|JUST DIDN'T LOOK RIGHT IN ROYAL BLUE.|
|ONLY HIT 9 HRs IN HIS FIRST YEAR IN K.C.|
DEFINING THE PLAYER
- Wally Joyner had the kind of rookie season most could only dream about and turned Anaheim Stadium into his personal sandlot, Wally World. When the Angels decided not to re-sign Rod Carew after the 1985 season, their plan was to promote the three-year minor-leaguer to fill the spikes of the seven-time batting champ. Risky. But all Joyner did in the first half of the season was start for the AL All-Star team at first base as a write-in candidate. He finished runner-up for Rookie of the Year and helped California win the AL West and come within one out of advancing to the World Series.
- Joyner's charmed life in the majors continued into the postseason. In his first two at-bats in the '86 ALCS against the Red Sox in Game 1 on Oct. 7, he faced Roger Clemens, who was also enjoying a coming-out season. Joyner doubled in his first at-bat and then doubled again to drive in the game's first run in the second inning. Joyner finished 2-for-4, walked and scored as the Angels won 8-1.
- It was '86, of course. He didn't quite tear up the league in the second half like he did in the first (.313, 20 HRs, 72 RBI) but finished at .290/22/100. He also broke up two no-hit bids in the ninth. The only thing he failed to do was deliver a baby on the way to the ballpark.
FIVE FINAL FACTS
- Joyner credited his two stints in the Puerto Rican winter league for developing and preparing him for his breakout rookie season.
- The first no-hitter he broke up was on June 16 against the Rangers' Charlie Hough, singling with one out. That hit brought home the tying run, which reached on a three-base error. The Angels wound up winning 2-1. The second was Aug. 20 against the Tigers' Walt Terrell, who gave up Joyner's two-out double. Terrell finished with a one-hit 3-0 victory.
- No sophomore slump for Joyner, who hit a career-high 34 homers with 117 RBI in '87.
- Never matched those first two seasons during the rest of his 16-year career that included stops with four other teams, including signing with the Royals in December '91. He averaged .293/11/68 in Kansas City.
- He admitted he briefly took PEDs while with the Padres and was named in the Mitchell Report.