The Angels traded promise that never materialized and promise that someday might accrue to the Senators yesterday. In exchange, the Angels got the power hitter that club officials claim can be the catalyst in California’s bid of the championship of the American League West. Traded to the Senators were:
Rick Reichardt, 27 years old and nearly six years removed from the day the Angels paid him $200,000, the largest bonus ever given a baseball player.
Aurelio Rodriguez, 22 years old and a youth whose talents are outweighed by his reluctance to listen to advice. The lecturer now will be Ted Williams.
Obtained by the Angels was:
Ken McMullen, 27 years old and a man who signed in 1960 by a Dodger scout named Lefty Phillips. From 1965-69, McMullen hit 79 home runs for the Senators and it is that kind of strength that motivated the second major deal of the Dick Walsh regime.
The first brought Alex Johnson to the Angels early last winter and it is because of him that Phillips, the manager, says, “He has taken the pressure off everyone. That’s as much a contribution as what he’s done with the bat.” The acquisition of McMullen adds additional luster to the offense and it was made, according to Phillips, because “we believe we have a shot at it all. We can be improved in a couple of places, but then so can Minnesota or Oakland. I believe this to be a very important deal.”
However, Reichardt disagreed. “I don’t think the Angels can win,” he said. “They’re a much more solid third-place club.” Replied Jim Fregosi, “Tell Reichardt that he couldn’t even play regular for a third-place team.” Replied Phillips, “Reichardt’s remark is vindictive of the same way he played the outfield. It’s bush.”
McMullen was positive in his comments. “I knew that something was going on all winter and spring, and I told my wife that if I had to be traded, the one team I’d like to go to was the Angels. I think I’m leaving a team on the way up, but I know that I’m joining a contender. Last year, I could see that the Angels were down. You don’t have to know much about baseball to see that. But this year…they are playing like a team that knows it can win and with that pitching staff – gosh, I should said ‘we’ – will be tough.”
Reichardt started only one game with the Angels this season. No one knows how much Reichardt was affected by the operation to remove one of his kidneys in August, 1966. There are many people who insist he has not been the same since. Reichardt did hit 26 home runs for an inoffensive Angel team in 1968 and was named to the All-Star team. “I do not wish to comment on whether I was treated fairly this spring,” Reichardt said, “The fact that Bill Voss was given the job and I was put on the bench. I think that one of the problems with the Angels is that they have committed themselves to playing two or three men who are not proven quantities. That’s why the jury is still out on them. I think the Angels gave up more than they wanted to and I think it will hurt them in the long run. But I’m happy to escape the Southern California scene and I’m delighted to be joining a class guy, Ted Williams.”
Reichardt will play right field for the Senators and, with Frank Howard in left, one Angel player said, “By the end of the season, Del Unser (the center fielder) may be a midget.”