137 games. … Dave Chalk was an All-Star with the Angels in '74 and '75, playing with the club from '73-78. But he was a shortstop to start his career, moving to third in ’75. ... Alberto Callaspo was solid with the Angels from 2010-13, and his 372 hits with the club as a third baseman ranks as the seventh-highest total in club history.