Friday, June 15, 2012

By Brian Waller, Columnist

Joe Saunders has always been the type of player that tends to get over looked. The 31-year old lefty has never won 20 games in a season, never struck out 200 batters and never pitched in the World Series. There is nothing about Joe Saunders that is eye popping, nothing that would draw your attention to him more then any other starter in the game today. Despite never accomplishing the above mentioned, Saunders has quietly put together a very respectable career. 

It's been over two years since Saunders wore an Angels uniform but his contributions to the team are still fresh in all of our minds. Saunders had two of his best seasons with the Halos, winning 17 games in 2008 and 16 games in 2009; he was an important piece to the puzzle for the Halos when they made it to the postseason 3 consecutive seasons from 2007 to 2009.

One of Saunders' best games with the Halos came on May 9th, 2009, when he out pitched Kansas City Royals ace and eventual Cy Young award winner, Zack Greinke. Saunders struck out 6 and walked only 1 while going the distance in a complete game shutout. With the final score being 1-0, Saunders had little to no room for error and he matched Greinke pitch for pitch. It was a very impressive outing and will most likely go down as one of the most memorable games of his career.

Personally, my favorite Saunders' game was the April 20th, 2007 game against the Seattle Mariners. Saunders scattered 7 hits over 6.0 scoreless innings while walking 2 and striking out 1. Although it's a solid stat line, his pitching performance wasn't necessarily the reason I remembered the game, it was how he paid tribute to the victims of a tragedy that occurred on the campus of his alma mater a week earlier. On April 16, 2007, an individual shot and killed 32 people and injured another 17 on the campus of Virginia Tech. It was the deadliest shooting by a single gunman in U.S. history. Four days later, just hours prior to his scheduled start against the Mariners, Saunders received permission from MLB Commissioner Bud Selig to wear a Virgina Tech hat during the game to honor the victims. After the game Saunders would go on to tell reporters, "I was really really nervous before the game and right when the game started for the sheer fact of what this game meant to me." Saunders continued, "I spent the best three years of my life at Virgina Tech. This was the first time I've ever had to do something like this, and hopefully it will be the last."

For those that have not followed Saunders since his departure from the Angels, he has pitched fairly well the past three seasons in Arizona. His record over that stretch is 19-24 with a 3.77 ERA, including this season were he is 4-4 with a 3.48

On Saturday, Joe Saunders will again take the mound at the "Big A", although this time is will be in an opposing team's uniform. Although we are all pulling for the Angels to win, I'm fairly certain there are quite a few fans pulling for the former Halo as well. Like I said above, Saunders may have never won 20 games, struck out 200 batters, or pitched in a World Series game but one thing is certain, he is a true class act and will always hold a special place in Angels history.

Love to hear what you think!

Listen to "A Fish Like This" Tribute song to Mike Trout's Greatness

AngelsWin Media

We Recommend

 photo 8fbce79f-4964-43ef-a13d-ff1832b5e9a4_zpsd3c2ece7.jpg
Click on the picture above to pick up a copy of Rob Goldman's latest on Angels' great, Nolan Ryan. A Must Read for every fan of the Angels! Website Store

 photo t_zps6af139fc.gif
Copyright © 2013 Los Angeles Angels Blog | is the unofficial website of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Our comments and views do not express the views of the major league club or anyone affiliate with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. blog content, articles and opinions are provided "as is" and without warranties of any kind.  We disclaim warranties, express or implied, including warranties for a particular purpose, accuracy, completeness, availability, security, compatibility and non-infringement.  Blog material, articles and other information furnished or supplied by you to become the ownership of for use at our discretion.  Your use of AngelsWin content is at your own discretion and risk. We do not warrant that any content here be error free that access thereto will be uninterrupted or errors will be corrected. We do not warrant or make any representations regarding  the use of any content made available through  You hereby waive any claim against us with respect thereto. may contain the opinions and views of other members and users. We cannot endorse, guarantee, or be responsible for the accuracy, efficacy or veracity of any content generated by our members and other users. The content of is intended for educational and entertainment purposes only. Such content is not intended to, and does not, constitute legal, professional, medical or healthcare advice or diagnosis, and may not be used for such purposes. Reliance on any information appearing on is strictly at your own risk. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. You should not act or refrain from acting on the basis of any content included in, or accessible through, the without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer or professional licensed in the recipient's state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.