Angels Before the Future

I’ve been shooting photos of the Angels minor leagues since 1998, when I volunteered to do photography for our California League affiliate, which at the time was the Lake Elsinore Storm.

Twelve seasons later, there’s quite a bit of history in the Photo Galleries. Once in a while, I’ll be processing new photos, or new reprint orders, and I’ll come across some memorable moments long forgotten.

I wanted to show you some photos that are my personal favorites of current Angels from their minor league days.

Scot Shields in the corn field at the Field of Dreams movie site in Dyersville, Iowa, July 25, 1998. I’d driven out with Cedar Rapids reliever Jaymie Bane (the son of current Angels scouting director Eddie Bane) to shoot photos of him wearing his Kernels uniform. Scot and his mom Ida met us there. Both players posed in the corn field wearing Jaymie’s jersey.


John Lackey pitches for the Boise Hawks at Salem on August 20, 1999. This was a matchup of top pitching prospects. Jerome Williams was on the mound for Salem; he was the Giants’ first-round pick that year. Lackey was the Angels’ second-round pick.


Robb Quinlan with the Boise Hawks in the same Salem series. Robb played third base that year for the Hawks because he volunteered; manager Tom Kotchman asked if anyone had played third, and Robb said yes, although he really had little experience at the position. It got Robb in the lineup every day, and he led the Northwest League that year with 77 RBI in 73 games. He was named the NWL’s MVP.


Mike Napoli catching bullpen for the Butte Copper Kings in a road game at Ogden on August 8, 2000. Napoli appeared in only ten games for Butte that year and was pretty much considered a fringe prospect.


Ervin Santana pitches in the Angels’ fall instructional league on October 5, 2000. Back then, he was known as Johan and thought to be sixteen years old. A later investigation determined his true name was Ervin and he was eleven months older.


Jeff Mathis with the Provo Angels, July 30, 2001. Jeff was a first-round supplemental draft pick in June 2001. Even then I could see his remarkable athletic skills and natural leadership qualities. I remember thinking, “This kid will manage one day.” I still believe that.


Erick Aybar poses for a head shot in the dugout when Provo visited Ogden on June 20, 2002. Aybar was best buddies with Alberto Callaspo, and they generally moved up together in the system until Callaspo was traded to the Diamondbacks for Jason Bulger.


Speaking of Bulger … Jason pitching for the Lancaster Jethawks at Rancho Cucamonga, August 29, 2002. He was a Diamondbacks property at the time. Bulger was a first-round draft pick by Arizona in June 2001. The records show he made only two appearances for Lancaster in 2002 and both were starts, so he must have been the starting pitcher for the Jethawks in this game.



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