Grich, Finley in camp as instructors
Former Angels greats arrive at Spring Training on Monday
PHOENIX -- Continuing a growing awareness of team tradition, Angels icons Bobby Grich and Chuck Finley arrived in camp Monday to begin a one-week stint as guest instructors.Both preceded the team's latest tradition -- winning consistently -- but left an indelible mark on the franchise.
Grich was a catalyst on the Angels' first three postseason clubs (1979, 1982, 1986). Finley still holds club records for wins (165), starts (379) and innings pitched (2,675).Grich is already enshrined in the Angels Hall of Fame. Finley will be inducted, along with Brian Downing, on April 9. Manager Mike Scioscia was particularly piqued by Finley's presence. "He was a fierce competitor. He was all about winning," Scioscia said. "He always had a passion to win. Bringing that type of presence into camp is a positive. His attitude would be a great thing for some of our young pitchers to absorb." Finley, as lean and fit at 46 as ever, looks more like a candidate for a comeback than a guest tutor. Sure, his last game was in 2002, but if Oil Can Boyd can toy with the idea of a comeback after a 17-year hiatus, what's seven years? Scioscia, the longest-tenured manager in the American League, never got to manage the tall left-hander. Before Scioscia's first season, in 2000, Finley signed as a free agent with the Indians. But the former Dodgers catcher remembers the view of Finley from a batter's box, courtesy of the three-game preseason Freeway Series between the Southern California neighbors that once was traditional. "That was a nice 0-for-12 with about 10 broken bats against Finley, followed by Jim Abbott and Mark Langston," said Scioscia, wincing. Scioscia has had the chance to relive that nightmare fully this spring: The first two former Angels in camp for their one-week stint as guest instructors were Abbott and Langston. Tim Salmon, a local resident, also took a turn. A master of the hidden-ball trick as a second baseman, Grich has not lost his quest for the unusual. Years ago, the avid golfer drew up a "bucket" list of the 100 most desirable and elusive golf courses in the world, with the intent of playing as many of then as possible. "I've crossed off 88 of them," said Grich, who turned 60 in mid-January.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.