An ‘Ideal’ Tribute: Grich Is First Player in Angels’ Hall of Fame

Times Staff Writer

Bobby Grich, a former Angel second baseman and a member of all three of the franchise’s American League West championship clubs, became the first inductee into the newly created Angel Hall of Fame Wednesday.

Grich, whose 10 years with the Angels is surpassed only by Jim Fregosi (11 years), was described as “the ideal California Angel” by Mike Port, general manager, at an induction-and-unveiling ceremony at Anaheim Stadium.

“I think it’s fitting for Bobby Grich to be the first inductee into our Hall of Fame,” Port said. “In the 10 seasons he spent with the Angels, he ranked among the top 10 in most of the club’s all-time offensive records. That’s an item of record.


“But the attitude and the intensity he took across the white lines made Bobby Grich as much as all the statistical accomplishments. In many ways, he was the ideal California Angel--not only in ability but also in terms of intensity and the determination to win. Bobby Grich epitomized all of that.”

Grich, a three-time all-star with the Angels, retired after the 1986 season and currently ranks among the top three on the team’s all-time home run, RBI, hits and games-played lists. He is second in home runs (154), second in RBIs (557), third in hits (1,103) and third in games played (1,222).

At Wednesday’s ceremony, the Angels unveiled their three-booth Hall of Fame, located just inside Gate 2 in Anaheim Stadium. One booth is devoted to the top individual accomplishments in the club’s history, another contains memorabilia from the Angels’ three playoff seasons and the third belongs to Grich. Encased inside is a bronze bust of Grich, surrounded by action photos of the player, his uniform and various awards received during his career.

“That’s pretty impressive,” Grich said, inspecting his booth. “I like that. That’s something that’s going to be there as long as the stadium is standing.”

Then, grinning, he quipped, “Now, when I’m 82 years old and walking with a cane, I can bring my 22-year-old wife over to the booth and say, ‘See, sweetheart, I am getting better-looking with age.’ ”

Similar booths will be added for future inductees, with Fregosi, Rod Carew and Reggie Jackson figuring to be the next candidates. To qualify for the hall of fame, a player must be retired, must have played at least five years for the Angels and must rank among the top 10 in at least three hitting, pitching or fielding categories.

“We won’t necessarily induct a player every year,” said Tim Mead, the team’s publicist. “We’ll do it whenever it’s appropriate, whenever a player qualifies.”

As the charter member, Grich said he hopes the hall will serve as an inspiration to future Angel teams.

“I never felt like we really put the icing on the cake during my years with the Angels,” Grich said. “I didn’t feel like we got the last link in that chain. We made the playoffs three times but never were able to get past the playoffs and into the World Series.

“Hopefully, this will inspire a new Angel team to get over the playoff hump and get a world’s championship for us.”

Angel Notes

The Angels also announced the signing of relief pitcher Bryan Harvey to a one-year contract Wednesday. Harvey, 24, was recently named most valuable player of the Puerto Rico winter league after saving 18 games and compiling a 2.03 earned-run average for San Juan. He pitched five innings for the Angels in 1987, not allowing a run. . . . Harvey is expected to make the Angels’ opening-day roster in 1988 and could figure prominently in the Angels’ bullpen plans, particularly if free agent Donnie Moore decides to sign elsewhere. The Yankees have expressed interest in Moore and today, the oft-injured relief pitcher is scheduled to undergo a physical examination in New York. If Moore passes the examination, the Yankees are expected to begin negotiations with Moore. “No matter what happens in New York, our bullpen is in capable hands,” said Mike Port, club general manager. “If Donnie Moore remains an Angel, along with DeWayne Buice, Greg Minton and Bryan Harvey, I feel we’ll have a very outstanding bullpen. If Donnie Moore leaves, it will only be outstanding. It’s a matter of being good--or better than good.”