Midland Angels

From BR Bullpen


Team History[edit]

In 1985 the Midland, TX Texas League team switched affiliations from the Chicago Cubs to the California Angels and they became the Midland Angels. Unfortunately for Midland, the Angels sent less talent to Texas than the Cubs did. After only 3 playoff appearances in 13 years with the Cubs, the Angels had only 2 playoff teams in 15 years in Midland. Midland would have to wait until its 7th season with the Angels for a playoff team. That team happened to be under .500 on the year and got swept in the first round. The Angels only other playoff appearance was also by a sub-.500 team.

The Angels went 59-77 under Joe Maddon in 1985, the worst record in the league, and their 5.42 ERA was .99 worse than the next team. Doug McKenzie (4-14, 5.01) was better than the team average by a fair margin but still led the league in losses, hits allowed (203), homers surrendered (20) and tied for the most runs allowed (108). The best pitcher was Bob Kipper, who was 3-3 with a 3.08 ERA in 9 starts. Devon White hit .296 and stole 38 bases, Reggie Montgomery hit 22 homers and drove in 101 and their All-Star representative was 2B Mark McLemore, who hit .271/~.363/.347 with 31 steals and was named the 4th-best prospect in the league.

Maddon's Midland club was 62-71 the next season. Their 5.19 ERA again was the highest, but in a presumably offense-friendly park they led the TL with 149 homers and were second with a .294 average. 1B Sap Randall hit .331/~.417/.528 and made the All-Star team at DH, while DH Kevin King (.301/~.369/.576) led the league with 30 home runs. OF/3B Dante Bichette hit .284/~.333/.514 while bright spots on the pitching staff were Terry Clark (9-4, 3.26), Mike Cook (4-6, 3.50) and Dewayne Buice (8-6, 14 Sv, 3.45).

The 1987 Angels went 75-61, three and a half games back of first-place Shreveport. Max Oliveras was the manager of a team that had three players tie for the league lead with 30 homers apiece - 3B-DH Joe Redfield (.321/~.402/.592, 108 RBI to tie for the lead there as well), OF-DH Doug Jennings (the All-Star DH, Jennings finished fourth in average and led in walks with 94; his line was .338/~.462/.612) and 1B-3B Stan Holmes (.309/~.379/.536). Marty Reed (14-8, 5.71) led the TL in hits allowed (227) but also tied John Burkett for the win lead, while Mike Romanovsky (8-7, 6.29) allowed the most runs (125). Bryan Harvey (2-2, 20 Sv, 2.04) was voted as the #9 prospect in the circuit.

In 1988 Midland was sixth of 8 teams with a 61-74-1 record under Oliveras. Future long-term major leaguer Mike Fetters was hit hard as he went 8-8 with a 5.92 ERA, while Steve McGuire (8-12, 5.37) allowed the most hits (201) and runs (117). 3B Jeff Manto was named Texas League MVP after a .301/~.404/.549 and 1B Jim McCollom (.343/~.406/.560) led the TL in slugging and made the All-Star team as well. Joining the 20-homer parade was OF Lee Stevens, who batted .297/~.390/.537.

Oliveras's Midland team went 70-66 in 1989 and just missed the western division title in both halves. The team reclaimed the spot as the top offense in the league - a .295 average was the best by 18 points and they hit the most homers (110). Roberto Hernández (2-7, 6.89) didn't look like a guy about to embark on a long major-league career, while Gary Buckels (2-1, 12 Sv, 1.47, 24 hits in 37 innings) impressed. Scott Lewis (11-12, 4.93) again gave Midland the league lead in hits allowed (195) and runs allowed (121) and also led with 9 balks. The offensive star was infielder and future Nippon Pro Baseball superstar Bobby Rose, who led the league in average, OBP and slugging with a .359/.439/.541 season. SS Gary DiSarcina hit .286/~.323/.385 and was named one of the top 10 prospects in the loop, while 1B Chris Cron joined Rose on the All-Star squad. Cron hit .301/~.353/.515 and led the TL with 33 doubles and 103 RBI.

1990 was a rocky year for Midland, as the team was sold during the year and tied for last (56-80) under new manager Eddie Rodriguez. They again had the top offense (709 runs, .281, 108 HR) and the worst pitching (5.31), 827 runs allowed) as park factors again led to high-scoring contests and made it difficult to accurately gauge a player's skill level. No Angel led the league in a key stat or made the All-Star team. Old-timers Greg Minton (0 runs in 6 innings) and Daryl Sconiers (.323 in 8 games) passed through, but the player who went on to the best career was OF Tim Salmon, who hit .268/~.383/.412 in 27 games with the team.

Midland went 67-68 under TL Manager of the Year Don Long in 1991 and won the second-half title, their first half-season title in 9 years, pretty difficult in a 4-team division. The team set a franchise attendance record (180,616). While they had the worst ERA (4.90), All-Star Don Vidmar (13-5, 3.16) still finished third in the TL in that stat. Sconiers hit .275 in 29 games, Alex Trevino hit .222 in 14 games and fellow veteran Fernando Valenzuela was 3-1 with a 1.96 ERA. Corner infielder Mark Howie won the batting title with a .364/~.429/.539 season and drove in 123 runners while Reggie Williams hit .310/~.423/.376 and stole 21 bases. SS Damion Easley stole 23 bases, OF Marcus Lawton took 29 and 2B Kevin Flora swiped 40 as speed played a key role. Salmon hit .245/~.366/.467 with 23 homers.

Long's Midland team set a new club attendance mark in 1992 (195,629) even though they went 61-72. Matt Stark hit .377 in 16 games while future big-leaguers J.R. Phillips (.237/~.284/.402, a league-high 165 Ks) and Eduardo Perez (.230/~.296/.311) struggled. Dave Adams (6-1, 4.48) allowed the most hits in the league (187) while Troy Percival (3-0, 5 Sv, 2.37) and Bert Blyleven (2-3, 2.73) also pitched for the team. The outfield included Jim Edmonds (.313/~.408/.569) and Garret Anderson (.274/~.312/.349) but the sole All-Star was their less famous OF mate, Jeff Kipila (.259/~.335/.472).

Attendance continued to rise in 1993 (196,46) and Long's team went 67-67 for third place in the TL. The Angels again led in runs (729) and runs allowed (729). David Holdridge (8-10, 6.08) led the TL in hits allowed (202) and runs surrendered (117) while John Fritz (9-5, 3.61) finished 7th in ERA, unusually high for a Midland hurler. All-Star 2B P.J. Forbes (.319/~.353/.464) led the league in runs (90) and OF Orlando Palmeiro (.305/~.355/.359) led in hits (163). Forbes finished second in the league in average, 1B Chris Pritchett (.308/~.389/.412) was fourth and Palmeiro was 5th. OF Mark Sweeney hit .356/~.437/.590 in 51 games.

Mario Mendoza replaced Long at the reigns in 1994 and the team again struggled, going 61-75. As usual, the Angels boasted the worst ERA around (4.88) and featured the league leader in hits (202) and runs (105) - Korey Keiling (10-11, 5.17). Future Mexican League star Bill Simas was 2-0 with 6 saves and 5 hits allowed in 15 innings, with a 0.59 ERA. Pritchett returned and again did well, hitting .309/~.424/.420 and leading the league in walks (92) and OBP.

Midland had one of its best years in 1995, going just 66-70, but taking the first-half title and making it to the finals before falling. Keiling (8-5, 3.46) placed 10th in the league in ERA (Midland again led - 4.68). Ryan Hancock (12-9, 4.56) led the league in starts (28), complete games (5), innings (176), hits (222) and runs allowed (107). The team had two All-Stars for the first time in six years - C Todd Greene (.327/~.361/.638, 27 HR) and 3B George Arias (.279/~.357/.527). Arias led the league in runs (91), total bases (274), homers (30) and RBI (104) and both Arias and Greene were named among the league's top 10 prospects. Greene would have led in slugging but was called up to AAA early in the second half. It again was old-timer time in Midland - 40-year-old Pedro Guerrero hit .302/~.371/.437 as a frequent DH while 31-year-old Mike Schooler (3-3) saved 20 games and posted a 1.79 ERA.

Mendoza's squad fell to the cellar in 1996 with a 58-82 campaign though attendance topped 200,000. Midland again had the worst ERA (5.06) and Matt Beaumont (7-16, 5.85) led in runs allowed (124) but also in strikeouts (132). C Benji Molina hit .274, OF Greg Shockey .317 and OF Eddie Christian .305 while the team's All-Star was OF Bo Ortiz, who batted .296/~.338/.444. The team again had a faded star - 36-year-old Ralph Bryant had hit over 250 homers in Japan and returned stateside after injuries and a release and hit .208/~.272/.407) in 60 games, with 75 Ks in 216 AB.

Former Midland player Mitch Seoane took Mendoza's spot in 1997 and led the team back to last, with an idential 58-82 mark. Matt Perisho (5-2, 2.96) was named one of the top 10 prospects while future big-leaguers Scott Schoeneweis (7-5, 5.96) and Jarrod Washburn (15-12, 4.80) didn't look impressive until you consider that Midland's team ERA was 6.04 (last, of course). Washburn led in hits allowed (211), innings (189), runs (115) and homers (23) and tied for the loss lead. Molina hit .330/~.388/.575 in 29 games and 31-year-old Frank Bolick (.330/~.439/.649) did well in 28 contests. 3B Jamie Burke hit .329/~.387/.488 with 44 doubles and OF Aaron Guiel (.329/~.433/.609) led the league in slugging.

The last season for the Midland Angels was their 14th, 1998. Molina returned in part-time work and hit .357, while Troy Glaus hit .309 with 19 homers. The next season Midland switched ties to the Oakland Athletics after so many losing seasons; they were renamed the Midland Rockhounds.

Sources: Baseball Almanacs and Guides

Year-by-Year Record[edit]

Year Record Finish Manager Playoffs Hitting Coach Pitching Coach
1985 59-77 8th Joe Maddon Aurelio Monteagudo
1986 62-71 6th Joe Maddon Aurelio Monteagudo
1987 75-61 3rd Max Oliveras Chuck Hernandez
1988 61-74 6th Max Oliveras Tim Kelly
1989 70-66 5th Max Oliveras Nate Oliver Gary Ruby
1990 56-80 7th (t) Eddie Rodriguez Gary Ruby
1991 67-68 5th Don Long Lost in 1st round Gene Richards Kernan Ronan
1992 61-72 5th Don Long Nate Oliver Kernan Ronan
1993 67-68 4th Don Long Nate Oliver Kernan Ronan
1994 61-75 7th Mario Mendoza John Morris Kernan Ronan
1995 66-70 5th Mario Mendoza Lost League Finals
1996 58-82 8th Mario Mendoza Jeff Barns Kernan Ronan
1997 64-75 6th Mitch Seoane Orlando Mercado Greg Minton
1998 64-76 7th Don Long Todd Claus Rick Wise