Thursday, October 4, 2007

By Craig Malone - Columnist

William “Bill” Stoneman was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the 31st Round of the 1966 amateur draft, and made his MLB debut in 1967 against the San Francisco Giants. Stoneman’s career was cut short by an arm injury, but along the way, threw two no hitters, ranked among the leaders in strikeouts, strikeouts per nine, and games started. He posted a career best 17-16 for the 1971 Montreal Expos, leading the staff in wins, ERA and strikeouts. Incidentally, those 17 wins accounted for about 25% of the total wins for Montreal that year.

But this isn’t the Bill Stoneman that we have come to know, love and more often than not hate. The Bill Stoneman we know, left baseball in 1974, when the California Angels cut him. The Montreal Expos hired Bill has the Assistant to the President of Baseball Operations in 1984 and his executive career took off from there. In 1999 the Angels hired Bill Stoneman as their Vice President/General Manager to replace Bill Bavasi.

In 1999, the Angels finished 4th in the AL West, with a stellar 70-92 record, and change was needed. One of the first changes made was hiring Mike Scioscia, who has brought a calming influence and a National League style of baseball to the American League. With Mike Scioscia and Bill Stoneman at the helm of this club, we have seen some of the greatest success in our short history. Starting in 2000, the Angles are 682-593 (.530); they have won three AL West titles, one AL Pennant and one World Series Title.

So, what has Bill Stoneman done for us?? Currently 35 out of the 40 players on our 40-man roster are here due to Bill Stoneman and Company. When Bill Stoneman took over, our farm system, the life blood of any successful major league franchise was standing at #28 (in 2001), currently we have the #4 rank farm system (and have been in the top 5 since 2003), that is after players like Jered Weaver, Joe Saunders, Casey Kotchman, Jeff Mathis, Howie Kendrick and Mike Napoli have been promoted to the big club.

So, what has Bill Stoneman done for us?? Bill Stoneman has made the last seven years the most successful years in Angels history. He has ensured that this club will be successful today, tomorrow, 5 years and 10 years from now. He may not be sexy, he may not make the trades we all wish, but you cannot argue with the product he has assembled on the field, nor can one argue with the results that product has given us, the fans.

It truly is one of the greatest times in our lives to be fans of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. I for one would like to thank Bill Stoneman, Eddie Bane, Arte Moreno, and even Disney for what they have given us. I look forward to the next 10+ years.

Love to hear what you think!


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