Joe Thatcher was in Atlanta on July 4 with the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Diamondbacks had lost to the Braves that evening and Thatcher hadn’t appeared in the game. After the game, in the locker room, Arizona bench coach Alan Trammell approached Thatcher.
”He came over and he told me that Gibby [manager Kirk Gibson] wanted to talk to me,” Thatcher said when reached by phone on Tuesday. “But he said, ‘Wait til the media leaves the lockerroom.’
”I had a feeling right there that I had been traded, just wasn’t sure where; went into Gibby’s office and he told me I’d been traded to Anaheim.”
The next day, the teams announced the trade and Thatcher was off to join the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
”Any time you get traded, it’s a weird feeling,” Thatcher said. “I really enjoyed my time in Arizona. Playing for Kirk Gibson and Alan Trammell was great, but at the same time, we were struggling as a team. The chance to come to Anaheim and play for one of the best teams in baseball was definitely exciting.”
The left-handed relief pitcher from Kokomo High School and Indiana State was throwing well for Arizona, but the Diamondbacks got off to a sputtering start and still sit well under .500.
The Angels on the other hand, are second in the A.L. West and have a better record than every other team in baseball, except division rival Oakland. Even if the Angels can’t catch Oakland (currently holding a 11/2-game lead), Los Angeles is the front-runner for a wildcard spot in baseball’s postseason.
Thatcher is pitching for his third major league team since making his major league debut for San Diego in 2007.
”I’ve been in San Diego, I’ve been in Arizona, and I really enjoyed my time in those places, but you play this game for a chance to win; a chance to win the World Series and get to the playoffs,” Thatcher said. “As soon as I got over here, I could just tell it was a little different attitude. The way the guys took the field, we expect to win here. That was something a little different than I was used to.