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The 10 greatest Angels of all time, No. 3: Brian Downing

We recently asked you to list your choices for the 10 greatest Angels of all time. We received 993 ballots. Each weekday morning, a new person will be listed as we count down all 10.

Remember, any Angel was eligible, including managers, owners, announcers, etc. Points were assigned based on where you listed the person on the ballot. Your first choice received 12 points, second choice 10, third place eight, all the way down to one point for 10th place.

So without further ado, here is No. 3:

No. 3: Brian Downing (17 first-place votes, 4,717 points)

One of the most underrated players in baseball history, Brian Downing was acquired, along with pitchers Dave Frost and Chris Knapp, from the Chicago White Sox on December 5, 1977, in exchange for Bobby Bonds and minor leaguers Thad Bosley and Richard Dotson.

In the pre-steroid era, there may be no one who transformed his body as dramatically as Downing did after he came to the Angels. One of the first players to embrace weightlifting, Downing bulked up and, after hitting only .255 in 1978, hit .326 and made the All-Star team in 1979.

A broken ankle caused Downing to move from catcher to left field, and, while his range was limited, he caught everything that was hit his way, going the entire 1982 season without committing an error.

Downing was an on-base machine for the Angels, frequently batting leadoff even though his speed wasn't typical for a leadoff batter. He had a career .372 on-base percentage for the Angels, and when he left the team as a free agent after 1990, he was the Angels career leader in games, at bats, runs, hits, total bases, doubles, home runs, RBIs, and bases on balls.

Downing was inducted into the Angels Hall of Fame along with Chuck Finley on Aug. 27, 2009.

ALSO:

The 10 greatest Angels, No. 10: Frank Tanana

The 10 greatest Angels, No. 9: Chuck Finley

The 10 greatest Angels, No. 8: Darin Erstad

The 10 greatest Angels, No. 7: Rod Carew

The 10 greatest Angels, No. 6: Gene Autry

The 10 greatest Angels, No. 5: Jim Fregosi

The 10 greatest Angels, No. 4: Garret Anderson

 

 

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