Finley, Downing honored in Anaheim

Updated: August 27, 2009, 11:29 PM ET
Associated Press

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Chuck Finley and Brian Downing, teammates on the Angels' 1986 AL West championship team, were inducted into the franchise's Hall of Fame before Thursday night's game against the Oakland Athletics.

The ceremony originally was scheduled for April 9, but was postponed in the aftermath of an early morning hit-and-run car crash that killed rookie pitcher Nick Adenhart and two of his friends.

Finley spent his first 14 seasons with the Angels, going 165-140 with a 3.72 ERA, 57 complete games and 14 shutouts. The left-hander won a career-high 18 games in 1990 and duplicated that total the following season. His 2,151 strikeouts are second on the franchise list behind Nolan Ryan's 2,416.

"This red jacket feels really nice on me. I always told my mom that red was my favorite color," Finley told the crowd after getting the jacket and a ring from owner Arte Moreno.

"Did you ever have that feeling when you leave home and are going somewhere that you feel like you didn't pack enough clothes for the trip?" he asked. "Well, when I came out here in 1986 and stepped foot on Anaheim Stadium's soil, I remember calling my dad the next day and telling him, `Pack up every bit of clothes that I have and ship them out to me, because I just found my second home."

Finley left the club following the 1999 season, and remains the franchise's career leader in victories, starts (379) and innings pitched (2,675).

"Gene Autry and Jackie Autry were wonderful owners who gave me the opportunity and stuck by me through thick and thin," Finley said, choking up. "Arte Moreno has been nothing short of outstanding, allowing that red door to open up for me to open up and let me sit down with some of the greatest players who have ever played for this organization."

Downing hit .271 with 222 homers and 846 RBIs in 1,661 games over 13 seasons with the Angels. He is third on the franchise's career list in games played, home runs, RBIs, at-bats, hits, extra-base hits, doubles and total bases -- trailing Garret Anderson and Tim Salmon in all of those categories.

Downing was obtained by the Angels on December 5, 1977, in a six-team trade that sent Bobby Bonds to Chicago. He played in the All-Star game as a catcher in 1979, and set an American League record with 244 consecutive errorless games in the outfield from 1981-83.

"I just truly appreciate everybody who supported me all those years," said Downing, who along with Bobby Grich played are the only inducted members of the Angels' first three division championship teams.

Finley and Downing are the first players the Angels have inducted into their Hall of Fame since Ryan on June 16, 1992. The other players in the Hall are Grich, Rod Carew, Don Baylor and Jim Fregosi. Longtime conditioning coach Jimmie Reese was inducted on Aug. 2, 1995, about 13 months after his death at age 92.


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press